A calorie is simply the measure of energy. It provides people with energy and keeps their bodies functioning. That’s why it’s essential to keep a balance between the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned every day. The daily intake of calories depends on age, sex, metabolism, and physical activity levels, among others. The recommended intake is generally 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men.
High-calorie foods provide one with more energy and nutrition than low-calorie foods. There are a myriad of reasons why one would start consuming high-calorie foods. Someone with a medical condition or malnutrition should incorporate high-calorie food into their daily meal plans.
However, rather than selecting such foods randomly, it is good to take the advice of a nutritionist. A person with a weak constitution or a person recovering from an illness may also turn to high-calorie foods to re-energise themself.
Athletes like weightlifters may opt for high-calorie nutritious foods to build up their muscles or bulk up. Regular gym-goers may also include them to increase endurance.
Additionally, women may turn to high-calorie foods to achieve the beauty standard of being “fuller”. However, it is essential to note that just like everyone does not need a low-calorie diet, not everyone needs to eat many high-calorie foods. One needs to educate themselves on their body needs before jumping into a diet.
If possible, one should seek advice from a qualified nutritionist and learn about the consequences of consuming foods. They need to eat the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, calories, fats, vitamins and minerals that work for their body specifically.
High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain and Other Benefits
|Nutrient||Amount||% Daily Value (DV)|
|Carbohydrate||28.7 grams (g)||10%|
Rice is a calorie-dense carb source that will significantly aid someone on a weight gaining journey.
One cup of white rice contains around 200 calories, 44 grams of carbs and very little fat. It’s also a pocket-friendly and convenient high-calorie food source.
2. Potatoes and Starches
Nutrients in potato starch
Just 1 tablespoon (12 grams) of potato starch offers (Trusted Source):
- Calories: 40
- Carbs: 10 grams
Potatoes and other starchy foods like quinoa, oats, squash, winter root vegetables and others add calories and carbs to their diet. Studies have shown that potatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, iron and folate.
In addition, they increase your muscle glycogen stores that act as a fuel source for sports and other activities.
These starchy foods are a good source of nutrients and fibre. They also help nourish gut bacteria, thanks to their resistant starch content.
3. Whole Grain Bread
Wheat is mainly composed of carbs but also has moderate amounts of protein.
Here are the nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of whole-grain wheat flour (Trusted Source):
- Calories: 340
- Water: 11%
- Protein: 13.2 grams
- Carbs: 72 grams
- Sugar: 0.4 grams
- Fiber: 10.7 grams
- Fat: 2.5 grams
Whole grain bread is a good source of carbs and calories. They also contain vitamins, minerals and fibre, which provide their own unique set of advantages. Whole grain bread is even better than white bread since whole-grain flour still contains the germ and the bran.
In addition, whole grain makes it denser, and so, whole grain bread tends to have more good calories per serving. Therefore, to gain weight or build muscle, choosing whole-grain bread items with at least 3 grams of fibre per serving is essential to gain weight or build muscle.
Breaking down the Nutritional Elements in a Cup of Milk:
|Nutrients||Low-Fat Milk ||Fat-Free Milk ||Full-Fat Milk|
|Calories||102 ||86 ||146|
|Fats||2mg ||0mg ||8 mg|
|Cholesterol ||12mg ||5mg||24mg|
|Sodium ||107mg ||128mg ||98mg|
|Carbohydrates ||13mg ||12mg ||13mg|
|Sugar ||13mg ||12mg ||13mg|
|Proteins ||8mg ||8mg||8mg|
|Dietary ||0mg||0mg ||0mg|
It’s commonly known that milk is good for gaining weight and building muscle.
It’s a good source of protein, carbs, calcium, calories, fats, vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that children who drink the most milk gain the most weight. They also have excess energy after consumption.
5. Red Meats
Red meats like beef, lamb and pork are a great source of protein and calories.
They are also one of the best sources of dietary creatine, which is one of the best muscle-building supplements. However, if given a choice, choose fattier cuts of meat. They provide more calories and add weight.
6. Salmon and Oily Fish
Salmon and oily fish are also considered as good protein and healthy fat sources.
In addition, they’re a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood clots. They also help you build muscle and experience healthy weight gain.
Nuts are calorie-dense, and therefore, just a few handfuls per day can give you hundreds of calories and help you gain weight healthily. However, they also contain a good amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and healthy fats.
Tree nuts, specifically, are both calorie and nutrient-dense foods that are rich in bioactive compounds and healthy fatty acids.
8. Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are calorie-dense foods packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
In addition to nuts, studies show that when dried fruits feature prominently in a diet, they reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, they’re convenient to eat and have a naturally high sugar content which makes them great contributors to weight gain.
9. Dark Chocolate
According to the United States Department of AgricultureTrusted Source, a 101-gram (g) bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa solids provides:
- 604 calories
- 7.87 g of protein
- 43.06 g of fat
- 46.36 g of carbohydrates
- 11.00 g of dietary fiber
- 24.23 g of sugar
- 12.02 milligrams (mg) of iron
- 230.00 mg of magnesium
- 3.34 mg of zinc
Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has a high-calorie density. However, it also contains less sugar, more antioxidants, more micronutrients, more fibre and magnesium. In addition, it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and stress.
