Are eating high-calorie healthy foods really good for you? Read on to find out more about these delicious treats!
Eating more calories can help you gain weight and muscle, but you must choose the right foods. Discover why high-calorie healthy foods are your best safe and sustainable weight gain option.
Healthy weight gain is all about eating more without sacrificing nutrition. The key is choosing high-calorie foods that provide energy and essential vitamins and minerals. This article reveals why you need more calories and the top high-calorie healthy foods to help you gain weight the right way.
- Eating more high-calorie healthy foods can help you gain weight safely.
- Choose nutritious sources of protein, carbs, fat and key micronutrients.
- Top foods for weight gain include protein smoothies, whole milk, rice, nuts, cheese, fatty fish, avocado, granola, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.
- Increase calories in your meals by adding olive oil, cheese, avocado, nut butter, and dried fruit.
- Track your progress and adjust your calorie intake to meet your goals.
Focus on getting plenty of calories from wholesome real foods. With commitment and consistency, you can gain weight healthily and sustainably.
Why You May Need More Calories
Many people want to gain weight for different reasons:
- Underweight – Weighing too little can be unhealthy. Eating more nutritious calories can help restore weight.
- High Metabolism – Some people burn calories faster due to genetics and may need more food.
- Intense Exercise – Athletes and bodybuilders need extra calories to fuel workouts and build muscle.
- Medical Conditions – Health issues like injuries, chronic diseases, or eating disorders may increase calorie needs.
Whatever your reason, it’s important to eat a balanced diet. Drastically increasing junk food can lead to nutritional deficiencies and health risks. Aim for an extra 500-1000 calories daily from wholesome foods to gain weight gradually. Track your weight and adjust as needed to find your optimal calorie intake.
1) They are full of protein
Protein is an essential nutrient for any diet. It is an essential nutrient for building muscle, promoting satiety, aiding digestion, enhancing brain function, supporting bone health, and regulating blood sugar levels. Protein can be obtained from various sources, such as meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, nuts, beans, lentils, tofu, and quinoa.
2) They are low in fat
Overeating fat will slow our metabolism, meaning we burn fewer calories daily and gain weight faster. Low-fat snacks like fruit, veg, wholegrain crackers, and cheese contain lots of fiber, filling us up without adding unnecessary kilojoules. If you choose to snack on something fatty, try choosing small portions and make sure it’s nutritious, like avocado, olives, hummus, or even peanut butter.
3) They are packed with vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are what give our bodies all their energy. A lack of specific vitamins and minerals can lead to fatigue, skin problems, digestive issues, and anemia. There are many different vitamins and minerals, including B12, C, D, and E, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
The best way to ensure you get enough is by including them in your daily meals, such as vegetables, grains, lean meats/fish/poultry, and milk/yogurt. Foods rich in specific vitamins and minerals include broccoli, spinach, kale, avocados, almonds, and peanuts.
4) They satisfy hunger pangs
Have you ever noticed how hungry you feel after lunchtime? Well, chances are it’s because you haven’t eaten anything substantial since breakfast. When we skip meals, we tend to eat more significant portions when we finally sit down to have food because we’re so hungry. Having smaller frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large ones will mean you won’t be reaching for junk food when those hunger pangs kick in. Try having one meal every 2 hours daily rather than 3 large ones.
5) They taste amazing
Snacking between meals isn’t always a bad thing. Some people love having little mini ‘meals’ throughout the day. Snacks like carrot sticks, celery, grapes, berries, apples, raw nuts, seeds, etc., are all easy to grab and munch on. Remember not to go overboard with snacking and stick to 1-2 a day.
So next time you’re wondering whether it’s ok to eat something unhealthy while trying to lose weight, remember that eating these high-calorie healthy foods doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t slim down. Instead, it could be seen as another way to fuel your body. And if you really must have a biscuit, cracker, or sweet treat, at least make sure it’s made from whole grain ingredients.
How to Determine Your Calorie Needs
Use online TDEE calculators to estimate your maintenance calories based on height, weight, age, and activity level. Then add 500-1000 calories to this number to safely gain about 1-2 pounds per week. Adjust this as needed based on your response. It’s also wise to consult a doctor or dietitian who can assess your specific calorie and nutrition needs.
