Answer: To gain weight and be healthy, you need to consume more calories every day from healthy weight-gaining foods and choose the right types of exercise.
What To Eat To Gain Weight
Increasing your intake of junk foods and greasy foods is not a good way to gain weight. Junk foods usually contain unhealthy trans fats, saturated fats and refined sugar. Even though you need to increase your calorie consumption to gain weight, those calories should come from foods that are good for you.
Healthy fats include sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, flax, and walnuts. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds and legumes. Healthy carbohydrate sources include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
It may be easier to eat five or six smaller balanced meals per day rather than eating three large meals, especially if you are not used to eating much at one sitting.
Protein powders and nutritional supplement drinks can be consumed as in-between meal snacks if you still need more calories. Some protein powders are flavored and only need added water, and others can be blended with your choice of juice or milk to improve the flavor.
Add a small amount of flax seed oil and some psyllium powder to add some omega-3 essential fatty acids and extra fiber.
Dietary Supplements and Gaining Weight
A high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good idea to make sure you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Some people find that their muscle mass increases with protein supplements that contain certain blends of amino acids, such as creatine and glutamine. Some people who are very ill may need liquid nutritional preparations that are available through their doctors.
Resistive Exercise To Gain Weight
Exercise is also important for healthy weight gain. Resistance training exercises, such as lifting weights, will help to increase your muscle size. Aerobic exercises, such as running and stationary bicycling, are better for fat loss and excessive aerobic training may cause you to lose more weight. Resistance training can be done at a health club, gym, or at home with the proper equipment.
Remember that it can take a while to gain the weight you need, but be patient and continue to choose healthy foods until you reach your goal weight.
Tools to Help You Gain Weight
Use these tips and tools to help gain weight:
Start with this Calorie and Nutrition Guide to find out how many calories you will need to reach the weight you desire.
Use a food diary to track your calorie intake to be sure you are getting all of the calories and foods that you need.
You can also use an online program such as Calorie Count to track your calorie intake, your exercise and your changes in weight. Calorie Count Plus has a large data base of nutrition information for almost any food you like to eat.
Add healthy calories to breakfast with an extra slice of whole-grain toast and peanut butter.
Mid-morning and afternoon snacks should be nutritious, not junk. Trail mixes contain healthy nuts and dried fruits, and can add healthy calories to your diet.
Don't add calories to your meals by choosing unhealthy fried foods such as french fries, chicken nuggets and fish sticks. Choose healthy foods like baked potatoes, baked chicken and fish; just make your portions a bit bigger.
Keep your meals balanced. One meal should have a healthy protein source, such as fish, low fat meat, chicken or legumes, plus two or three servings of vegetables. Green vegetables add lots of vitamins and phytonutrients, while starchy potatoes and corn add extra calories.
Drink healthy beverages, such as milk and fruit juices, to add calories. Don't choose sugary sodas, which only add calories and no nutrition.
Design a weight training program with help from About.com's exercise site and our weight training site.