Excluding animal products from your diet makes it even more challenging to put on weight and can require you to make strategic food choices. There are plenty of nutritious vegan foods that can add extra calories to your diet needed for weight gain.
Below Are 11 High-Calorie Vegan Foods That Can Help You Gain Weight.
1. Nuts and Nut Butters
A daily handful or two of nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pecans can add enough calories to your diet to support healthy weight gain.
Nut butter, which is great in calories, is a fast and convenient option as well though you should opt for natural varieties free from added sugar or oils. Add nut butter to snacks, sides, or smoothies for a boost of protein and calories.
Avocados are renowned for their creamy taste and delicious, mild flavor. They also possess an effective nutrient profile and help develop healthy weight gain by providing plenty of heart-healthy fats and fiber.
Only one avocado boasts about 322 calories, 13.5 grams of fiber, and almost 30 grams of total fat. Avocados are also rich in a range of micronutrients, including folate, vitamin C, pantothenic acid, and potassium.
Adding half an avocado to your morning smoothie, spreading one on a slice of sprouted bread or cubing it to sprinkle on salads or omelets.
Quinoa is a healthy pseudo-grain packed with fiber, protein, and many other nutrients your body needs.
It’s also great in calories, as 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa holds about 222 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber.
Quinoa is one of the few whole plant-based sources of protein, meaning that it provides all nine essential amino acids. Your body is unable to produce these on its own and must obtain them from food. Quinoa also provides a good amount of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and folate.
It functions as a satisfying side dish and can be added to soups, stews, and salads for an easy way to squeeze in more calories.
Made from toasted and ground sesame seeds, tahini is a staple in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines that are high in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and calories. Just 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of tahini boasts 89 calories, 2.5 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of fat.
Incorporating a few tablespoons per day into your diet can effectively up your calorie intake and promote healthy weight gain.
Tahini has a paste-like consistency that’s similar to peanut butter.
It makes a great addition to wraps, sandwiches, and salads. It can also be made into a flavorful dip, stirred into soups, or blended into a creamy dressing and served over steamed veggies.
5. Olive Oil
Rich in good monounsaturated fats, olive oil is well known for its health-promoting properties. Monounsaturated fats have been revealed to boost levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, decrease blood triglycerides, and help increase blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Olive oil is also high in antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that prevent oxidative damage to your cells and reduce your risk of chronic disease.
With 119 calories and 13.5 grams of fat in a single tablespoon (14 grams), olive oil can also be a good way to add more calories to a meal. Drizzle it overcooked veggies, mix it into a salad dressing or add it to marinades to bring a burst of flavor and calories to your meals.
Dried fruit is a big way to get extra calories, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The exact nutritional content can vary based on the type of fruit, ranging from prunes, which have 209 calories in a half-cup (87 grams) — to raisins — which have 247 in a half-cup (83 grams).
Researches record that dried fruit is rich in fiber and antioxidants and supplies micronutrients that are 3–5 times more concentrated than in fresh fruit. More so, dried fruit is also high in natural sugars, it’s most desirable to combine it with a nutritious protein source to minimize the potential effects on your blood sugar.
Mix your choice of dried fruit with coconut yogurt or oatmeal for a high-calorie breakfast, or try it with nuts and seeds as a tasty trail mix. You can also add it to protein shakes.
Legumes, such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas, all pack a good amount of protein, fiber, and calories. Legumes are also generally high in important vitamins and minerals, including folate, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a popular starchy vegetable favored for their vibrant color, delicious flavor, and stellar nutrient profile. They’re high in calories and fiber, plus a number of vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
One cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potato holds 180 calories and 6.5 grams of fiber. A serving can also knock out your entire daily needs for vitamin A and give you ample vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6.
Vegan smoothies are a fast and handy way to get a concentrated dose of calories in a single serving. If you use a nutritious source of protein like vegan protein powder or soy yogurt, you can maximize the potential health benefits.
Consider adding drink your smoothie between or after meals instead of as a meal replacement to maximize your intake of calories and support weight gain.
Rice is a cost-effective, versatile, and calorie-dense carbohydrate that can promote gradual weight gain. It also provides a bit of extra protein and fiber, in addition to several important vitamins and minerals.
One cup (195 grams) of cooked brown rice gives 216 calories alongside 5 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and niacin.
Rice can also be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated for use for several days. While opinions vary on how long you can safely store rice, recommendations range from a few days to a week.
11. Coconut Oil
As it’s rich in calories, it can also help you gain weight. In fact, a 1-tablespoon (15-ml) serving of coconut oil packs 116 calories and 13.5 grams of fat.
Coconut oil is easy to use and can be swapped for most other fats and oils. It can also be mixed into smoothies or added to sauces and dressings.