The Best Female Weight Gain Meal Plan
By: Zack Mathews
If you’re looking for an effective female weight gainer meal plan, you’re in the right place.
I was always the skinny guy growing up and had to learn how to eat properly to overcome my hardgainer genetics. From my own transformation and helping clients in person and online, I want to share with you the best practices when it comes to a meal plan for weight gain.
To have an affective female weight gain meal plan, you need to have foods you enjoy, eat at times that fits your lifestyle, and have a plan that is not overly restrictive or complicated.
This guide will give you everything you need for a successful transformation including:
- Calorie and protein targets for female weight gain
- How many meals a day a female should eat to gain weight
- How should women eat to gain weight? Let’s build your weight gain meal plan for females
- Foods a female should prioritize when focusing on weight gain
- Sample weight gain meal plan for females
- Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re a female and your goal is to gain weight, you need to know two important terms.
- Calorie surplus
- Muscle gain vs fat gain
A calorie surplus is when you eat more calories than your body needs on a given day. Let’s take a look at a simple example.
As you can see, Jane needs 2000 calories each day to maintain her weight. Since she wants to gain weight, she decides to eat 500 calories more than the 2000 she needs. That 500 extra calories puts her in a calorie surplus and she will gain weight.
The next important distinction is gaining muscle or fat, which is what is going to happen with that extra 500 calories.
If you’re lifting weights and eating enough protein, your body will prioritize muscle growth. If you eat in a surplus and don’t track your protein or lift weights, those excess calories will most likely be stored as fat.
Since this is a female weight gain meal plan guide, I’m going to keep these guidelines short and provide you with references below if you want to learn more about weight gain workouts and nutrition.
- Female weight gain calorie target: Multiply weight (in pounds) by 16
- Female weight gain protein target: Multiply weight (in pounds) by 0.7 and eat at least that many grams of protein each day.
Here are additional references:
The great thing about meal frequency when it comes to female weight gain is that it doesn’t matter!
You can eat how ever many meals feels right to you and fits your schedule, as long as you hit your calories and protein.
Let’s say you are eating 2500 calories. You could do either of these plans and get similar results:
- Meal Frequency To Gain Weight As A Female Option 1
- Breakfast - 500
- Snack - 300
- Lunch - 500
- Snack - 200
- Dinner - 800
- Dessert - 200
- Meal Frequency To Gain Weight As A Female Option 2
- Breakfast - 0
- Snack - 0
- Lunch - 800
- Weight gainer shake - 800
- Dinner - 900
Both of those examples will get you similar results even though one person is spreading out their food over multiple meals while the other likes to fast and eat later in the day.
Let’s get to building your plan. This is going to require work on your end so I want you to grab a piece of paper or open up your notes app.
For each category below I want you to write down 2 - 3 meals that sound good to build your plan around.
At the end of this section you’ll have up to 9 meals and 3 snacks that you can mix and match day in and day out.
This is how I develop my weight gain meal plans for females. Instead of giving you exactly what to eat, I provide you with options to build your own plan. It gives you more flexibility and freedom to eat the foods you like and at the times you prefer.
Female Weight Gain Breakfast
I personally think breakfast is important when trying to gain weight because you want to start eating early to make a dent on your calorie goal. Eating more calories may be new to you so providing yourself with more hours in the day to eat your calories may be a good option.
Also, loading up on protein and calories early in the day makes it easier to cruise through the remainder of the day without having to stuff yourself at dinner.
Female Weight Gain Lunch
When making your lunch, you need to take into consideration what you’ve had prior that day.
Have you already had breakfast and/or a snack? Or are you fasted and this meal is the first of the day?
Those questions are important because they are going to dictate how big of meal you make for lunch.
Female Weight Gain Dinner
Now you’ve arrived to dinner! Depending on your style of eating, this is usually the biggest meal for most of my female weight gain clients.
They are going to have a lot of calories and protein, while also making sure they get their micronutrients with vegetables.