Choose High-Quality Foods
When gaining weight, focus on quality over quantity. Pick foods that provide:
- Protein – For building and repairing muscle tissue. Choose lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and nuts.
- Carbs – For energy. Go for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
- Healthy Fats – For hormones, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Include oils, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
- Vitamins & Minerals – For optimal health and body function. Get a variety of colorful fruits/veggies.
- Fiber – For digestive health. Eat whole foods like grains, fruits, and veggies.
Also consider taste, convenience, and budget. Having delicious food on hand makes it easier to eat more!
Criteria for Weight Gain Foods
- High in calories per serving
- Promotes satiety
- Easy to prepare
- Tastes good
- Promotes variety
10 Best High Calorie Healthy Foods
Here are the top calorie-packed foods to help you gain weight the healthy way:
1. Protein Smoothies
Calories: Up to 500 per smoothie Benefits: Quick, nutritious meal. Blend protein, fruits, milk, nut butters, oats. Tips: Use whole milk or yogurt. Add chia, flax, nut butters, protein powder.
2. Whole Milk
Calories: 150 per cup Benefits: High in calcium, vitamin D, protein. Tips: Drink glasses of milk. Use in oatmeal, smoothies.
3. Brown Rice
Calories: 215 per cup cooked Benefits: High in carbs, fiber, manganese.
Tips: Make rice bowls with beans, meat, cheese, avocado.
4. Macadamia Nuts
Calories: 200 per ounce Benefits: Rich in healthy fats, B vitamins, magnesium. Tips: Snack on nuts or add to meals.
5. Cheddar Cheese
Calories: 115 per ounce Benefits: Contains protein, calcium, vitamins A & B12. Tips: Melt on eggs, sandwiches, burgers, nachos.
Calories: 345 per fillet
Benefits: Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, selenium.
Tips: Bake, grill, or eat canned in salads.
Calories: 240 per medium avocado Benefits: Healthy fats, fiber, potassium, vitamins.
Tips: Mash onto toast. Use in sandwiches, smoothies.
8. Homemade Granola
Calories: 400 per cup Benefits: Fiber, protein, healthy fats from nuts and seeds.
Tips: Enjoy with yogurt or milk for breakfast.
9. Peanut Butter
Calories: 190 per 2 tablespoons
Benefits: Plant-based protein, healthy fats, magnesium.
Tips: Have peanut butter on toast or apples.
10. Dark Chocolate
Calories: 150 per ounce Benefits: Antioxidants, satisfaction.
Tips: Snack on a square or two per day.
Feel full with high-calorie healthy foods
There are many reasons why you should eat high-calorie healthy foods. The most obvious is that they fill and keep you full longer, meaning you can cut down on calories throughout your day. Most are also rich in protein and fiber, which help regulate your blood sugar levels and keep hunger at bay. Many of these items provide nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, and E, plus minerals like iron and calcium—all important for good health.
Many of these high-calorie healthy foods are also rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which may help prevent diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Plus, they’re usually good sources of healthy fats. Research has shown that eating a diet high in healthy fats can help lower blood pressure, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and even protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
High-calorie healthy foods include avocados, olives, nuts, chia seeds, and coconut oil. Other healthy-foods include salmon, walnuts (omega-3 fatty acids), green tea (flavonoids), and dark chocolate (flavanols). Plus, they contain monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to have several health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease. This includes avocados, almonds, peanuts, and other tree nuts, as well as olive oil and canola oil—yes, you read that right—canola oil!
How to Add More High Calorie Healthy Foods
It can take creativity and planning to add more calories through wholesome foods without getting too full. Here are some easy tips:
- Cook grains, starches, and proteins in olive, coconut or avocado oil instead of cooking spray.
- Top salads, baked potatoes, oatmeal with nuts, seeds, cheese, avocado, olive oil, nut butters.
- Drink milk, juice or smoothies instead of water with meals.
- Snack on nuts, seeds, dried fruit, Greek yogurt.
