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My 14 Favorite Foods for Gaining

About a month ago, I wrote a piece titled “My 18 Favorite Dieting Foods” that went over quite well. Since then, a few people have asked me to write a counter-piece about foods on the other side of the spectrum. But why would you ever want to gain weight? The answer is that to put on muscle, yes, you need to gain weight and more than likely a little bit of fat concomitantly. There are less fun things to do.

What makes a certain food good for tipping the scale? As always, I feel the best answer lies at the intersection of nutritional science and practicality. Let’s get into it.


The name of this game we’re discussing is a caloric surplus. That’s probably obvious, but I feel it’s relevant to reiterate. Say your TDEE is 3000 calories, and you want to gain .5 lb each week. You’ll want to, on average, eat 3250 calories per day. For some people, that’s very difficult. Low appetite may simply be due to a hectic work schedule or because you’ve never been a big eater. The point is that if you do have a low appetite, make it easy on yourself by consuming foods that have a higher calorie-to-volume ratio.

Liquid Calories

Life is full of irony. Most often, liquid calories are painted with a negative connotation, and they should be when discussing weight loss. Quite the opposite is true for weight gain. I’m not advocating that you drink soda for breakfast, but there’s a reason why protein shakes are popular amongst those looking to slap some beef onto their shoulders. Liquid calories are easier to handle because they don’t fill your system quite like chicken and vegetables (refer back to that volume-to-calorie ratio).

Readily Accessible

When I’m trying to slowly gain weight, which is most of the year, I tend to gravitate toward foods that are easier to prepare. I’m not a big eater, never have been. And because of that, I’m one of those people who would rather eat 4-5 times per day in order to hit my calorie target. But you know what I don’t want to do…? Cook 4-5 times a day. So, frequently I’ll eat different foods that I can access from the cabinet.

Without further ado, here’s my list in no particular order. These foods satisfy one or more of the aforementioned criteria.

1. Raisins…Love those wrinkly grapes

2. Protein Bars…COP OUT, good for gaining and losing weight in my opinion

3. Milk…Very tasty with red-sauce dishes, don’t @ me please

4. Yogurt…Big Yoplait guy, I am

5. Cranberries…For more than just the 11thand 12thmonths of the year

6. Ground Turkey…You can’t make Turkey Tacos w/o turkey

7. Protein Shakes…Not necessarily for me, but different strokes for different folks

8. Avocado…2019 is the year of the Avocado

9. Potatoes…Boil em’, Mash em’, Stick em’ in a stew

10. Almonds…Candied

11.All Other Dried Fruits...All the fruits

12. Steak…I can already taste the Corona

13. Fruit Smoothies…Strawberry-Banana or bust

14. Cheeses…Added to most things

Thanks for reading.

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...well done

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