How to gain weight with type 2 diabetes

Appetite for Life

How to gain weight with type 2 diabetes

Download this information as a PDF

If you have type 2 diabetes, it is particularly important for you to keep strong and have a healthy body weight as you get older.

Talk to a doctor, diabetes educator or Accredited Practising Dietitian if you are unsure about your weight. The following ideas can help if you need to gain weight.

Eat regular meals/snacks

  • Eat more often if you struggle with bigger meals. Try to aim for three small meals and three snacks each day.
  • Try to eat at regular times, even if you don’t feel hungry.
  • Choose a variety of foods from each of the five food groups every day.

Boost energy and protein in meals and snacks

Some foods can help you to gain weight without causing big rises in your blood glucose (sugar) levels. These include foods high in:

  • Protein, such as meat, fish, chicken, legumes, eggs, nuts and full-cream dairy foods
  • Energy, such as margarine, avocado, nut butters, oil and salad dressing.

Ideas for meals or snacks rich in energy and protein

  • Spread bread or crackers thickly with avocado, cream cheese, peanut butter or dip.
  • Add extra oil, margarine, grated cheese or a cheesy sauce to vegetables.
  • Eggs on multigrain toast.
  • A sandwich filled with curried egg, salmon, lean ham or sliced roast beef.

Make every mouthful count.  Try not to fill up on foods and drinks that don’t give you lots of energy (such as plain fruits, vegetables and water). Instead, eat the energy- and protein-rich foods on your plate first.

See the High energy and high protein foods page for more ideas.

Try high energy and high protein drinks

  • If you sometimes find it hard to eat solid food, try drinks and soups higher in energy and protein.
  • Try milkshakes, fruit smoothies or an all-milk coffee.
  • Boost your milk drink by adding milk powder. To do this, add two tablespoons of milk powder to 250mL of milk.
  • Make creamy or chunky soups with meat, vegetables and legumes such as kidney beans, split peas or chickpeas. Milk powder can also be added to creamy soups.

See the Nourishing drinks page for more ideas.

This general advice was accurate at the time of publication (June 2020). For more information about nutrition and your individual needs, see your GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.