Female Weight Gain Snacks
The great thing about gaining weight is the flexibility you get with snacking! This is where you get to plug the holes in your diet and ramp up your calories and protein.
If you prefer smaller meals, have more snacks to help you hit your targets. On the contrary, if you prefer big meals, you might keep your snacking to a minimum and save those calories.
Some experts out there will tell you to eat whatever you want to gain weight since the only thing that matters is calories.
I believe there is a balance you need to find with eating enough to gain weight AND feeling good.
If you loaded up on junk food you’ll gain weight but you’ll probably feel pretty lousy.
Instead focus on whole foods like the ones listed below and then sprinkle in those cheat foods to help you hit your calorie and protein goal.
- Protein: Meats, fish, and poultry - lean ground beef, lean steak, beef jerky, ground turkey, turkey breast, chicken breast, pork chop, salmon, white fish, shrimp
- Protein: Dairy - milk, cottage cheese, greek yogurt
- Protein: Other - tofu, eggs, egg whites, edamame, protein powder, protein bars
- Carbs: whole grain wraps, whole grain bread, oatmeal, beans, lentils, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, ret potatoes, russet potatoes, white rice, brown rice, quinoa
- Veggies: zucchini, tomatoes, all colored peppers, asparagus, onions, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, celery, carrots, green beens, peas, mushrooms
- Fruits: bananas, grapes, apples, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, oranges, peaches, pears, cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas
- Good Fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, ghee
Now that you have a list of available meals and know what types of food to focus on, let’s see it in action.
Here is a hypothetical weight gain meal plan for a female.
Breakfast: On The Go Breakfast: 490 calories 23g protein
- 3 hardboiled eggs
- 3 turkey sausage links
- 1 apple
- 2 servings of almonds
Lunch: Pasta: 760 calories 54g protein
- 6 oz ground beef (93/7)
- 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
- 2 servings pasta
- 2 handfuls of spinach in sauce (why not, you can’t taste it!)
Dinner: Fish tacos: 600 calories 47g protein
- 6 oz white fish
- 1 cup black beans
- 3 corn tortillas
- 1 avocado
- Carrots, celery, and pretzels with hummus: 200 calories
- 1 protein shake with 2 cups almond milk: 170 calories 24g protein
- 1 banana: 120 calories
Total: 2340 calories 148g protein
Remember you only need to eat at least 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Therefore, if you like protein and want to ramp that number up, go for it!
- Drink more liquid calories such as milk
- Add a blended protein shake each day with protein, milk, banana, and peanut butter
- Eat more fats like nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and nut butters
- Limit water during meals so you can eat more
- Start eating earlier in the day so you can space out meals
- Add more unprocessed foods for easy calories
If you want to gain weight in 10 days (and know you can’t build muscle that fast), focus on eating more carbohydrates. Carbs such as rice, potatoes, oatmeal, and whole grains make you hold onto more water. Holding onto more water will result in temporary weight gain.
To build muscle, it takes much more time and you’ll need to eat adequate protein and lift weights while being in a calorie surplus.
Peanut butter is a great option for weight gain because it is a fat. Fat has more calories per gram (9) than carbs (4) and proteins (4) do. Since it’s more than double the calories per gram, it’s easy add extra calories to your diet with peanut butter.
When building your female weight gain meal plan, it’s important that you are consistent with following a well structured strength training routine. You want to make sure that the majority of your weight gain is muscle and the best way to do that is by lifting weights.
When you want to gain muscle but also lose stubborn belly fat you have what’s known as a skinny fat body. Your best option it to decide what your main priority is, build muscle or lose fat. From there, focus on that specific goal for 8 -12 weeks and then reevaluate your goals.
I discuss this in depth in my Skinny Fat Essential Guide
Recap Of Meal Plans For Female Weight Gain
To wrap up, remember that the best meal plan as a female to gain weight is one that fits your lifestyle and doesn’t overly restrict you and is not too complicated.
You’ll need to be in a calorie surplus to gain weight so find how many calories you need to be eating and then pick a few meals from each category above to build the perfect meal plan for you.