Gaining weight can be difficult for some people. With a few changes, you can gradually reach a healthy weight.
Being underweight could mean you're missing out on vitamins and minerals.
This could lead to health problems such as a weak immune system and bone fractures.
Non-urgent advice: Speak to a GP if:
- you've lost weight suddenly
- you’ve lost weight without changing your diet or exercise routine
- you use the control of food to cope with feelings and other situations
This could be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Read more about unintentional weight loss.
Read more about eating disorders.
Find out if you're underweight
Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement that can show you if you're a healthy weight.
You'll need your height and weight to calculate your BMI.
Tips to help you gain weight
gain weight gradually by adding healthy calories – adults could try adding around 300 to 500 extra calories a day
eat smaller meals more often, adding healthy snacks between meals
add extra calories to your meals with cheese, nuts, and seeds
have high-calorie drinks in between meals, such as milkshakes
have a balanced diet – choose from a variety of food groups, such as fruit and vegetables, starchy carbohydrates and dairy and alternatives
add protein to your meals with beans, pulses, fish, eggs and lean meat
have snacks that are easy to prepare, such as yogurt or rice pudding
build muscle with strength training or yoga – exercise can also improve your appetite
do not rely on chocolate, cakes and sugary drinks to gain weight
do not fill up on drinks before eating meals
Adding healthy calories
To add healthy calories, you could:
- try free recipes on Healthier Families – filter by meal, ingredients or cooking time
- follow the Eatwell Guide to learn more about what makes up a healthy diet
- read more about calories to understand how to gain weight safely
Strength training or yoga can help you build muscle and increase your appetite.
Get meals at home (meals on wheels)
If you struggle to cook or shop for yourself, you may be entitled to have meals delivered to your home. This is provided by your local council's social services.
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