Gaining weight might sound like an easy task -- you simply need to eat more calories than you burn -- but for some, it's a real struggle. If you're naturally skinny with a fast metabolism, or find eating large quantities of food difficult, then weight gain can seem like a tough challenge. This is where certain products and nutritional supplements can be useful, as they bump up your calorie intake, without filling you up too much.
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Build with Bars
Protein bars are often associated with bodybuilders and athletes, and while the protein content will aid muscle gain, bars are also a good choice for a general weight gain snack. When picking a protein bar, look for one that has at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 12 grams of sugar, advises registered dietitian Sarah Lefkowitz on the Fearless Fig website. It should also have less than 300 milligrams of sodium and less than 3 grams of saturated fat. Some bars are marketed as weight loss or dieting bars though, so avoid these. Bars should not be used to replace a meal; they should be a calorie-boosting snack between meals.
Pack in Protein
Protein powders are most commonly seen as an aid for those looking to gain muscle. They are particularly helpful if you're not getting enough protein from whole foods, notes nutritionist Ryan Andrews for the Precision Nutrition website. Milk, egg, rice, pea, hemp and soy protein powders are all fine choices, adds Andrews. If you need to raise your calories further, the American Dietetic Association recommends mixing a protein powder with other high-calorie ingredients, such as peanut butter, chocolate syrup or honey.
Easy Weight Gain
If mixing up protein powders, then adding extra ingredients sounds like too much of a hassle, you can purchase pre-made weight gain shakes and powders. These still contain protein, but have a higher calorie content than basic protein powders due to added fats and carbohydrates. The only downside to these is that the carbohydrates may be sugary and lack nutrients. When making your own using a basic protein powder, however, you can add higher-quality carbohydrates, such as fruit, oats and nuts to bump up the calorie content.
Crank Up the Carbs
A carbohydrate-based drink or powder is another way to bump up your calories easily. Carb drinks can be particularly helpful for athletes after a workout, notes sports nutritionist Anita Bean on her website, as the carbs in the drink help refill depleted glycogen stores. They are even more effective in aiding recovery when combined with protein. Consuming a carb drink, rather than plain water, around your workouts is a quick, convenient way to get extra calories and aid weight gain.