If I want to gain weight (muscle) what is the best thing to eat?

Rather than focusing on one perfect food for weight gain, concentrate on eating enough all day long. You can do this by: Not skipping meals; Making sure you have a snack between breakfast and lunch and one before bed; Making sure that you take a little bit larger portion of healthy foods than you’re used to eating.
Chris Embry

In order to gain weight, you need to be eating more calories than you are burning. To ensure the majority of the weight is muscle and not fat, a weight training program needs to be accompanied by enough food to not only fuel your routine, but provide it with the proper nutrients to build muscle. The minimum amount of protein recommended per day when trying to build muscle is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, a good number to aim for is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. In addition, you need quality sources of carbohydrate to fuel your workout and ensure you have enough energy to give a solid effort every time. Finally it is important to include some healthy fats to your nutrition plan as well. Good sources of each of these are:

Protein - chicken, lean beef, turkey, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, and protein powders.

Carbohydrates - oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole grain breads

Fat - all-natural peanut butter, olive oil, almonds, cashews, eggs, and fish oil

There is a strategy that I discuss with clients that is called nutrient density versus caloric density.  Nutrient density gives you tons of vitamins, minerals and amino acids per serving without giving you tons of calories.  On the other hand calorie density means the caloric levels are high and the weight or volume is not.

Examples of caloric density are things like oils, nut butters, butter, cheese, fattier meats, whole milks and juices, things deep fried, ect.

When people are trying to gain muscle they make the mistake of just eating and they end up just fat.  If you want to build muscle and not fat you need a combination of nutrient density, caloric density and the right amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat.

My advice is to figure out how many calories your body burns in a daily basis and eat 500 to 1000 calories above that and make sure to eat sufficient levels of proteins and combination of nutrient dense foods (whole grains, fruits, veggies) and caloric density (anything really in the typical american diet), then when your body fat gets too high (under control), reduce caloric levels to bring body fat back down to a moderate level.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.