Snacking can be helpful in weight management, including weight gain and loss. How you use snacks in your nutrition plan determines the way they affect you. Snacks are a great way to increase daily calorie intake when added between meals. Learn how to incorporate snacks into your diet to gain weight.
Snacking can be helpful in weight gain. It's crucial to choose nutrient-dense options to support overall health.
Snacks can contribute to calorie surplus. Gradually increasing calorie intake within a balanced diet is recommended for healthy weight gain.
While preparing or buying snacks, choose complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats for high-nutrient and calorie snacks.
It's essential to seek personalized advice to address individual nutritional needs for weight management.
Try out the 7 healthy and delicious snacks you'll see in this article.
Snacking and weight management
Snacking can be helpful in weight management and snacks are a great way to increase daily calorie intake when added between meals
How snacks are incorporated into the diet determines the way they affect you. You should pay attention to choosing calorie and nutrient-dense ingredients and the timing of your snacking.
Understanding healthy snacks for weight gain
Weight gain is achieved with a calorie surplus. You should gradually increase calorie intake within a healthy and balanced diet to achieve healthy weight gain.
Snacking can help increase daily calorie intake. Consuming 300 to 500 more calories than you burned is recommended for slow weight gain, which is healthier.
Choosing healthy snack options is important. You can select the best snacks by:
- Differentiating between simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates such as sugar are calorie-rich yet nutrient-poor. You need nutrient-dense ingredients that are also high in calories. Therefore complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and oats are better options as carbohydrate sources because they're rich in B vitamins and fiber as well as calories.
- Choosing snacks high in healthy fats. One gram of fat gives 9 calories which are superior to what carbohydrates or protein provides. However, the type of fat is very important. Consumption of unhealthy fats such as saturated and trans fats should be minimized. Instead, unsaturated fat sources such as nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil can be used when preparing or cooking snacks. If you buy packaged snacks, read the nutrition facts label.
- Adding protein for muscle gain. Muscle gain is a key to healthy weight gain. You need to exercise and get enough protein to gain muscle mass. Snacks can help you to reach your daily protein requirements. Protein sources for your snacks include whole-fat milk, yogurt, boiled eggs, and beans.
Top 7 healthy snacks to support weight gain
Here are some healthy snack ideas to help you gradually gain weight.
1. Almond butter and banana toast
Spread a generous amount of almond butter onto toasted bread, then top it with sliced bananas for a delicious and nutritious snack.
|Nutritional benefits||Good source of healthy fats, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber|
|Ingredients||1 tbsp 100% almond butter, 1 small banana, and 1 slice of whole-grain bread|
2. Greek yogurt with mixed berries and granola
Add a handful of fresh or frozen mixed berries into whole-fat Greek yogurt in a bowl. Next, sprinkle a generous amount of granola on top for crunchy textures.
|Nutritional benefits||Good source of carbohydrates, protein, calcium, and antioxidants|
|Ingredients||1 cup of whole-fat Greek yogurt, 1 cup (150 g) of mixed berries, and 1 tbsp granola|
3. Avocado and smoked salmon roll-ups
First, take a slice of smoked salmon and spread a layer of mashed avocado onto it. Roll the salmon tightly, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and secure it with toothpicks for a tasty and elegant snack.
|Nutritional benefits||Good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, potassium, vitamin D, and selenium|
|Ingredients||3 ounces/85 g smoked salmon, 1 medium-sized avocado|
4. Trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
Combine a variety of nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts, with seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, along with a selection of dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, and apricots. Mix everything in a bowl and portion it into individual snack bags for a convenient and nutritious on-the-go snack.
|Nutritional benefits||Good source of carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber|
|Ingredients||Desired nuts, seeds, and dried fruits (each 1 ounce/28 g)|
|Calories||300 to 500 calories, greatly differs based on the selected ingredients|
5. Hummus and veggie sticks
Wash and cut vegetables into sticks, such as carrots, celery, and bell peppers. Serve them with hummus and enjoy vegetables buttered with creamy hummus.
|Nutritional benefits||Good source of plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber|
|Ingredients||2 cups of vegetables and 4 tablespoons of hummus|
6. Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables
To make quinoa salad with roasted vegetables, start by cooking 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions. Meanwhile, roast various vegetables in the oven, then combine them with cooked quinoa, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper for a satisfying and nourishing salad.
|Nutritional benefits||Good source of plant-based protein and omega-3, vitamins, minerals, and fiber|
|Ingredients||1 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 cup of roasted vegetables, 1 tbsp olive oil, and vinegar for dressing|
7. Peanut butter and oatmeal energy balls
Mix 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup in a bowl. Refrigerate until firm for a delicious and energizing snack. You'll have 12–15 energy balls with the given measurements. It's super convenient to make them in bulk and eat them for a long time.
|Nutritional benefits||Good source of energy, magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber|
|Ingredients||1 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter of choice), 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup|
|Calories||75 kcal/energy ball|
Healthy snacks play a significant role in weight management and overall well-being. You can choose nutrient-dense snacks to nourish your body to achieve a healthy weight. It is important to personalize snack choices based on individual dietary needs, allowing for variations in preferences, allergies, or specific health conditions.
Importantly, consult your healthcare provider for personalized dietary advice that considers individual health conditions and nutritional requirements.
- Cleveland Clinic. High-calorie foods and snack ideas to gain weight.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData central.
- Harvard School of Public Health. The science of snacking.
- Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Healthy snacking for weight gain.