Home > NUTRITION > Nutrition for the Underweight

Nutrition for the Underweight

What is underweight?

  • If your BMI-for-age is 5th centile, you are underweight.
  • You may be otherwise well but have a high metabolic rate.
  • You may be underweight due to an eating disorder (anorexia/bulimia) or underlying medical disease (e.g. thyroid problem).

How can you Increase your weight?

Consult your doctor to ensure you have no medical problems.
If you do not have medical problems, you can increase weight:

  • By increasing your food intake to increase your calories.
  • If you are not a big eater, eat small but frequent meals.
    • Try having six meals a day (main meal and snacks) such as breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.
    • The snacks for morning tea, afternoon tea and supper should be healthy and nutritious.
  • Choose food which is high in energy and protein content.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet. (Healthy eating).
  • Have regular exercise. Exercise can increase your appetite.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. When you sleep, your body will store the calories.
  • Consult your doctor or dietitian if you wish to take a high protein diet or supplements to increase your weight.

Sample menu for weight-gain

Refer to the table below:

Sample of menu for weight-gain: (1600 kilocalories)

Breakfast 1/2 cup cornflakes + dices fruit
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 slice whole meal bread
1 teaspoon margarine
1 teaspoon jam
1 cup coffee / tea with low fat milk
+ 1 teaspoon sugar
Morning Tea 1 piece kuih cucur badak
1 cup cocoa with low fat milk
+ 1 teaspoon sugar
morning tea
Lunch 1 cup rice
1/2 cup braised kailan
1/4 cup kerabu taugeh
1 ladle chicken curry + tomato
1 slice pineapple
Plain water
Afternoon Tea 1 piece kuih keria
1 cup coffee / tea with low fat milk
+ 1 teaspoon sugar
afternoon   tea
Dinner 1 cup rice
1 bowl spinach soup
1/2 piece with taufoo
1 piece medium sized grilled brinjal sambal
1 piece mackerel “asam pedas”
Plain water
Supper 1 cup low fat milk


Last reviewed : 25 January 2008
Writer : Noor Safiza bt. Mohd Nordin