The 10 Best Healthy High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain

The 10 Best Healthy High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain

Calories are the basic unit of energy found in all foods and are necessary to maintain the body's vital functions or basal metabolic rate. The amount of calories a person needs depends on factors like their age, gender, and lean muscle mass.

Eating too few calories for a prolonged period of time causes a person to become underweight (per the BMI) leading to muscle atrophy, weakened immunity, and eventually, organ failure. Conversely, eating too many calories causes a person to become overweight and obese, increasing their chances of heart disease, type II diabetes, and cancer.

People looking to gain weight in the form of lean muscle mass can aim to eat around 3000 calories per day depending on how many strength building exercises they are doing.

Healthy high-calorie foods include granola, meats, tofu, fish, avocados, milk, beans, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and nuts. In general, the daily value (%DV) for calories is 2000 calories per day, but people active with strength training or other exercises may want to consume more.

Below is a list of the top 10 high calorie foods ranked by common serving size, if you are looking to lose weight, see the list on unhealthy high calorie foods to avoid. If you are looking to gain weight, see the sections on calorie rich foods recommended for weight gain, select meal portions for eating more calories, and the article on high calorie weight gain meal plans.


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List of Healthy High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain

A bowl granola 1 Homemade Granola
  • 597 calories per cup
  • 489 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Note: Be sure to check that the amount of sugar is not too high in your granola. To make it a healthy high-calorie breakfast add nuts and seeds, a few dried fruits, and consume it with milk or milk substitutes.
See all cereals high in calories.

Nutrition Facts for Granola Homemade.
A Roast Chicken 2 Meats (Chicken Leg)
  • 475 calories per roasted leg (thigh and leg)
  • 184 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Meats High in Calories

Try to choose lean cuts.
-369 calories in 1 cup of roast ham
-360 calories in a 6oz of beef pot roast
-332 calories in a 6oz lean pork chop
-268 calories in a 5oz chuck steak
-231 calories in a 1 cup of diced chicken breast
See the full list of high calorie meats.

Nutrition Facts for Roasted Chicken Leg.
A block of tofu 3 Firm Tofu
  • 363 calories per cup
  • 144 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Soy Products High in Calories

-376 calories in 1 cup of green soybeans
-369 calories in 1 cup of tempeh
-160 calories in a 16 oz glass of soymilk

Nutrition Facts for Firm Tofu (Raw).
Salmon Fillets 4 Fish (Salmon)
  • 350 calories per 6oz fillet
  • 206 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Fish High in Calories

-445 calories in 6oz of Atlantic Mackerel
-313 calories in 6oz of tuna
-310 calories in 1 cup of canned sardines
See the full list of fish high in calories.

Nutrition Facts for Farmed Atlantic Salmon.
Half an avocado 5 Avocados
  • 322 calories per avocado
  • 160 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Other fruits high in calories include plantains, bananas, and guavas. Dried fruit and fruit juices are also very high in calories, but be careful about the sugar content!
See the complete list of over 100 fruits high in calories.

Nutrition Facts for Avocados.
A glass of milk 6 Dairy Foods (Milk)
  • 298 calories per cup
  • 61 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Dairy Foods High in Calories

-216 calories in 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
-149 calories in 1 cup of plain yogurt
-119 calories in 1 ounce of grated parmesan
See all dairy foods high in calories.

Nutrition Facts for Whole Milk.
Chickpeas 7 Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • 269 calories per cup
  • 164 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Beans High in Calories

-255 calories in 1 cup of navy beans
-254 calories in 1 cup of white beans
-245 calories in 1 cup of pinto beans
See all beans and lentis high in protein.

Nutrition Facts for Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) (Cooked).
Sweet Potatoes 8 Sweet Potatoes
  • 258 calories per cup mashed
  • 101 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Vegetables High in Calories

-161 calories in a medium baked potato
-134 calories in a cup of green peas
See the full ranking of high calorie vegetables.

Nutrition Facts for Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
Brown Rice 9 Whole Grains (Brown Rice)
  • 248 calories per cup
  • 123 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Whole Grains High in Calories

-222 calories in 1 cup of quinoa
-174 calories in 1 cup of whole wheat pasta
-166 calories in 1 cup of oatmeal
See all high calorie grains.

Nutrition Facts for Cooked Long-Grain Brown Rice.
Macadamia Nuts 10 Nuts (Macadamia Nuts)
  • 204 calories per oz
  • 718 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Nuts High in Calories

-196 calories per oz of pecans
-196 calories per oz of pecans
-191 calories per oz of pine nuts
-187 calories per oz of dried coconut
See the list of nuts high in calories.

Nutrition Facts for Macadamia Nuts.

