A lot of people assume that high calorie foods are unhealthy and that it makes one overweight. However, that is a conclusion drawn on incomplete information.
Calories give the body the energy it requires to keep functioning. A common mistake is to confuse calories with unhealthy eating that comes from junk food. Consuming unnecessary amounts of calories from unhealthy food options consistently will harm the body. These unwanted calories do not contribute to a balanced diet or your healthy lifestyle.
A lot of factors can contribute to a person losing weight. Some of the factors are cancer, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, hyperthyroidism, or AIDS/HIV.
A good way to decide if a high-calorie diet is right for your body or not is to get a measure of your BMI index. If your BMI is underweight and a cause for concern, you could consider being on a high-calorie diet after consulting with your nutritionist. Usually, a BMI below 18.5% is considered underweight.
Health risks of being underweight
Being underweight is not trendy. It leads to a lot of health issues. Some of these health issues are fertility problems, osteoporosis, anaemia, hair thinning, and a weak immune system. Additionally, it can cause hypothermia, hypoglycaemia, slow and incomplete wound healing, poor sleep, lack of energy, and heart rhythm issues.
General principles around weight gain
The most important rule to gain weight and practically the only rule you need to keep in mind during your weight gain journey is to eat in a caloric surplus. Consume 300 to 500 more calories than your body burns every day if you wish to gain weight. Aim for a slow and consistent journey of weight gain. Putting on weight too quickly can be adverse for your body. Eat several times a day (five to six times) in small quantities. Make sure you cover your protein requirements in those meals. Consuming 500 calories more every day will result in you gaining a pound a week.
List of high calorie foods
Before we give you the list, we want you to have an idea of the food groups your body requires daily.
There are three food groups. They are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Proteins include beans, fish, eggs, meat, etc. Carbohydrates include potatoes, pasta, whole-grain bread, etc. Fats include cheese, nuts, olives, avocados.
Now let us move on to our list and give you the names of some specific high calorie foods.
1. Whole grains and carbohydrates
Carbohydrate and whole-grain foods help your body gain weight quickly. Some of the best whole grain foods include brown bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, and potatoes. One serving of potatoes gives you 145 calories. Similarly, one serving of brown rice gives you 171 calories. Since the food items mentioned above are complex carbohydrates, they contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
2. Red meat
Red meat like pork and beef has a lot of calories that can easily help you gain weight. A single serving of steak will give you 44 grams of protein and a total of 300 calories. However, keep in mind that red meat is not recommended by healthcare professionals for everyday consumption. This is because red meat is high in cholesterol and sodium. Therefore, consult your nutritionist before you include it in your everyday diet. Furthermore, red meat is high in fat content. In case you wish to only consume proteins then this is not a wise option.
Beans are a popular vegan option for proteins. A single serving of beans can give you 11 grams of protein with a total of 193 calories and only one gram of fat. Beans are a good substitute for red meat as they contain very little fat.
4. Healthy fats
Fats are of two kinds, healthy and unhealthy. Not all fats are bad fats. There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are healthy for the body, whereas saturated fats are not healthy options. Healthy or unsaturated fats help you to meet your daily caloric needs.
You can source healthy fats from plant-based food, omega 3, and olive oil. Consider using olive oil instead of butter for cooking as the former is a healthier option. One tablespoon of olive oil consists of 126 calories and only 2 grams of saturated fats.
Tips for gaining weight
- Eat small portions of food multiple times a day to keep you full.
- Keep your water consumption in check as drinking right before a meal can make you feel full. However, this does not mean that you do not consume adequate water.
- Consider adding high-calorie smoothies to your diet. This neat trick not only keeps you hydrated and feeling yum but also meets your calorie requirements quickly.
- Consider adding healthy toppings to your food such as nuts, seeds, cheese, etc. You can add hummus or avocado to your bread. Additionally, you can consider cooking your food in extra virgin olive oil for those extra calories.
- Add milk to your cereal to add more calories to your meal. In case you are lactose intolerant consider using lactose-free milk. You can consider adding milk for food other than your cereal as well. You can do this for desserts, soups, etc.
- Choose to consume high-fat meat such as turkey legs, or breaded chicken, salami, sausage, etc.
- Some vegan options you can use in your diet are soy, coconut, almond, or rice milk for lactose intolerance. Tofu, olives, avocados, nuts, and vegetable oils are other vegan-friendly quick ways to add calories.
- Some portable snack options are pudding, granola bars, yogurt, chia seeds, cottage cheese cups, etc.
- Protein supplements are a good option if you can’t seem to fulfill your protein requirements from your meals.
The high calorie foods mentioned above will help you gain weight if you follow your diet consistently. Remember to be patient on your weight gain journey and exercise. Consistency is the key and if you are consistent you will see rewards.