How to gain weight

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN

Q: I have celiac disease and I desperately need to gain weight. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


If you are struggling to gain weight, make sure you follow up with your gastroenterologist or doctor to monitor your celiac disease as weight loss/poor weight gain can be a sign of malabsorption and damage to the small intestine. Your doctor can do a blood test to check your levels of celiac specific antibodies to see how well the gluten-free diet is working. Inadvertent exposure to gluten is the most common cause of continuous damage to the small intestine.

Below are some tips on how to gain weight. I recommend trying to gain weight with nutritious high calorie foods first, before using supplemental nutrition drinks such as Ensure or Boost.

Include nutritious high calorie foods in your diet:

Nuts, gluten-free nut bars, peanut butter and nut butters (use on gluten-free breads and crackers or in smoothies)

Salmon and other fatty fish

Avocado (use for salads and smoothies)

Olive oil (drizzle on veggies/salad, gluten-free pasta, add to smoothies etc.)



Whole Greek yogurt

Dried fruits

Gluten-free whole grain breads/crackers

Smoothies (use high calorie ingredients such as avocado, banana, whole Greek yogurt and mix with other fruits and veggies.)

General tips:

  • Eat three meals a day plus snacks
  • Include a mid-morning snack and an afternoon snack
  • Add an extra snack at night before bed
  • Don't eat a snack or drink anything within an hour before a meal
  • Drink higher calorie drinks with meals or right after the meal so it won't interfere with food intake

Reviewed and updated October 11, 2022.

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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