See All 200 Foods High in Calories

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Tips for Gaining Weight

Further Reading

High Calorie Lunch Book CoverBuilding Lean Muscle Book CoverScawny to Brawny Book Cover

Calorie Rich Foods Recommended for Weight Gain

In addition to nuts and seeds, peanut butter, and dark chocolate, here are more high calorie foods recommended for gaining weight.
Sesame Butter (Tahini)595 calories per 100 gram serving167 calories per ounce (28 grams)89 calories in a fluid ounce (15 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sesame Butter (Tahini)
Whole Wheat Crackers443 calories per 100 gram serving416 calories per cup (ground) (94 grams)18 calories per cracker (4 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Whole Wheat Crackers
Raisins299 calories per 100 gram serving434 calories per cup (145 grams)78 calories in 50 raisins (26 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Seedless Raisins
Dates282 calories per 100 gram serving415 calories per cup chopped (147 grams)20 calories in one date (7 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dates (Deglet Noor)
Whole Wheat Bread266 calories per 100 gram serving133 calories in 2 slices (50 grams)67 calories per slice (25 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Whole Wheat Bread
Dried Apricots241 calories per 100 gram serving313 calories per cup (130 grams)10 calories in one dried apricot (4 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Apricots
Coconut Milk230 calories per 100 gram serving1104 calories in 2 cups (480 grams)552 calories per cup (240 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Coconut Milk
Oatmeal / Oats (Cooked)71 calories per 100 gram serving332 calories in 2 cups (468 grams)166 calories per cup (234 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Oatmeal (Cooked)
Grape Juice (100% Juice)61 calories per 100 gram serving308 calories per glass (16oz) (2 cups) (506 grams)154 calories per cup (8oz) (253 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Grape Juice
Pineapple Juice (100% Juice)53 calories per 100 gram serving266 calories per glass (16oz) (2 cups) (500 grams)133 calories per cup (8oz) (250 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Pineapple Juice
Apple Juice (100% Juice)47 calories per 100 gram serving234 calories per glass (16oz) (2 cups) (496 grams)117 calories per cup (8oz) (248 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Apple Juice
Orange Juice (100% Juice)45 calories per 100 gram serving224 calories per glass (16oz) (2 cups) (496 grams)112 calories per cup (8oz) (248 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Orange Juice

Select Meal Portions for Eating More Calories

  • 1/2 Cup of Macadamia Nuts: 474 calories
  • 1/2 Cup of Almonds: 411 calories
  • 1 Glass of Grape Juice (16oz): 308 calories
  • 2 Whole Wheat Crackers with a 1 ounce slice of Cheese on each: 262 calories
  • 2 Whole Wheat Crackers with 1 tblsp of Peanut Butter on each: 224 calories
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice (Cooked): 218 calories
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice (Cooked) with 2 tblsp of Olive Oil: 466 calories
  • 1 Cup Oatmeal (Cooked): 166 calories
  • 1 Cup Oatmeal with 1/4 Cup Raisins and 1/4 Cup Almonds: 480 calories
  • 1 Square of Dark Chocolate (29g): 145 calories
  • 1/2 Cup of Dates: 208 calories
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Apricots: 156 calories

Unhealthy High Calorie Foods to Avoid

#1: Hydrogenated Fats (Shortenings & Margarines) 884 calories per 100 grams115 calories per tablespoon (13 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Hydrogenated Fats
#2: Ready-Made Salad Dressings (Caesar) 542 calories per 100 grams81 calories per tablespoon (15 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Ready-Made Salad Dressings
#3: Mayonnaise 680 calories per 100 grams95 calories per tablespoon (14 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Mayonnaise
#4: Candies (Hershey's Almond Bar) 577 calories per 100 grams450 calories per bar (78 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Candies
#5: Snacks (Potato Chips/Crisps) 560 calories per 100 grams157 calories per ounce (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Snacks
#6: Pastry & Pie Crusts (Puff Pastry) 558 calories per 100 grams1367 calories per sheet (245 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Pastry & Pie Crusts
#7: Cookies (Peanut Butter with Chocolate Coating) 558 calories per 100 grams140 calories per 2 cookies (25 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cookies
#8: Processed Meats (Pepperoni) 494 calories per 100 grams138 calories per ounce (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Processed Meats
#9: Processed and Hard Cheese (American Processed Cheese) 310 calories per 100 grams65 calories per slice (21 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Processed and Hard Cheese
#10: Fast & Fried Foods (Fried Chicken) 464 calories per 100 grams394 calories per 3oz (85 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Fast & Fried Foods
#11: Sauces & Gravy (Instant Gravy) 380 calories per 100 grams27 calories per serving (7 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sauces & Gravy

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.