Health and Fitness
How to Gain Weight for Seniors: Basic Ideas

How to Gain Weight for Seniors: Basic Ideas

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healthy weight gain for seniors


When we consider weight management, we might think weight loss is the issue most people face. But some people may also have trouble keeping weight on. Being underweight can also put you at risk for health issues. This issue is persistent in senior citizens too since with age, the metabolism slows down and bodies require fewer calories to function.  

So, are you a senior who has been struggling to maintain your weight? Are you finding it harder and harder to eat enough food each day? Don’t despair! There are things you can do to gain weight and stay healthy. In this blog post, we’ll outline some tips for healthy weight gain for seniors. Keep reading for more information. 

What Causes Unintentional Weight Loss in Older Adults?

According to the Mayo Clinic, several factors can lead to unplanned weight loss, including medical and non-medical causes, such as:

· Medical conditions that interfere with appetite or cause digestive problems

· Inability to independently buy groceries or cook

· Feeling isolated or depressed

· Problems swallowing or chewing

· Not being able to taste food properly

Effects of Unintentional Weight Loss

Significant unintentional weight loss in people that are over age 65 can have serious consequences. According to American Family Physician, weight loss of more than a 5% reduction in body weight over six to 12 months is associated with increased mortality. 

Depending on the amount of weight your lost and whether you are underweight, you may also have adverse effects, including:

· Increased risk of illness

· Muscle loss

· Decrease the ability to perform tasks of daily living

· Increased fatigue or weakness

What Are Some Safe Ways to Gain Healthy Weight for Seniors? 

Seniors in a park, exercising and enjoying themselves

Before trying to gain weight, it’s best to talk with your doctor to determine a healthy weight gain goal. Your doctor may also give you tips on what types of food you should avoid. You may have dietary restrictions, such as a low salt or gluten-free diet if you have certain medical conditions.

But there are some general suggestions for seniors to gain weight safely, including the following:

1. Consider eating smaller meals more often 

In some cases, older adults may get full fast, which causes them to take in too few calories to maintain their weight. Instead of eating three large meals a day, consider eating four or five smaller meals. Also, limit how much water you drink at your meals, which may fill you up too fast. It’s important to stay well hydrated. So, be sure to drink plenty of liquids when you’re not eating a meal.

2. Add more flavor

According to the National Institute on Aging, our sense of smell and taste can change as we grow older. Both taste and smell affect how we enjoy food. If your taste buds and sense of smell change, you might find you have even less interest in food. To make food more appealing, consider adding spices, such as pepper, rosemary, and garlic. 

3. Choose foods with the right texture

Certain foods might be hard to chew or swallow if you have any problems with your teeth. If some foods are too hard to chew, swap it out for a softer version.

4. Add healthy fats 

In the past, fat got a bad rap. Although too much trans fat and saturated fat are unhealthy, we need a certain amount of healthy fat. Healthy fats, including polyunsaturated fat, help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Healthy fats also are high in calories. Consider adding olive oil, nuts, and avocados to dishes for a few extra calories. 

5. Get active 

It might seem that exercising would not be advisable for someone that is trying to gain weight. But staying active may help increase your appetite. Strength training may be a great option since it also helps build muscle and may help with weight gain.

6. Ask your doctor about supplements

If you are not getting the proper nutrients from your meals, you might need to take supplements. But before you take any type of supplement, talk with your doctor to make sure it is appropriate for you.

Some Foods to Help Elderly Gain Weight 

If your elderly loved one is underweight, speak to their doctor about whether they would benefit from adding some high-calorie foods to their diet. Try incorporating some of these into their meals: 

  1. Nuts and nut butter: Almonds, peanuts, and walnuts are all high in calories and protein. Add them to oatmeal, peanut butter, or trail mix for a quick and easy way to boost your loved one’s calorie intake. Nut butters can also be spread on toast or added to smoothies. 
  2. Cheese: Cheese is high-calorie, high-fat food that is a good source of protein and calcium. Serve it with crackers, bread, or fruit for a filling snack or meal. Apart from that whole milk and yogurt can help support healthy weight gain. 
  3. Avocados: Avocados are packed with healthy fats that can help boost your loved one’s calorie intake. Add avocado slices to sandwiches or salads, or mash it up and add it to smoothies or sauces. 
  4. Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a healthy fat that is high in calories. Use it as a cooking oil, add it to smoothies, or use it as a skin moisturizer for elderly people who are struggling with weight gain. 
  5. Meat and eggs: These two foods are high in protein and calories, which can help to increase weight and muscle mass. Additionally, they are both affordable and easily accessible, making them a great choice for those looking to add some extra pounds. 

