Healthy snacks for gaining weight?
December 11, 2008 11:25 AM   Subscribe

What are some healthy and high-calorie snack/light meal foods I could eat to help me gain weight?

There have been many questions about healthy snack foods for people who wish to lose (or at least not gain) weight, but I have the opposite problem. I am too thin (female, 5'7", 110 lb or a little less) and would like to be - well, not skeletal, at least. There are several reasons for my thinness - I'm quite a picky eater, have a very active job, am on a strict grocery budget (so a lot of the nicer pre-prepared stuff is out), and my body naturally tends towards the skinny anyway - I come from a very thin family. Since I have a small appetite just trying to eat larger meals doesn't help - I know I won't finish them, but I do need some way to add more calories to my daily intake. I don't want to just eat chocolate or chips all day; I'd like something healthier (and I'd get sick of that pretty quickly anyway). So I'm looking for food that is:

High Calorie
Portable and can stay at room temperature for several hours
Not too expensive

Trail mix is an obvious answer but I'm really not fond of nuts (yes, picky, as I said). Any suggestions? Or even general suggestions for gaining and keeping weight for someone who spends a third of her time being highly active?

posted by frobozz to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Cheese. Cheese. Cheese.
posted by General Malaise at 11:38 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ensure plus. Not the tastiest at room temperature, but extremely portable and 350 calories. Drink between meals, not as a substitute. If you have access to a Sam's Club or similar, they are a lot cheaper there than at the grocery/drug store.
posted by desjardins at 11:40 AM on December 11, 2008

Whole milk. It won't spoil over the course of a day.

Or beef jerky.
posted by creasy boy at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2008

Peanut butter?
posted by brennen at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cheese, definitely.

Experiment with a wider variety of nuts; maybe there's a variety you would be fond of, and they are after all the obvious answer.

Do little things to not increase the size of the meals you're accustomed to, but generally increase their caloric load at current portion sizes. Use more butter and sugar in general when cooking; use whole milk instead of lower concentrations, things like that.
posted by Drastic at 11:45 AM on December 11, 2008

You said you're not fond of nuts, but what about peanut butter? You can get little packets of peanut butter crackers (and cheese crackers) for about 50 cents each at convenience stores, or buy them in quantity for less money at a grocery store. Here's the nutrition info.
posted by amyms at 11:45 AM on December 11, 2008

cheese, peanut butter, and dried fruit.

love your username, by the way!
posted by xbonesgt at 11:50 AM on December 11, 2008

Peanut butter or hummus on whole grain bagels or other dense breads;
Hard cheese;
Dried fruit, without added sugar - very calorie-dense; it's easy to eat a whole bag of dried mango or papaya without thinking about it;
Avocados - a ripe avocado can be carried whole; just cut it open, scoop, and smear on bread or crackers with a plastic knife when you want to eat it;
Hard boiled eggs;
Brown rice or bean based salads;
Granola bars and other energy bars;
Dry cereal - granola, muesli, etc
Full-fat yogurt is okay to be out of the fridge for a few hours, try to buy it plain, or at least a brand that isn't too loaded with sugar.
Protein powders can add a lot of calories, you could try keeping some with you and put some in water or milk for a drink, or stir into yogurt+granola.

The problem is that a lot of high-calorie foods are necessarily carbohydrate-dense. Try to steer towards whole grain versions of things instead of empty sugars...and try to make every snack have some protein as well to ward off carb coma.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:54 AM on December 11, 2008

almond butter
coconut milk + oil
olive oil on stuff
posted by Not Supplied at 11:55 AM on December 11, 2008

Less what but when: eat shortly before sleeping, when your metabolism is slowest.
posted by Damn That Television at 12:01 PM on December 11, 2008

trail mix and cliff bars
posted by ye#ara at 12:08 PM on December 11, 2008

Some of the suggestions above are high calorie but also high fat. You will gain weight on calories alone, so fresh fruit seems to meet all your criteria. I'd also suggest that weightlifting is a good way to build up mass. It's also a good way to increase your appetite.
posted by zippy at 12:11 PM on December 11, 2008


That was the bane of my first year in college (having a set dollar amount for meals, I wanted to maximize my spending - I soon realized muffins were not the best way to spend that last dollar). If you're making them yourself, you can control what kinds of things go into the muffins, and I think they can be pretty healthy. Or maybe I'm trying to delude myself that muffins can be both tasty and nutritious.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:20 PM on December 11, 2008

I third the idea of dried fruit. It's like candy! Except it's fruit.
posted by Justinian at 12:28 PM on December 11, 2008

A salad of triple-cream brie and avocado will do the trick. Even moreso if you put it on a bagel with cream cheese.
posted by rmless at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2008

Eat a cheese sandwich with white bread before you go to bed.
posted by fire&wings at 2:48 PM on December 11, 2008

I used to be a lot like you. The two things that helped were:

1. Chocolate Spiru-tein
2. Turning 30

Spiru-tein is a powder you mix with water (or milk, which tastes better, or soy milk if that's your thing), so you can carry it with you. A serving size is a pretty small scoop, so it might fit your budget. I used it to put on weight before traveling, when I knew I would have a hard time finding food I liked (I also was a picky eater).

My metabolism slowed down as I got older, and now I'm just a normal-sized person instead of a she-must-secretly-be-anorexic sized person.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:04 PM on December 11, 2008

Tuna packed in oil, add mayonnaise if shelf life is no longer an issue.
Breads of all kinds, pastas, rice, polenta, carbs are your friends.
Sugars are empty, it's proteins and complex or not so complex carbs you need. Make a bunch of cheese, bean (black, pinto, refried, whatever) and meat burritoes with whole wheat tortillas and freeze/refrigerate them for later. Avocadoes are also high in calories and good for you to boot. Good luck!
posted by emhutchinson at 7:50 PM on December 11, 2008

GOMAD: Gallon of milk a day.

And do some squats and deadlift, because 5'7" 100 is sickly.
posted by tiburon at 8:37 PM on December 11, 2008

tiburon, she's a girl, not a high school football player. GOMAD doesnt' make much sense for her.

Milk is a good suggestion though, just not a gallon a day.

I was going to suggest chocolate milk. Three cups of whole milk @150 cal/cup will add 450 calories every day. If you stir in some nesquik, it adds 60 calories per serving which adds up to 630 calories every day. That's pretty easy and inexpensive. Of course all the extra calories from the nesquik are going to be carbs, so you could leave that bit out. If you're worried about the hormones and junk in the milk, you could always buy the organic.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 8:35 AM on December 12, 2008

« Older Yuletide Christmas bagels   |   How to continue breast-feeding while traveling w/o... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.