Top 10 Foods Highest in Calories

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
Powered by USDA Nutrition Data
Top 10 Foods Highest in Calories

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 section on select meal portions for eating more calories, and the article on high calorie weight gain meal plans.


List of Healthy High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain

A bowl granola

#1: Homemade Granola

Calories per CupCalories per 100g
597 calories489 calories
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.
A Roast Chicken

#2: Meats (Chicken Leg)

Calories per Roasted Leg (Thigh And Leg)Calories per 100g
475 calories184 calories

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.
A block of tofu

#3: Firm Tofu

Calories per CupCalories per 100g
363 calories144 calories

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
Salmon Fillets

#4: Fish (Salmon)

Calories per 6oz FilletCalories per 100g
350 calories206 calories

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.
Half an avocado

#5: Avocados

Calories per AvocadoCalories per 100g
322 calories160 calories
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.
A glass of milk

#6: Dairy Foods (Milk)

Calories per CupCalories per 100g
298 calories61 calories

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.
Chickpeas

#7: Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Calories per CupCalories per 100g
269 calories164 calories

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 lentils high in protein.
Sweet Potatoes

#8: Sweet Potatoes

Calories per Cup MashedCalories per 100g
258 calories101 calories

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.
Brown Rice

#9: Whole Grains (Brown Rice)

Calories per CupCalories per 100g
248 calories123 calories

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.
Macadamia Nuts

#10: Nuts (Macadamia Nuts)

Calories per OzCalories per 100g
204 calories718 calories

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.

See All 200 Foods High in Calories

Tips for Gaining Weight

  • Add high calorie foods to existing dishes - Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit make a great addition to salads, rices dishes,pasta dishes, etc...
  • Add healthy fats and oils to existing dishes - Add olive oil, peanut oil, or safflower oil to as many foods as possible. I.E.: rice, sandwiches, salads...
  • Increase portion sizes - Create larger meals of calorie dense foods like rice, mashed potatoes, and pasta.
  • Drink Calories - Drinks are an easy way to intake calories on the go. Drink juice, soy milk, milk, smoothies, and other healthy high calorie beverages.
  • Do Muscle Building (Anarobic) Exercises - Muscle building exercises increase appetite and also increase weight as your body builds muscle. This is especially true when combined with high protein foods like nuts, peanut butter, fish, or beans.
  • Track your progress and set goals - Setting goals and targets is important to any achievement. Set healthy weight gain targets each month. No more than 10lbs (~5kg) a month is reasonable. Keep track of your weight gain in regards to the Body Mass Index (BMI) and be sure you do not go over into an unhealthy weight range.

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

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Data Sources and References

  1. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central

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