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Healthy High Calorie Foods To Gain Weight

Hardgainers typically find it difficult getting enough calories to gain weight and build muscle. The secret to consuming enough calories is to choose calorie dense foods. You have to be eating lots of high calorie foods and beverages or you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Gaining weight doesn’t have to be a struggle if you are eating the right kind of calories. This can be changed if you begin to analyze your daily diet plan to include more calorie dense foods. Let me explain more about calorie density.

What are High Density or Calorie Dense Foods

High density foods are foods which (measure by volume) contain a high number of calories per serving. Calorie dense foods tend to be high in fat and/or sugar due to the fact that all proteins and all carbohydrates contain four calories per gram whilst all fats contain nine calories per gram. Moreover, some foods are more “calorie concentrated” then others as they contain less water content etc. Let me explain.

Visualize two kitchen measuring cups side by side (both the same size); one filled with chopped cucumber and one filled with raisins. Each cup now contains exactly the same VOLUME of food, right? But did you know that the cup of raisins has 37 times more calories? That’s right! The cup of cucumbers contains 14 calories, while the cup of raisins contains a whopping 520 calories. If cucumbers and raisins both have four calories per gram, then how could this be? The answer has to do with calorie density. The cucumbers have a lower calorie density because they have a higher fiber and water content. The calories in the raisins are more “concentrated”.

Typical calorie dense foods include things like fatty meats, salami, candy bars, rice crackers, cookies, potato chips, anything which is fried, cola, beer (although there is low calorie beers on the market nowadays) and ice-cream. These are all examples of high calorie foods and drinks because they are high in sugar and/or fat.

When making adjustments to your weight gain diet plan to include more calories, do so in a healthy manner. Don’t just look to be consuming more calories, look at the nutrition value of foods. Let me give an example. We all know fruits and vegetables and nutritionally very good for us.

Fibrous carbohydrates and vegetables such as lettuce, asparagus, cucumber, and broccoli are very low calorie foods. This is because these vegetables are high in fiber and your body has a hard time absorbing the caloric content of fiber. These types of vegetables also have a high water content.

So now let’s look at some “calorie dense” foods which will help pack on the pounds. Leave the vegetables in the pantry if you want to gain weight, and replace them with simple carbohydrates such as fruits which have a higher calorie density. This is because simple carbs are more concentrated and they contain less fiber. Fruit juice is even more concentrated then eating the fruit itself. Instead of having the one medium size orange, which contains about 60 calories, drinking a glass of orange juice will serve you better as it contains about 160 calories. Fruit and fruit juice therefore make a great addition to a weight gain program.

Complex carbohydrates (starches) such as whole grains, pasta, cereals, beans, potatoes and rice also have higher calorie densities than fibrous carbs. A typical serving of pasta contains about 800-1000 calories. Pasta and other complex carbs are great foods for gaining weight.

Now that you know what carbs to eat, let’s talk about fat. There is a common misconception that all fats are bad for you and they should be removed from your diet. This is untrue, there are good and bad fats. Fats have a major impact on the calorie content of foods, so they are an important consideration. Just keep in mind that fat should consist of about 15-25% of your total calories. You want to be getting most of you calories from carbohydrates and protein.

In small amounts, unsaturated, “healthy” fats are not only good for you, but they can help you gain weight more quickly. Just one tablespoon of flaxseed oil and two tablespoons of peanut butter would add nearly 500 calories to your daily diet and you’d hardly notice that any extra food was added.

In addition, you can supplement your healthy diet with protein supplements. It is often difficult to eat enough protein each day from normal foods, so supplementing with a weight gain supplement such as a soy or whey protein shake can help increase overall caloric intake. You want to make sure the weight gain supplement is a good mix of both protein and carbs and doesn’t contain too much sugar.

For example, a post workout shake containing 40 grams of protein, 80 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fat would provide almost 500 calories. If you wanted even more calories, you could mix the powder in juice instead of water and also add flaxseed oil.

So, let’s summarize your plan for quickly and easily adding more calories to your diet. Continue eating the same healthy foods, just eat more of them. Healthy high calorie snacks are a great way to increase calories. Replace low density foods with high density foods. You could eat salads all day until your face hurts, but it won’t do much good for weight gain. Eat plenty of starchy carbs including whole grains, pastas, rice, and potatoes. Don’t be afraid of adding some fat to your diet, just ensure it’s no more then 15-25% of your total calories. Some of the “good” fats will actually help you to gain weight. Most importantly – just because you need to eat more calories doesn’t give you permission to stuff yourself with unhealthy foods.

