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Sample Menu for Gaining Weight


Updated May 28, 2014

Bowl of oatmeal
Burke/Triolo Productions/Taxi/Getty Images

First you need to know how many calories you need to eat so that you can gain some weight. Use my calorie calculator for men or my calorie calculator for women. Then take a look at my sample menu for a 2,500 calorie day. It has a balance of healthful foods, so you get plenty of nutrients and fiber.

2,500 Calorie Menu

  • One cup oatmeal with one-half cup reduced-fat milk and one-half cup raisins
  • One cup orange juice
Morning snack
  • One apple and 24 almonds
  • Glass of water
  • Sandwich with two large slices of whole grain bread, four slices of lean turkey, two tomato slices, lettuce and mustard
  • 10-ounce glass of reduced-fat milk
  • One baked sweet potato with a pat of butter or margarine
Afternoon Snack
  • One protein bar
  • Glass of water
  • Garden salad with three tablespoons salad dressing
  • Six-ounce salmon filet
  • One cup cooked spinach
  • One-half cup mashed potatoes with butter or margarine
  • One glass wine (or milk or 100-percent fruit juice)
  • One dinner roll
Nighttime Snack
  • One-half cup plain yogurt with one-half cup sliced strawberries
  • Glass of water
You can bring this menu up to 3,000 calories with the following additions:


  • Add one slice whole grain toast with two tablespoons peanut butter
Morning or Afternoon Snack
  • Add one cup reduced-fat milk
Nighttime Snack
  • Add seven whole wheat crackers

I designed this menu using Calorie Count. Membership is free, and you can keep track of the foods you eat.

Keys to Gain Weight Successfully

Eat at least three meals every day with larger portions if you have the appetite for it. If you don't feel like eating much, then you might do better with five or six smaller meals spaced a few hours apart.

If you tend to forget about eating, you can set a reminder with an alarm clock or a timer on your computer or smart phone.

Carbohydrates are your body's preferred form of energy, and you need to give your body the energy it needs to perform your daily tasks, plus some extra calories. Increase your carbohydrate intake with whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables to increase calories.

Don't resort to eating highly processed junk foods to get your extra calories. Sure, they're energy-dense, but they're low in nutritional value, and worse - they can be bad for your health if they're high in saturated fats, trans-fats, added sugar or sodium.

Fats are high in calories so eating more fat can help you gain weight. Choose foods that contain healthful fats, like fish, avocado, olive oil, flax, nuts and seeds. 

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