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Healthy High Calorie Diet Plan To Gain Weight

Updated on September 16, 2012

A healthy high calorie diet should consist of a balanced meal plan which includes a combination of carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats in every meal. There is such a thing as a healthy high calorie diet. Just because you are required to stick with eating only high calorie foods when trying to gain weight and add muscle, it doesn't mean you should primarily be eating highly processed and sugary foods. To gain lean muscle mass and not fat, you are required to eat "clean".

How many calories should you eat to gain weight and build muscle?

This will depend on your weight in pounds. To maintain your current weight, you only need to consume about 10 calories per pound. For example, a 125 lb person would need to eat 1250 calories just to maintain their current weight. In order to gain weight, you need to consume more calories then what your body requires. A basic weight gain formula is to consume 15 calories per pound of weight. So the same 125 lb person would need to consume 1875 calories. Assuming that you have a fast metabolism (which is the case for most people who want to gain weight), you can overshoot this number a bit, and go on a 2000 calorie diet. If you find that you are not gaining weight after a few weeks, add 300-500 calories.

Eat plenty of protein

You will always gain some fat when doing a high calorie diet, this is unavoidable. This is why you want to consume lots of protein in any high calorie diet. Not only is protein important for building muscle tissue, but the calories from protein are less likely to be stored as fat, so you will maximize your muscle gains. Cheap sources of protein include chicken breasts, protein powder and milk, so they will form the foundation for the majority of your meals.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should be one of the largest meals because you tend to burn more calories by doing more activity the first part of the day.

Weight gain shakes are great to have for breakfast or a few hours following the breakfast meal. I prefer to have them in the morning so you don't feel too full later in the day.

Some ideas for high calorie breakfast include:

8 oz of 2% or whole milk (120 calories)

5 eggs omelet (400 calories)

A bowl of Quaker Life cereal (120 calories)

1 cup of low fat yogurt (208 calories)


Some people are in the habit of either grabbing lunch on the go or skipping it all together. If you want to gain weight then you better quit this habit. The solution is to find healthy high calorie lunch recipes that are very easy to make and can be consumed on the go. Chicken and turkey breasts are fairly inexpensive and make a great filling for sandwiches mixed with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. They can be prepared well in advance and refrigerated.


Lean red meat, fish, chicken and pasta dishes are all fantastic ideas for a healthy high calorie dinner. Accompany the meal with some greens such as cooked vegetables and a garden salad. You can add dressing to the meat and salad for some extra flavor and calories.


High calorie snacks, or eating small amounts between meals, is a good way to keep up your energy levels during the day, maintain your blood sugar and avoid insulin spikes. Considering that it's recommended that you try to eat at least 6 meals per day when on a weight gain diet, high calorie snacks are great to have in between large meals, because you can't be expected to eat 6 large meals in a day. Just make sure when snacking you are only eating calorie dense foods, as these pack the most punch.

Some ideas for high calorie snacks include:

celery sticks with peanut butter (100 calories)

3 egg omelet (210 calories)

1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese (100 calories)

1/2 cup of dry roasted almonds (85 calories)

1 large banana (121 calories)

1 cup of low fat yogurt (208 calories)

ham and cheese toasted sandwich (380 calories)

Although it's preferred to always eat healthy, you can occasionally cheat with high calorie junk food, just don't make it the norm. If you are a hardgainer, gaining some fat should be the least of your concerns. The important thing is that you are consistent with eating 6 meals per day and never skip meals. It may seem like hard work initially to eat like clockwork every 3 hours, but the high calorie diet will ensure your body is getting the required nutrients necessary for muscle repair and tissue building after intense training sessions in the gym.

It is important that you learn to enjoy food and not stuff yourself just for the sake of eating. You won't stick with a high calorie diet to gain weight for very long with this mentality. Become useful in the kitchen and get those taste buds of yours firing!


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    • profile image

      paul 5 years ago

      I hunt and eat meat why are my eyes to the side???? hell I had to face sideways just to type this...

    • profile image

      Jessica 6 years ago

      This is a wonderful article. I am five foot seven, female, and I weigh in at 97. A lot of people think that I have a eating disorder but really I just have the fastest metabolism of anyone I know. I can literally eat anything at all in any portion I want and not lose or gain a single pound. I'm going to the police academy this fall and if I don't put on some serious weight I'm not going to cut it. Thank you so much for this article!

    • profile image

      Amelia 6 years ago

      Hi Guys,

      Im 16 years old (female) and weigh 124 pounds. As im joining the army I need to gain weight! Can someone help me with calorie intake, how long it will take me to gain weight and the types of food I should indulge in?

      This is really urgent! Thank you so much :)

    • profile image

      sam 6 years ago

      hello anybody here to help me to gain height because i am 18 and my height is 5.7 then what should i do please tell me my email is please tell me

    • profile image

      vaishali 6 years ago

      really good

    • profile image

      Joey's Mom 6 years ago

      My little guy is severely disabled, including Cerebral Palsy, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Failure to Thrive. He has been aspirating so has been put on a honey-thick, puree diet. He can no longer take his pediasure, because it is too thin, and the insurance will only pay for the powder thickener which he won't eat. Now they've denied him the Ensure pudding. He is so hungry, constantly, and I am at a loss. Please help!!