Egg Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one large hard-boiled hen’s egg (50g).
- Calories: 78
- Fat: 5g
- Sodium: 62mg
- Carbohydrates: 0.6g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0.5g
- Protein: 6g
- Choline: 147mg
Eggs are a good source of calories, proteins, healthy fats and vitamin D. They also generally contain a little bit of every micronutrient necessary for humans.
As a result, they’re incredibly beneficial for muscle-building and healthy weight gain. However, it’s also important to note that one must eat the whole egg for maximum nutritional value.
11. Healthy Cereals
Grain-based cereals are high in calories, antioxidants and fibre. Out of all the different healthy cereals, oats are the best choice.
Oats contain high amounts of protein, lipids, carbohydrates, phytochemicals, fibre, and phenolic compounds that can decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and celiac disease. Granola is another calorie-dense food rich in protein, micronutrients and fibre. It’s essentially a mixture of cereals, dried fruits and nuts.
12. Full-fat Dairy Products
Full-fat dairy products like certain cheeses and yoghurts are high in calories, calcium, protein and healthy fats.
They’re helpful for muscle development and healthy weight gain when eaten in the right quantities.
13. Home Made Protein Shakes
Protein is necessary when trying to gain weight. Therefore, your protein intake should also be high along with calories if you want to gain weight. Commercial protein and milkshakes are full of sugar and lack many nutrients.
On the other hand, homemade protein shakes have a more balanced nutrient profile. Homemade protein shakes are high in calories and protein.
Some examples of home-made protein shakes are:
Banana Milkshake – Take two bananas, one tablespoon of nut butter and 1 cup of full-fat yoghurt. Blend them, and your banana milkshake is ready.
Read more: 8 Proven Health Benefits of Banana
Berry Vanilla Shake – Take ½ cup berries, one scoop of vanilla flavoured whey protein and 1 cup full-fat yoghurt. Blend them, and your berry milkshake is ready.
Hazelnut Chocolate Shake – Take one tablespoon hazelnut butter, chocolate flavoured whey protein and 2 cups of full-fat milk. Blend them and enjoy the high-calorie delight.
Apple Shake – Blend a deseeded apple with 1 cup full-fat yoghurt and add one teaspoon brown sugar. Blend them, and your apple shake is ready.
14. High Calorie Fruits
These are fruits with little water content. These fruits are full of fructose (which is fruit sugar).
Generally, citrus fruits are full of water. Hence, they are not as calorie-dense as others. These fruits have fibre content, along with essential vitamins and minerals.
Some of the high-calorie fruits are:
15. Nut Butter
It is a form of butter derived from nuts like almonds, hazelnut, peanut, etc. They are calorie-dense and unsaturated fats. So, if you eat them in moderation, they can help you gain weight healthily.
16. Healthy Fats
All fats are not bad. Some of them are healthy. These fats are calorie-dense yet heart-friendly.
Examples of such fats are ghee, olive oil, flax seeds oil, almond oil, and coconut oil.
Seeds like flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc., are high in calories. In addition, they are rich in good unsaturated fats (PUFA and MUFA), which are calorie-dense.
Here’s the nutritional breakdown of 100-gram (3.5-ounce) servings of common cheeses.
That’s usually about a 1-inch cube of cheese.
|feta||soft||265||3.9 grams (g)||14.2 g||21.5 g||38% of the recommended daily value (DV)||50% of the DV|
|mozzarella (part-skim)||semisoft||296||4.4 g||23.7 g||20.4||53% of the DV||30% of the DV|
|Swiss||semi-firm||393||1.4 g||27 g||31 g||68% of the DV||8% of the DV|
|cheddar||firm||409||2.4 g||23.3 g||34g||54% of the DV||28% of the DV|
|Parmesan (grated)||hard||420||12.4 g||29.6 g||28 g||68% of the DV||76% of the DV|
|blue cheese||blue-veined||353||2.3 g||21.4 g||28.7 g||41% of the DV||50% of the DV|
|American||pasteurized||368||5.3 g||18 g||30.6 g||67% of the DV||72% of the DV|
Cheese is available globally and is something most of us love. It is generally made from full-fat milk.
Hence, it is rich in calories and fat. Consuming a moderate proportion of cheese every day can help in significant weight gain.
|Whole-Wheat Spaghetti||Refined/Enriched Spaghetti|
|Protein||7.5 grams||8.1 grams|
|Carbs||37 grams||43 grams|
|Fiber||6 grams||2.5 grams|
|Fat||0.8 grams||1.3 grams|
|Manganese||97% of the RDI||23% of the RDI|
|Selenium||52% of the RDI||53% of the RDI|
|Copper||12% of the RDI||7% of the RDI|
|Phosphorus||12% of the RDI||8% of the RDI|
|Magnesium||11% of the RDI||6% of the RDI|
|Thiamin (B1)||10% of the RDI||26% of the RDI|
|Folate (B9)||2% of the RDI||26% of the RDI|
|Niacin (B3)||5% of the RDI||12% of the RDI|
|Riboflavin (B2)||4% of the RDI||11% of the RDI|
|Iron||8% of the RDI||10% of the RDI|
Pasta is a pocket-friendly cereal-based food. It is available in various shapes, sizes and colours.
