Healthy ways to gain weight include eating frequently, choosing nutrient-dense foods, limiting beverages before meals, adding toppings and exercising, according to Mayo Clinic. Exercise helps build muscle to increase weight and sometimes helps stimulate appetite.
Increasing caloric intake is necessary for gaining weight, but the calories should be healthy, notes WebMD. While eating lots of junk food often leads to weight gain, it also adds unhealthy fats and sugars that don't benefit the body. One simple way to increase calories is to skip low-fat or low-calorie options, such as low-fat dairy products, low-calorie bread or fat-free salad dressings.
Another option is to add extras into meals, suggests Mayo Clinic. Examples include adding cheese to an omelette or adding cream to soup. Smoothies are also a healthy way to add calories. Including nut butter, dairy or oatmeal in the smoothie increases the healthy calories of the meal or snack.
Eating several smaller meals is a way around getting full fast, says Mayo Clinic. Underweight individuals may have difficulty finishing a large meal. Five or six smaller meals allow for more calories without feeling stuffed.
Eating healthy foods with lots of calories, such as nuts and dried fruits, allows for more calories without getting full too fast, suggests WebMD. Gaining weight slowly is the healthy way to increase the numbers on the scale. Experimenting with different food options helps determine which items work well for the individual.