There's nearly not enough attention given to people aiming to gain weight and especially those who are vegetarians. The whole idea of gaining weight can be simplified into the basic criteria of consuming more calories than your maintenance calories. Now one can certainly gain weight by indulging in fast foods, packaged snacks, sugary drinks and foods laden with preservatives like ice cream and so on. But the idea behind this list is to encourage people to add more healthy vegetarian dishes in their day to day life and promote more sustainable eating habits that'll prove beneficial in the long run. Ditching oily foods for healthy fats, simple carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates and removing sugar for more healthy alternatives will certainly help you get there.  

Just a friendly disclaimer before we move on, no food is bad nor should it be completely discarded. It is our eating patterns we ought to look more closely into rather than drawing a line in the sand and calling a harmless vegetable "bad for health". Moderation is key and responsibility for self is important in making the right choices, be it in life, or in food.

Breakfast

Given how it is the most important meal of the day, the first thing you put in your body upon waking up, it has to be healthy, filling and nutritious. Here are a few vegetarian choices for your morning meals

1. Oats with Milk, Banana and Almonds 

Image Credit: cookitrealgood.com

 

The complex carbohydrates from the oats and the healthy fats and protein from milk, banana and almonds is the perfect combination for a filling breakfast. The complex carbs doesn’t spike the insulin levels in your body and keeps you satiated till lunchtime and bananas and almonds provide good source of dietary fibers and essential fats and minerals to go along with it as well. If you're not to keen on the flavour profile of oats, you can add jaggery, honey, or cinnamon to make it more palateable, or you could swap the oats for broken wheat or dalia which would serve the same purpose.

2. Pesarattu or Moong Dal Dosa

Image Credit: archanaskitchen.com

 

This South Indian delicacy can be an ideal replacement for your morning sliced bread. Protein rich and a carrier for vegetables, you could roll up stir fried or steamed vegetables in them or have them as your tiffin option as well.

3. Bean sprout salad

The beans and legumes we eat everyday are enhanced in their protein and micronutrient content when soaked in water till they sprout. This makes for a perfect breakfast hack as you can have this ready the night before, by soaking a handful of chana in a bowl of water. Do not overdo the amount of sprouts you can have in the morning as it can lead to bloating. Pair it with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and black salt and your nutritious protein-rich salad is ready.

Snacks

The goal when it comes to weight gain is to have surplus calories every 2-3 hours during the day. The filling breakfast aside, you must keep feeding the body to obtain that surplus calories that'll be crucial for gaining healthy weight.

1. Peanut Butter Roti with Sliced Bananas

Use whole wheat or multigrain roti to suffice the body's protein neeeds and paired with peanut butter and bananas, this makes for a healthy yet tasty option for a midday snack.

2. Handful of Dried Fruits and Nuts

Image Credit: thepioneerwoman.com

 

Snacking on dates, figs, cashews, almonds or peanuts would serve you well than chowing down on a cup of instant noodles. The healthy fats and the antioxidants in the dried fruits and nuts would help in countering the free radicals in your body from air pollutants and harmful sun rays and help keep your energy levels up throughout the waking hours.

Lunch

Lunch is probably the most elaborate meal of the day but for the purposes of gaining healthy weight, try and keep it as simple and limited as possible. No extravagant curries, no oil-rich foods and certainly no copious amounts of food that'll make you sleepy during the day.

1. Whole Wheat Roti with Paneer Bhurji and Curd

Stir fry the paneer with spinach in barely adequate amount of oil and pair it with roti to have a protein rich lunch. What more! You can have curd along with it to boost the protein content of this dish. Add your favourite vegetables as a side dish too and you're good to go!

2. Brown Rice with Rajma and Salad

Image Credit: nrinewstoday.com

 

A classic take on the rajma chawal, but avoid making the rajma decadent in this case. The rajma should be of the consistency of baked beans sans the elaborate seasonings and flavour enriching fats. Try using brown rice as it is a more complex form of carbohydrates than plain white rice and provides energy more consistently than the latter. Pair the dish with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes and you're golden!

Post-Lunch

Have a classic glass of sattu or a weight gainer shake or simply invest in a protein powder from the host of choices that are available in the market.

Dinner

Steamed or boiled vegetables makes for a light dinner that won't interfere with your sleep or digestion. It is always recommended to avoid meats or heavy dishes during dinnertime, and a fibrous and nutritious spread of vegetables is certainly the way to go! Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, corn, peas, anything goes! Season them with black salt and black pepper and that's all it takes for a healthy but filling dinner option. 

Before bed

A glass of warm milk before bed makes for a perfect nightcap. Milk has adequate levels of magnesium and casein protein, which helps improve a person's sleep. Along with this, milk is packed with minerals, vitamins as well as tryptophan – a hormone that plays an important role in the production of serotonin and melatonin, all of which contributes to a good night's sleep.