Meals to Help Diabetics Gain Weight

Freshly cooked salmon.
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Gaining weight while controlling your blood sugar can be very difficult for those with diabetes. The key to a healthy weight gain is to recognize which foods affect your blood sugar and which do not. For weight gain that also allows consistent blood sugar control, add more healthy fats to your diet.

Carbohydrate Control

The first step to a healthy diabetic diet is consistent carbohydrate intake at each meal. The American Diabetes Association generally recommends about 45 to 60 grams of total carbohydrates per meal, but this may vary for each individual. Foods that contain carbohydrates include, but are not limited to, grains, starchy vegetables, fruits, milk products, snack foods and sweets. Portion control of these foods is very important because too many high-carbohydrate foods will spike your blood sugar. Nonstarchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, eggplant, peppers and cabbage have fewer carbohydrates per serving and will not spike your blood sugar as much as starchy ones. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least three to five servings of nonstarchy vegetables per day.

Fats and Weight Gain

Fats can be categorized as "unhealthy" or "healthy." According to the American Heart Association, unhealthy fats include saturated and trans fats, which can contribute to increased cholesterol and should be avoided. These include high-fat cuts of meat and high-fat dairy products. Trans fats are not naturally occurring and are added to foods by the manufacturer. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrates only contain 4 calories per gram.To gain weight, consume more calories than you are expending.

Healthy Fats: Monounsaturated and Omega-3

Healthy fats can assist you in gaining weight, while controlling your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fats include foods such as avocado or guacamole, olives, walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews, and oils such as olive or canola. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish -- salmon, tuna or herring -- as well as in nuts and seeds such as pumpkin or flaxseeds, and walnuts.

Adding Healthy Calories to Your Diet

Snack on a handful of unsalted nuts once or twice a day. When meal planning, attempt to have 3 to 6 ounces of fatty fish at least two or three times per week. Add a side salad to your meal with olive oil-based dressing, and consider topping it with nuts, seeds and avocado for additional calories. When choosing a cooking method, saute meats and vegetables in olive or canola oil rather than steaming or grilling. For extra calories, toss cooked vegetables in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Lastly, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of natural nut butter to snacks -- such as a piece of whole-wheat toast or an apple -- will boost healthy calories.