- Make trail mix with nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit. Keep on hand for easy calories.
- Add extra proteins like eggs, cheese, beans to your favorite dishes.
- Bake sweet potatoes and squash in olive oil and sprinkle with nuts/seeds.
- Blend coconut milk or avocado into smoothies.
Some easy high calorie healthy meal ideas:
- Breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, avocado on whole grain toast
- Burrito bowl with rice, beans, meat, cheese, avocado
- Protein smoothie with milk, peanut butter, oats, banana
- Overnight oats topped with nuts, seeds, fruit, milk or yogurt
- Pasta with meat sauce, olive oil and parmesan cheese
- Tofu stir fry with brown rice and plenty of olive oil
Nutrition facts of high calorie healthy food
When we talk about healthy foods, we have to consider what they contain and how much they contribute to our daily energy intake.
The amount of calories consumed each day must be carefully considered because excessive caloric intake can lead to obesity, associated with many diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, nutritional advice should not be to provide information on the composition of a particular food, but rather to encourage us to consume a balanced diet according to our requirements.
Mangoes are among the best fruits available today due to their sweet flavor and nutritional value. It contains vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus. Its antioxidant content makes it beneficial for heart health and reduces cancer risk. According to the University of Illinois research, mangoes improve brain function and memory.
Avocados are another great fruit that provides many benefits for the human body. They are packed with monounsaturated fats, which help reduce cholesterol levels. Moreover, avocados contain fiber, folate, protein, B6, vitamin K, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin. The fat content of avocados is relatively lower compared to other fruits.
Salmon: Salmon is a highly nutritious fish. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Omega 3 fatty acids promote the growth and development of the brain and nervous system. It is also a vitamin D, calcium, iodine, selenium, phosphorous, zinc, and manganese.
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits around the world. They are low in calories and carbohydrates but high in dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. A banana comprises approximately 75% water, 8% sugar, 2% starch, 1% proteins, and 9% dietary fiber. Bananas contain potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and pantothenic acid.
Potassium plays a significant role in keeping blood pressure under control. Vitamin B6 promotes normal metabolism and keeps the nerves functioning properly. Folate reduces homocysteine levels, which may protect against heart attacks and strokes. Magnesium is essential for bone strength and proper nerve function. Copper is required for normal cell division. Iron helps build red blood cells and maintains hemoglobin levels. Zinc strengthens bones and teeth. Pantothenic acid aids the digestion process.
Eggs are a perfect source of protein, containing all nine amino acids. They are also very versatile; you can use them in any recipe or meal. Egg yolks are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which help maintain eye health. Egg whites are used in baking and making meringues. They also make a great substitute for cream cheese.
Turkey breast is leaner than chicken breasts yet still offers plenty of nutrients. One serving of turkey breast contains about 70 calories, 4 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, 0 grams of saturated fat, and 5 milligrams of sodium. It also has more iron and zinc than beef.
Broccoli is an excellent vegetable, especially when cooked. It is packed with vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. It also contains many phytochemicals such as indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, and glucoraphanin. Studies have shown that broccoli consumption lowers the risk of colon cancer.
Kale is a cabbage family member and one of the healthiest vegetables on earth. It is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamin A, C, K, A, B6, beta carotene, folate, vitamin B9, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, riboflavin, and choline. It’s also a good protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and potassium source.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable rich in antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin A, K, C, B6, folate, E, B2, beta carotene, and B1. It also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, zinc, and manganese.
Tomatoes are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant protecting your body from free radicals. Lycopene also prevents prostate cancer and other cancers. Tomatoes also have lots of fiber, vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium.
Salmon is a fatty fish that is full of omega-3 fats. Omega 3 fats are essential because they reduce inflammation throughout the body. The American Heart Association recommends eating salmon at least twice weekly to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Oats are a healthy grain that contains soluble and insoluble fiber. Fiber is vital for digestive health. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools, while soluble fiber absorbs cholesterol and bile acids, helping your body eliminate toxins. Oats also provide a lot of energy. One cup of oatmeal provides about 150 calories, 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbohydrate, and 10 grams of fat.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie rich in vitamin C, K, and B6. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin K, and folate. It is a good fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, zinc, copper, and potassium source.
