How To Sneak Calories Into Meals For Weight Gain

Individuals in recovery from anorexia (and eating disorders) need to eat a lot more food than they are used too, as they need energy for weight gain. This can be done by eating more often, larger meals and eating higher energy foods. A typical day would likely involve three meals and three snacks. Obviously this is going to seem like a lot of food and become extremely overwhelming. Luckily, calorie dense food can help ease you into the first few stages (and weeks) of recovery… and sometimes even towards the end when your body starts to adapt to these meals, your not gaining weight anymore and you feel full sooner from large meals. This helps when you need to increase calories once again to break through the plateaux that is occurring.


Here are some examples of food combinations that will pack a ton of calories into a single meal or snack:

  • vegetables with high fat dip

  • add cheese on top of foods like pasta and sandwiches, or melt into soups

  • use extra oils when cooking vegetables or potatoes

  • avocado for sandwiches or dip

  • add dried fruit to oatmeal, salads or cereal

  • spread extra butter, jam or honey on your bread

  • granola to add on top of cereal or yogurt

  • use bread crumbs or oatmeal when making meat

  • extra nut butters added to smoothies or on toast

  • use mayonnaise or oil when making egg (or tuna) salad

  • lots of maple syrup for pancakes and waffles

  • add nuts to ice cream, cereal, oatmeal, salads, etc.

  • use higher fat milk (2% – 3.25%) when making pancake batters

  • choose cream based soups over broth based

  • butter whipped into mashed potatoes

  • powdered milk into scrambled eggs, yogurt, cereal, etc.

  • choose to eat bagels over bread


Try to avoid drinking lots of water during recovery. Water will fill you up too much and interfere with  recovery and your meal sizes.

Some drink options & hacks to try:

  • add heavy cream to coffee or tea

  • use 2% or high fat milk as a base for smoothies

  • get sweetened versions of nut milks or those with a higher fat content

  • add powdered milk to drinks such as hot chocolate

  • caloric dense smoothies

  • milk shakes (i.e. when having hamburger and fries)

  • Bottled juices

  • order your drinks with high fat milk and don’t remove or alter ingredients (i.e. Starbucks drink order)