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April 20

Tips to gain weight the healthy way


There’s a lot of talk and buzz about weight loss, along with all the different ways to achieve it. However, some of us actually want or need to gain weight, especially in the right places if you know what I mean.

Now of course how to gain weight might seem a little obvious, just eat a lot! But that’s now we do things here at OptimumRx. If you are going to gain weight, you are definitely going to do it the right way, the healthy way.

Now, the part about you eating “a lot” has some truth. You’d need to eat more than your body needs, basically the reverse of weight loss. The question now is, more of what?

Also gaining weight is not only about your diet, exercise plays a big part, why? To ensure you are adding the weight in the right places. We want to look fit and firm, not fat and flabby.

So let’s take it one at a time…

Your diet

As I said earlier, you need to eat more than your body needs. To find out how much energy your body currently needs to stay the same, use this calculator.

To gain weight you should aim to consume 44 multiplied by your current weight in kilograms.

So for example if you weigh 50kg, your goal is to consume 44 X 50kg, which would be 2200 calories.

However, it is not advisable that you jump to this amount of food, you need to take it slowly. So increase your current intake by 300calories every week till you reach your goal of 2200cal.

This can get technical, and you might need the assistance of a nutritionist. However below are some tips that will help you consume more healthy calories, that you can try on your own.

  • Moderately increase your amount of carbohydrate and protein, but ensure you are still having lots of vegetables.

However because I know most of us already consume more carbohydrates than we should, you can leave your carbohydrate as is, and increase only the protein  and vegetables, if you were previously not having enough.

Below are some pictures of what normal should look like, so you have an idea of what increments or otherwise you might need to make.


  • Start using full cream options of dairy. If you've been using skimmed milk and low fat yoghurts, switch to their full cream or fat varieties to get in more calories.

  • Top up your meals with extra calories. So for example, you might add cheese, use full salad dressing, eggs, more butter and so on. For example, the rice meal above, you could add an egg to increase the amount of protein you are having.
  • Aim to eat 5- 6 times daily. Snack in between your regular meals to help you achieve this. So snack between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, and at bed time. 
  • To help ensure the snacks count, select calorie and nutrient dense options. By calorie dense I mean foods that contain a large amount of calories in a small amount, like nuts, avocados, bananas and smoothies. For smoothies as a snack drink just about a cup (250mls), unlike those large cups they sell at smoothie bars, those are literally a meal on their own.

Examples of such snack can be, banana with groundnuts, apple slices with peanut butter, smoothie (milk, bananas and avocado).

  • Try not to drink water during your meals. Drink only after you are done eating. This will help ensure you don’t get filled up before you are done eating your food.
  • Have occasional treats. Even though you want to gain weight, it’s not healthy to make carbonated drinks and fast foods an everyday affair. You can however have them occasionally to bump up your calorie intake. I’ll recommend about two treats per week. So may be 2 slices of pizza on Thursday evening and  a Chickwhizz meal from Chicken Republic on Sunday for example (if you don’t know it, it’s this awesome chicken sandwich sold with fries; when you get there, tell them you are from me )


As I stated earlier, you need to exercise, especially muscle building exercises to help you build muscle. When trying to gain weight, your goal should be to try to gain muscle not plenty fat.

I’ll be treating this aspect in my next article coming next week. Make sure you are following us on Instagram @optimumfoodie and Facebook at OptimumRx MTM Services, so you don’t miss out.

If you want a more structured meal and exercise plan with coaching and support to achieve your goals, we would be happy to get you sorted out. Contact us here.

Kindly leave comments, questions and suggestions below.

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