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Cheap Foods to Gain Weight

by
author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Cheap Foods to Gain Weight
A close-up of whole-grain pasta. Photo Credit vgabusi/iStock/Getty Images

Gaining weight requires you to consume more calories than you expend. You might worry about the cost of extra food to gain weight, but you do not need to rely on unhealthy fast food and other junk food to get your calories. Instead, incorporate high-calorie, inexpensive nutritious choices into your diet for healthier weight gain.

Whole-Grain Pasta

Dried pasta is inexpensive, and each cup of whole-grain pasta contains 174 calories. Choose whole grains instead of refined products to lower your risk for heart disease. Lasagna with ground turkey and low-fat cheese and spaghetti tossed with pesto sauce are high-calorie dishes that can help you gain weight. Many other dried whole grains are also inexpensive and high-calorie. Add brown rice, bulgur and barley to soups, or serve them as side dishes.

Dried Beans

Dried beans, lentils and split peas are inexpensive choices to aid in weight gain. A cup of cooked pinto beans contains 245 calories. Beans, peas and lentils are sources of protein, which is important when you are trying to gain weight because protein is an essential nutrient for building body tissues and muscle mass. Make a calorie-dense burrito with pinto or black beans, avocado slices, jack cheese and brown rice on a whole-grain tortilla.

Healthy Oils

Add vegetable oils when preparing your food to increase your calorie consumption without spending much money. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories, while a gram of protein or carbohydrates contains only 4 calories. A tablespoon of olive oil contains 119 calories. To sneak calories into your diet, make a stir-fry with sesame or canola oil; combine olive oil, red wine vinegar and herbs to make salad dressings; and brush vegetables and chicken with oil before roasting them.

Portion Out Your Peanuts

Peanuts are biologically legumes, but they are nutritionally more similar to nuts. Peanuts are generally less expensive than nuts, and they are good for gaining weight because each ounce contains 166 calories. You can carry them with you to eat for snacks, or you can add them to chicken dishes for a Thai-inspired taste. Choose unsalted peanuts to limit your consumption of sodium, which raises blood pressure.

Whole-Grain Snacks

Whole-grain snacks can help you gain weight because of their calorie content and convenience. Examples include whole-wheat pretzels, whole-grain tortilla chips and whole-grain multigrain crackers. An ounce of whole-grain pretzels contains 103 calories. To save money, purchase multiserving instead of single-serving packages, and watch the weekly supermarket ads for bargains. Dip your snacks into a high-calorie dip, such as hummus. Prepared hummus can be an expensive grocery store item, but you can make your own high-calorie dip with garbanzo beans, olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper.

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