Weight gain supplements

Sometimes weight gain supplements could be used in conjunction with a well-rounded eating plan and regular exercise. However,  it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating any new supplements into the routine.  That being said, here are some commonly recommended and generally safe supplements that may support healthy weight gain:

Weight gain supplements for men

  • Protein powders: Men may benefit from protein powders that contain a higher concentration of protein per serving to support muscle growth and recovery.
  • Creatine: Men tend to have higher muscle mass and may benefit from creatine supplementation to enhance strength and power during workouts.
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): BCAAs can aid in muscle recovery and reduce muscle breakdown. They may be beneficial for men engaged in intense resistance training.
  • Testosterone boosters: Some men may consider natural testosterone-boosting supplements under the guidance of a healthcare professional if low testosterone levels are a concern.

Weight gain supplements for women

  • Protein powders: Women can also benefit from protein powders to support muscle development and recovery. Plant-based protein powders like pea, soy, or hemp may be preferred by some women.
  • Healthy fats: Women may focus on incorporating healthy fats into their diet and consider omega-3 fatty acid supplements for overall health and hormonal balance.
  • Iron supplements: Women are more prone to iron deficiency due to menstruation. If iron levels are low, a healthcare professional may recommend iron supplements.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D: Women have a higher risk of osteoporosis, so calcium and vitamin D supplements may be beneficial for bone health.


Maintaining a healthy weight as you age is critical to preventing chronic diseases and improving overall health. While it may be more difficult to maintain a healthy weight as you get older, it’s not impossible. Try incorporating healthy fats, protein, and regular exercise into your daily routine to see faster results. But first, make sure to consult a nutritionist or health professional before following a diet. 

We hope that the tips above are helpful in maintaining a healthy weight and gaining weight if needed. If you would like more helpful information on ways to stay fit and healthy, please visit BoomersHub’s Blog’s Health & Fitness section.

You may also check these related articles:


Why do elderly gain weight? 

There are a number of reasons why elderly people tend to gain weight. One reason is that as people get older, their metabolic rate slows down, which means they burn fewer calories per day. Also, many elderly people become less active as they age, which can also lead to weight gain. Additionally, some medications prescribed to elderly people can cause weight gain. 

How to help elderly gain weight? 

There are a few things that can be done to help elderly people gain weight. One is to make sure they are getting enough calories each day. This can be done by ensuring they are eating enough healthy foods, and by providing them with snacks or supplements if needed. Another is to make sure they are getting enough protein and essential fatty acids, which are important for maintaining muscle mass. Finally, exercise can help elderly people gain weight, as it helps burn calories and build muscle. 

What can elderly people eat to gain weight?  

There are a few things elderly people can eat to gain weight.  

  • First, they should try eating more high-calorie foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils.  
  • Second, they can drink calorie-rich beverages such as smoothies, shakes, or juice.  
  • Third, they can increase their protein intake by eating more meat, eggs, and dairy products.  
  • Finally, they can make sure they are getting enough vitamins and minerals by taking a multivitamin supplement. 

How to gain weight in the elderly while lactose intolerant? 

There are a few things elderly people can do to gain weight while lactose intolerant. One is to consume more high-calorie foods, such as nuts, nut butter, avocados, seeds, oils, and full-fat dairy products. Additionally, elderly people can eat whole grain cereals, granola bars, crackers, and fruits to increase protein and calorie intake

Is Glucerna used in elderly for weight gain? 

Glucerna is designed as a diabetic meal replacement shake and is not specifically marketed for weight gain. Some elderly people may use Glucerna as a weight gain shake, but it is a must to speak with a healthcare professional before using Glucerna or any other shake as a weight gain tool. 

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