High Calorie Foods For Weight Gain


High Calorie Foods For Weight Gain

Finding high calorie foods for weight gain is pretty simple when you have the right tools. There are a ton of apps out there which can help, but I would go with Bodybuilding.com’s Calorie Counter because it is free to use and has a wealth of information. You’ll be able to search for food by type and other different parameters, or you can just browse through the categories of food that they have set up to help you find what you are looking for. I learned some stuff on this site so it’s pretty interesting even if you’re not looking to gain weight.

One of the most common issues that women face today is weight gain. Most women who put on weight face a lot of mental turmoil and eventually view themselves as unattractive. Weight gain is more prominent for women, as we are more concerned about our body image and want to lose weight quickly. There are different reasons for which people gain weight, such as imbalanced diets, lack of exercise, and hormonal issues.

Why Calorie Dense Foods?

When we are young, a lot of health messaging that we are shown is focused on weight loss. As we age, however, weight loss can become dangerous. Even though someone might lose fat mass as they lose weight, they’re also probably losing muscle mass at the same time.

Loss of muscle mass in the elderly is associated with increased mortality, decreased independency, and reduced quality of life (1).

Calorie Dense Foods for Gaining Weight

There are a number of reasons that an older adult might start to lose weight. Changes in oral health status and appetite loss are two possible reasons.

These can be counteracted by introducing calorie dense foods and certain behavioral changes.

Calorie Dense Foods vs. Nutrient Dense Foods

All foods can be compared in two ways. First is calorie density, which means that a little bit of food has a lot of calories. For example, foods high in simple sugars or fats, like a donut, are considered calorie dense (high calorie).

The other way that you can compare foods is by nutrient density, which means that a little bit of food has a lot of nutritional value.

Most green leafy vegetables like spinach can be good examples of nutrient density, because they have a lot of value in their vitamins and minerals. But they don’t have a lot of calories.

Calorie Density vs Nutrient Density

Balancing Calories and Nutrients

Getting enough calories is important when trying to gain weight, but so is getting the right nutrients for health. There is still a risk of malnutrition even when you are getting enough calories because you might not be getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.

In geriatric nutrition, it is important to find a good balance between calorie dense foods and nutrient dense foods.

It would be easy to keep weight on if all we had to do was eat cookies and cakes, but without proper protein, vitamins, and minerals, it would be impossible to stay healthy, despite the lack of weight loss.

Empty Calories and How to Use Them

Foods that are very calorie dense, but not very nutrient dense, like sodas, candies, or fats and oils, are called empty calories.

Empty calories can be useful if you know that you’ve been getting enough nutrition, but you need to increase your calorie count to avoid weight loss.

Be wary, though, of relying on too many empty calories. Excess dietary sugars, fats, and sodium, all of which can be regularly found in many common, empty calorie foods will still increase risk for developing or exacerbating chronic conditions.

Instead, focus on calorie dense foods that also offer nutrient density as well.

Gaining Weight and Increasing Lean Mass

When trying to gain weight, it is ideal to increase lean body mass as opposed to fat mass. Lean body mass includes muscles, as well as bones, organs, and water. Essentially everything in the body that isn’t fat is lean mass.

It is important for the geriatric population to focus on muscle mass and bone health. Bones serve as the anchors for muscles to work, and both are vital to performing the activities of daily living that can keep quality of life high.

The Importance of Protein

For the general, healthy adult population, the recommended intake of protein is about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (g/kg/day). For the elderly, however, this recommended intake increases to anywhere from 1.2 to 2.0 g/kg/day (2).

The reason for the increased protein needs in the elderly population has to do with decreased metabolic processes in the body related to muscle growth.

Without the added protein intake, muscle wouldn’t grow as fast as it was being broken down, and that would result in a loss of function

High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain and Other Benefits

High-calorie Foods for Weight Gain and Other Benefits

1. Rice


NutrientAmount% Daily Value (DV)
Carbohydrate28.7 grams (g)10%
Protein2.36 g5%
Fat0.19 g0%

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

  • 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

Nutrition facts

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

  • 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.

4. Milk

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. 

7. Nuts

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 

Nutritional information

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. 

10. Eggs

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. 

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