Here’s a List of Healthy Calorie Dense Foods:

  • All natural peanut butter, almonds, cashews & other nuts
  • Fruits, especially fruit juice & dried fruit
  • Whole grains, pastas, rice & high calorie breakfast cereals
  • Potatoes, yams
  • Dips & spreads
  • Beans & other legumes
  • Avocado
  • Dairy such as whole milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Oily fish such as salmon, tuna or fish oil supplements
  • Red meats
  • Cooked vegetables/meats/etc in olive oil

by David on July 14, 2008 · 311 comments

Filed under Diet & Nutrition

{ 311 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah November 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I’m 14 and I’m underweight, so far ive gained 5 pounds!!! nut butter has really helped! pasta is also amazing! with olive oil! perfect for weight gain :)

bryan26 November 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

it is such an inspiration to read some of your stories on how you all solve your body problems. i am really frustrated too on how i cud get to better shape. im somehow jealous on how you were able to buy and eat the food and medicines you eat. you are blessed to take all of that so gettin in shape wud be not that very hard for you. discipline and hardwork is enough to some of you. just think of others that cannot afford to eat at least 3 times,do not waste the food that you receive from our Father. i wish you all the best and m hoping to be like you someday gettin in a good diet and better shape. let us strive hard to reach our goals! :)

jesse russell March 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm

i’m 21 and just barely pass as average weight, i’m in great shape, but my metabolism is fast enough to out run sonic, so it makes it hard to gain weight, i’m going to the store to get the things on this list and can’t wait to get started, thank you for the information it’s always nice having an idea on where to start

Tatiana May 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Thank You so much! I can’t wait to try this out because all i really want to do is just gain some weight. I HATE being skinny it make me want to cry. My thighs don’t touch and it really bothers meeeee.

Doug May 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Hi, I have trouble swallowing all kinds of foods due to achelasia, what can I eat that will put on weight as i have lost a substantial amount.

Doug

lloydeth June 2, 2013 at 9:44 am

I am 31 years old and I am very skinny, I really hate being so skinny so I need to gain some weight and I really cant wait to try out these high calorie foods. thanks for the assistant.

amber ammon June 2, 2013 at 11:54 am

omg im so excited to try this im almost 16 years old and im only 90 puonds hope it works! :D
#crossed fingers

Justin June 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Hi guys, like all of you my story sounds the same;) I remember the days of wearing two tshirts at a time to try look bigger , Standing in the mirror and not out in the sun with mates, Even too scared of wearing shorts on the beach because my legs were like chicken legs. There is alot of help for people loseing weight but very hard to find help to gain it!. Reading the comments on this page makes me feel some what good to see so many people are in the same boat.
I have some good news:) ;
Because you are reading this means that you want to change (So you will).
There is no magic pill im afraid, it takes 1 thing and 1 thing only a (DIET PLAN).
For soo long i found it soo hard to eat right because i didnt have a (DIET PLAN).
Forget your healthy fruit and veg for a sec and think:
. Pasta
. Brown rice
. Advacardos
. Peanut butter
. Whole grain cereals
. Bananas
. Potatoes
. Kidney beans
. Baked beans
. Fruit juce
. Olive oil
. Nuts
: these are only some of the (many)high cal foods.
@ Eat 5 small meals a day
@ Eat a banana before bed
@ Drink lots of water
Most important injoy doing it ;) i did and im now very happy with my weight and size!
Any 1 whats some help with diet or training email me at: church2191@yahoo.co.uk.
All the best justin :)

Justin June 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Hi guys, like all of you my story sounds the same;) I remember the days of wearing two tshirts at a time to try look bigger , Standing in the mirror and not out in the sun with mates, Even too scared of wearing shorts on the beach because my legs were like chicken legs. There is alot of help for people loseing weight but very hard to find help to gain it!. Reading the comments on this page makes me feel some what good to see so many people are in the same boat.
I have some good news:) ;
Because you are reading this means that you want to change (So you will).
There is no magic pill im afraid, it takes 1 thing and 1 thing only a (DIET PLAN).
For soo long i found it soo hard to eat right because i didnt have a (DIET PLAN).
Forget your healthy fruit and veg for a sec and think:
. Pasta
. Brown rice
. Advacardos
. Peanut butter
. Whole grain cereals
. Bananas
. Potatoes
. Kidney beans
. Baked beans
. Fruit juce
. Olive oil
. Nuts
: these are only some of the (many)high cal foods.
@ Eat 5 small meals a day
@ Eat a banana before bed
@ Drink lots of water
Most important injoy doing it ;) i did and im now very happy with my weight and size!
Any 1 whats some help with diet or training email me at: church2191@yahoo.co.uk.
All the best justin :) ..

Erin July 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Easier said than done, especially when you have kids like i do. Always go go go. And then you forget to eat. This is very hard as i have a very high metabolism as well. I guess i need to try harder.

meg August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm

i’ve been eating these foods, but burn so many calories at work and can’t sit still -
i wasn’t counting calories and still losing weight – if average is 2k calories a day, to gain we need much more, which is very hard to consume when one gets full so easily or too busy to sit for meal 3times a day. good ideas in article. gonna try whey shakes and stick w/ foods posted here. thanks

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