Whole grains are fiber-rich and help keep you full for longer periods. They also contain many vitamins and minerals essential for good health. Whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat bread, oats, barley, and buckwheat. The fiber in these foods keeps you full for longer periods, preventing overeating later in the day.
Granola is a muesli or porridge made with various cereal grains and sometimes dried fruits, nuts, or seeds. It may also be eaten with milk or yogurt, or enjoyed as a snack food. “granola” is a North American creation coined by James Caleb Jackson in the 1870s at his Jackson Sanatorium in Dansville, New York. He served the dish to patients recovering from tuberculosis (TB). Jackson’s version contained rolled oats, sugar, and oil, with some containing other grains such as wheat and rye.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids that help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer. It also has natural mood-boosting compounds that can reduce anxiety and depression, according to an article published in “The Journal of Nutrition” by Dr. Cafer Hsu, associate professor of nutrition at Louisiana State University.
100 grams of dried fruit contains 85 calories, 1.6 grams of protein, 21.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.2 grams of fat.
Dried fruit is a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and iron. It also provides dietary fiber that helps prevent constipation and diverticulosis.
Nutrient-dense or calorie-dense foods lead to healthy weight gain.
The key to weight loss is not a fad diet. Eating the right amount of calories and nutrients will help you lose weight and keep it off.
Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, but low in calories. They include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
Calorie-dense foods are those that have a lot of calories but few nutrients. Examples include sugary drinks and processed foods like potato chips and cookies.
Both cases are high-calorie foods for weight gain.
The best way to lose weight is to choose nutrient-dense foods over calorie-dense ones. Those choices can help you feel full longer, so you’re satisfied with less food, which helps prevent overeating and weight gain.
Research shows that people who eat more nutrient-dense foods tend to weigh less than those who don’t. And some studies suggest that eating more nutrient-rich foods may help control appetite and reduce hunger cravings for calorie-dense foods.
High-calorie foods for weight gain
If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than you burn. This can be done by eating more food or foods with a higher calorie content.
Here’s a list of some high-calorie foods that can help you gain weight:
Meat is one of the best protein sources and contains many other nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and zinc. It is also high in calories; 100 grams of steak provides about 150 calories.
Fatty cuts of meat like prime rib roasts, rib-eye steaks, and T-bone steaks are especially good at providing calories and protein. Leaner cuts like chicken breast or pork chops can also be added to your diet to increase your calorie intake without adding too many extra grams of fat per serving.
Eggs are packed with nutrients like protein, vitamins A, D, and E, iron, calcium, and selenium, so they’re an excellent addition to any weight-gain diet. They provide about 75 calories per large egg. Egg whites have no cholesterol but only about 20 calories each, so if you prefer egg whites over whole eggs, then this may be an option for you when trying to gain weight.
What are some easy high calorie snacks?
Trail mix, yogurt with granola, apple with peanut butter, cheese and crackers, homemade protein balls.
How much weight can I gain eating 500 more calories daily?
Eating 500 more calories daily can result in gaining about 1 pound per week, or 4-5 pounds monthly.
What are high calorie protein foods?
Fatty fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, nut butters, protein powders with milk, cheeses.
How to gain muscle by increasing calories?
Eat enough protein, strength train, and eat a moderate 200-300 calorie surplus above maintenance needs.
What are high calorie fruits and vegetables?
Avocados, bananas, dried fruits, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, potatoes, Brussels sprouts.
As delicious as they may be, these fifteen high-calorie foods are far from the best choices for your diet. Leave them on the shelf if you want to slim down and get healthy. If you want to indulge occasionally, you should go for it. With a little self-control and moderation, healthy eating is a great goal to aspire to!
This article is for informational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Alex is a passionate fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. He encourages small – sustainable changes over drastic transformations and works with people to create customized wellness plans. His mission is to help others benefit from the most effective methods available, sharing tips, strategies, and health & fitness tools on Gearuptofit.com to inspire people to live their best lives.