The various forms of pasta like white sauce, mixed sauce, pesto, alfredo sauce, and red sauce are all calorie-dense foods. You can eat them as a snack or a main dish.
|Total Lipids (Fat)||0.1 gm|
Fox nut or lotus seed, known as Makhana, is an incredible snack. It is dense in calories and tastes great when roasted in ghee.
It is a healthier substitute for popcorn as it is rich in nutrients.
High Calorie Indian Meal Plan
A high-calorie Indian meal plan is a meal plan that one can alter according to their food choices. Additionally, age, sex, calorie requirements and level of physical activity are parameters that one should keep in mind before starting one. This meal plan is to help people in their journey of gaining weight healthily.
Here is a sample of a 3000 calorie meal plan with food options to choose from:
- One glass of milk with bananas and a handful of almonds
- You can either have two paneer stuffed parathas with 1 cup of curd or two masala dosas with sambhar and chutney or two egg omelettes with two slices of whole wheat/multigrain bread.
A handful of groundnuts or dry fruit or roasted almonds with one glass of curd lassi
- One cup of rice with 1 cup of dal
- Two cups of some vegetable of your choice
- Non-vegetarians can substitute dal with chicken breast or fish.
- 1 cup tea or coffee with full-fat milk
- Nachni Chilla or Poha with peanuts
- Potato and peas or makhanas roasted with ghee
A handful of groundnuts or dry fruit with a handful of roasted almonds
- One bowl of chicken or mixed vegetable soup
- Two medium chapatis
- 2 cups of vegetables
- Chicken breast or a fish fillet for non-vegetarians
- Tofu or paneer, 1 cup dal, 1 cup rice, and mixed salad
One glass of milk with organic turmeric with two bananas
High Calorie Foods to Avoid
While looking for high-calorie foods, it is vital to distinguish between healthy foods and unhealthy foods. High-calorie foods to avoid:
- Processed foods like sausages, bacon salami and other cured and processed meats
- Fast food like burgers, pizzas, french fries and the likes
- Fried foods like onion rings, cheese sticks and so on
- packaged snacks like chips, biscuits, cookies, chewda, sev, etc
- Chocolates and other sweets
- Ice cream
- Soft drinks
People need to educate themselves on the consequences of their food choices and decide on a diet that works for their body specifically. It’s also essential to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy high-calorie foods and not just blindly eat everything. Eating a balanced meal is most important.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What can I eat to get 3000 calories a day?
A. To get 3000 calories a day, one should consume animal-based proteins, plant-based proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, nuts and healthy oils.
Q. What are the top 10 foods to gain weight?
A. The top 10 foods to gain weight include rice, milk, eggs, protein smoothies, red meats, salmon, healthy starches like quinoa, dried fruit, nuts and whole-grain bread.
Q. What food makes you gain the most weight?
A. Ice cream makes you gain the most weight. However, rice makes you gain the most weight in terms of healthy weight gain.
Q. What fruit is the highest in calories?
A. One single avocado can contain the highest calories (322 calories). However, they have 20 different vitamins and minerals, making them one of the best high-calorie options.
Q. How can I eat 3200 calories a day?
A. To eat 3200 calories a day, one should consume animal-based proteins, plant-based proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, nuts and healthy oils.
Q. What fruits are fattening?
A. Sweeter fruits like mangoes, bananas, grapes, pineapples, and watermelon high in fructose are fattening as the liver converts fructose into fat.
Q. How can a skinny person gain weight?
A. They can gain weight by consuming a high-calorie diet. However, for healthy weight gain, one should also exercise. In addition, mindless consumption of unhealthy, high-calorie food can be detrimental.
Q. What makes you fat quickly?
A. There is no shortcut to gaining weight quickly. Instead, eat healthy calorie-dense food to gain weight sustainably and healthily.
Q. What should I eat daily to gain weight?
A. Eating nutritionally rich, high-calorie food will help one gain weight.
Q. How can I gain weight without sugar?
A. Eating food items like milk, protein shakes, red meat, rice, whole grain bread and so on will help you gain weight without the help of sugar.
Q. What natural food has the highest calories?
A. Avocado has the highest calories (322 calories).
Q. Which vegetarian food contains high calories?
A. Quinoa, nuts, avocados, chickpeas, sweet potatoes and such are considered vegetarian high-calorie foods.
Q. Can you gain weight as a vegetarian?
A. Yes, you can gain weight as a vegetarian by sticking to a high-calorie diet.
Q. Which food gives high calories?
A. Animal-based proteins, plant-based proteins, fruits, grains, dairy products, nuts, and healthy oils contain high calories.