    • profile image

      Roamer C. 6 years ago

      Does that mean to put on weight I need to drink a glass of Coke, lemonade or orange juice just before I eat my meal? sounds good, Mc Donalds here I come.

    • profile image

      George H. 6 years ago

      Sorry, My previous comment read:

      Most creatures that hunt and eat meat have their eyes facing forwards. Herbivores or animals that are hunted have their eyes to the front.

      It should have read:

      Most creatures that hunt and eat meat have their eyes facing forwards. Herbivores or animals that are hunted have their eyes to the front and side.


      George H.

    • profile image

      George H. 6 years ago

      During the Middle Ages if you were grossly underweight and a famine, plagues or pestilence came along very skinny people were the first to succumb and die. In a car accident underweight people are more susceptible to serious body damage due to their lack of fat insulation.

      When it comes to diet many of us have been brainwashed into believing eating green is the healthy way. Most creatures that hunt and eat meat have their eyes facing forwards. Herbivores or animals that are hunted have their eyes to the front. So if you look at the human face our eyes are in the front of our head and if you also look at the human tooth structure it what is called "Omnivorous" in other words we are designed to eat anything.

      So if you want to increase weight and you have no health problems have one extra meal each day and let the weight build gradually to your desired target.

      Years ago going on my own designed diet; I could easily loose at least 14 lb per week. However I was advised by my doctor to cut it out as rapid weight loss could lead to a decrease in muscle tone.


      George H.

    • profile image

      Georg H. 6 years ago

      Ever notice how grossly overweight people eat what many call junk food. It is not exactly the contents of the food but the sugar content of said foods. Sugar triggers an endorphin in the human brain that say's (He I am hungry" so when you have food containing sugar you want to eat more. So if you want to gain weight eat something sweet just before you have a meal. The kick in of the sugar endorphin in the brain will have a tendency to make you eat more.

      On the other hand if you want to eat less and loose weight have something sweet about 25 minutes before your mealtime. By the time you sit down for a meal the sugar endorphin in the brain will have calmed down and will not be active for several hours so even if your meal contains some sugars it will not cause a kick in of the endorphin and so you will not want to over eat.

      If you are grossly overweight and have tried everything but as nothing seems to have worked, you may be thinking of taking the drastic steps of "lap band surgery" Don’t, it is not always successful (85%) a much better alternative (and no surgery) is Hypnotic lap band surgery.

      Whilst under hypnosis they play all the sounds of you arriving in an ambulance at the hospital, pre admittance, and the anaesthetist talking to you and the trip into the operating theatre, then all the sounds of the operation, then your time in recovery. All this by sounds alone. It has a 97% success rate.

      If you do not want all the expense of the hypnotic course you can by an audio CD called (Hypnotic Lapband Surgery) for about $30 off the Internet.


      George H.

    • profile image

      Tracy 6 years ago

      Hi.. I know your pages are more geared to adults, but can you suggest a few more calorie-dense snacks, for kids? I couldn't get my kid to eat a 5 egg omelet! He's 13yrs, 5' and only 74 lbs. Eats as much as he can but a fast metabolism. (genetic,should get normal in 10yrs).. Also, pls suggest a protein powder that actually tastes good. They're too expensive to try, usually ~$40. Much appreciated!

    • dcristo profile image

      dcristo 6 years ago

      @jbaby lol no, a 5 eggs omelet.

    • profile image

      jbaby 6 years ago

      5 omelets at a go? really?

    • profile image

      haleema 6 years ago

      I am 40 i feel kind of thin. I am around 140pds. Would like to gain 25pds. I gain rather slow. What could i eat to gain some weight and do i have to work out to do so. Thanks for some input.

    • profile image

      Viren 6 years ago

      Cool thanks

    • profile image

      Axaa 6 years ago

      I have lost almost 10 kgs which is causing pain and aches in my body and I feel week unable to walk so how I start to gain weight now

    • profile image

      norliza 7 years ago

      i will try all the advices mentioned in your hubpage for me to gain weight.... thanks for sharing your knowledge.....

    • profile image

      Linda 7 years ago

      I have food allergies to all nuts, seafood, dairy, cheese, soy, wheat. Can't eat any fruit or juice, get sick from avacado, and white potatoes, coffee, flax.

      Can only eat chicken, now a little beef, rice pasta, vegetables, sweet potatoes, onions, green tea. Went from 130 lbs to 92 lbs.

    • membersa profile image

      membersa 7 years ago from USA

      I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your healthy suggestions are good. Thanks...

    • profile image

      dude 7 years ago

      5 egg omelet sounds like a lot of cholesterol!

    • profile image

      dietwebreport 8 years ago

      Some sound diet advice here. Most people think weight problems mean too much weight. It is great to see something about putting on weight. This used to be a real problem of mine.

    • nicolekd profile image

      nicolekd 8 years ago

      That burger does look unbelievably fiiit though...yum :) x

    • profile image

      Elizabeth 8 years ago

      Good ideas, but not much help if your dairy sensitive

    • sibaja_health profile image

      sibaja_health 8 years ago

      Nice Healthy High Calorie Diet Plan To Gain Weight hub. And welcome to hubpages, gave you a rank up - hope it helps


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