Remaining underweight can hinder not just proper growth in teenagers, but also invite emotional and psychological problems. Do continue reading to learn about the lifestyle changes you need to make, and food items you need to trust to gain weight.

While some teens may struggle with weight-loss issues, the scenario is entirely different for quite a lot of others. For some, it does not matter how much they eat; their bodies fail to show any change and remain skinny. While gaining weight can be challenging, trusting junk food with empty calories can never do any good. All they do is increase the fat content of your body without working on your muscles. Thus, teenagers need a proper diet, including wholesome food items, to properly support their weight gain efforts.

What is the ideal weight for teenagers?

The ideal weight of a teenager depends on their height. And the best way to determine this is to consider the BMI or the body mass index.


Adolescent girls experience many changes in their bone composition, weight, height, and body fat distribution durin

g puberty.


Many boys start experiencing growth spurts upon reaching puberty. They either bulk up or become skinny at this time. Hence, it is necessary to choose a realistic weight gain diet for teenage guys to keep them hooked.

Weight gain tips for teens

Reaching the ideal weight and accumulating body fat are different parameters. While body fat accumulation also raises weight, it is not the same as muscle development. So, along with determining the ideal weight, it is also necessary to focus on the means of achieving it. A teenage weight gain meal plan should contain healthy foods that can help them build muscle and body mass without letting unhealthy fats get deposited in their belly. Here are a few tips to help teenagers gain weight.

  1. Maintain a cereal-rich calorie-surplus diet
    Teenagers must consume more calories than they spend to gain weight. They must include vegetables, cereals, fruits, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates in their diet.
  2. Trust protein-rich food to build muscles
    A protein-rich diet, along with appropriate exercising, will help teenagers build muscles rather than let body fat accumulate. Hence, encourage teens to include protein-rich food in their diet to improve their physique even as they gain weight.
  3. Increase portion size
    To increase their calorie intake, teenagers can gradually increase their portion sizes. It may not be possible overnight, but adopting this habit can help them increase their weight in a controlled manner. For example, if they had two toasts for breakfast, first make it three and then four.
  4. Never skip breakfast
    Skipping breakfast is a strict no-no for teenagers if they are eager to follow any teenage weight gain diet. Breakfast allows the body to recharge and start the day on an energetic note. They should start their day with nutritious and high-energy foods that are dense in calories. Skipping breakfast can also affect body metabolism and cause weight loss.
  5. Eat more
    Apart from three meals a day, teenagers can introduce two calorie-rich snacks between meals. Also, they can include a snack before bed. However, this does not mean indulging in snacks but having food with protein and healthy fats. The key to healthy weight gain is well-balanced and nutritious food.
  6. Exercise
    Combining appropriate exercises such as strength training with a well-balanced diet plan can help teenagers increase their body muscle and mass. Correct exercises like squats, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, lunges, burpees, etc., will help target the core areas of the body and make them more hungry, allowing them to eat more than usual.

Foods to include in your diet for weight gain

Weight-gaining food items must be tempting and wholesome so that they can be included easily in the diet for teenagers to gain weight without fuss. Some of them are mentioned below:

  1. Cereals and Grains
    Commonly consumed cereals and grains include wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats, rye, millets, and sorghum. Thanks to them being rich in protein and fibre and having a high-calorie count, they are often considered an integral part of a nutritious and well-balanced diet plan. For example, oatmeal is a source of complex carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibre, making it a nutritious meal option. They can keep teenagers satiated for a long time and keep them away from junk food.
  2. Beans and lentils
    Beans and lentils are high in calories, protein, and dietary fibre. Teenagers can include them in their diet to gain body mass and support muscle growth.
  3. Milk and milk products
    Milk is rich in protein, calcium, and other essential vitamins to help teenagers maintain a healthy weight. They also contribute to the bone-strengthening process. A glass of milk a day is a nutritious way to increase calorie intake. Just like milk, its derivatives such as paneer also contribute towards healthy weight gain. Due to its high nutritive value, paneer is considered an ideal food for growing children and adolescents. It is rich in protein, fat, vitamins D and A, and minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. Apart from helping teenagers gain weight and muscle, paneer also takes care of their nutritional needs. Tofu and soy paneer are other vegetarian versions of paneer. Teenagers can also include yoghurt in their meals for healthy weight management. For example, instead of just having fruits, they can easily make yoghurt smoothies and add fruits. Yoghurt is a healthy addition to meals, thanks to several minerals and probiotics that aid in proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  4. Non-vegetarian foods
    Non-vegetarian food items like eggs and chicken can immensely help teenagers gain the right amount of weight and maintain it, thanks to their high protein content. Eggs are wholesome and dense in protein. They help teenagers build growth muscles in the body. Introducing them in small quantities also packs their meals with other nutrients, like zinc, calcium, phosphorus, etc. Chicken, especially grilled or boiled, can provide teenagers with abundant protein and help them maintain their calorie-surplus diet. Chicken contains several essential minerals like selenium and zinc that benefit the entire body.
  5. Starchy vegetables
    Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in fibre, complex carbs, and several minerals. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants. Teenagers can easily make yummy snacks out of them while not deviating from healthy eating. You can use this recipe to prepare a delicious sweet potato dish.
  6. Fruits
    Banana is a repository of vital vitamins and minerals, while mango contains a lot of fibre, pectin, and vitamin C, and can be easily used to prepare milkshakes, smoothies, and ice cream. Similarly, coconut flesh has one of the highest nutritional and calorie values and is a repository of heart-healthy fats that aid in weight gain. The fruits mentioned here are just a few among an entire lot that make them ideal candidates for teenage weight gain diet plans.
  7. Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds
    Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds are high in nutrients. Apart from multiple minerals, they contain healthy fats that can help teenagers gain weight healthily. Teenagers can either mix them with their smoothies and ice creams or enjoy a handful.


Healthy weight gain demands patience, perseverance, and discipline. Teenagers must follow an appropriate diet and adopt a healthy lifestyle to gain healthy weight and retain them without becoming fat or obese.

Choosing the right food items and recipes goes a long way in determining teenagers’ weight and shaping their lives. Some recipes can be paneer aloo paratha with coriander chutney, chicken burnt garlic fried rice, and dahi methi murgh. Hence, without giving in to hacks that falsely promise quick results, they must stick to their healthy food habits and exercise routines for long-lasting results.