In recent times, many people have turned vegan for planetary and health reasons. Vegan Lifestyle is the world’s most-followed practice. People find vegan ethically satisfying, but is it the same for physical health? It’s a common belief that vegan foods are not calorie dense.
This statement is partially correct because healthy vegan food mostly consists of plant-based produce like vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, non-dairy milk substitutes, and more. A vegan diet also loses out on calories due to dairy, meat, and poultry restrictions.
Therefore, many vegan weightlifters and bodybuilders who create their meal plan struggle to get calorie dense foods for their hardcore training. There are many high-calorie vegan foods that provide you with essential calories for whole-day energy. This article will enumerate all vegan weight gain foods along with some tips on how to gain weight on a vegan diet.
Are Vegan Foods Calorie Dense?
People perceive vegan food as only vegetables and fruits, but this is a half-baked story, unfair to the vegan lifestyle. Various high-calorie plant-based foods have as high calories as meat and eggs. There are plenty of vegan high-calorie food options that can help you achieve a healthy weight gain.
Some great high-calorie vegan foods are nuts, avocados, potatoes, and more. All vegan foods are not calorie dense; some are low-calorie as well. Deciding between high protein low-calorie vegan foods or high-calorie vegan foods depends on your dietary requirement and health goals.
7 Best High-Calorie Vegan Foods
Who said vegan food is underperforming when it comes to high-calorie intake or weight gain? This is a total misconception. Here is a list of the best high-calorie vegan foods that are healthy and nutritious:
Avocado is a plant-based superfood with high-calorie content. It is popularly known as “butter fruit” for its rich fat content and creaminess. Accoring to Harvard University, one medium avocado contains whopping 240 calories. Avocados are also a prominent source of micronutrients. It protects cardiovascular health by supplying friendly fats.
Avocado is a versatile fruit with a creamy mouth-feel and tender flavor. Avocados can be diced for salads, whipped up for creamy avocado toast, or blended to make a fulfilling morning smoothie. These high-calorie vegan meals will promote healthy weight gain and muscle growth.
2. Nuts and Nut butters
Nuts are one of the healthiest vegan food options on this planet. They are a storehouse of good fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. There are a variety of nuts in the market, including- walnuts, almonds, cashews, pinenuts, peanuts, Brazilian nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts.
They are perfect additions to your high-calorie vegan diet. However, eating too much of nuts can lead to digestive discomfort. It is recommended to have a handful of mixed nuts, or soak nuts in water overnight to make them easier to digest. Nuts are also processed as Nut butter. This nut butter can be flavoured as well. You can spread them on a toast or put a spoonful in your high-protein smoothies.
Tahini is a creamy paste made by blending sesame seeds. It has a nutty and mild flavour which goes well with Mediterranean and middle east flavors. Surprisingly Tahini has a high-calorie value. 100 g of Tahini boasts about 595 calories, which is pretty high even if you consume just a tablespoon of Tahini in a day.
Further, Tahini provides essential proteins and fiber for total nutrition. Tahini can be made at the home or brought from the store. A Homemade Tahini paste is more economical, and it’s very easy to make. Just blend some roasted hulled sesame seeds with a neutral-flavored oil in your food processor or blender. That’s it, you have your self-made tahini. Tahini tastes delicious as salad dressings, dips, falafel accompaniments, wrap sauce, and more.
However, it is important to note that tahini can go bad since it is a high fat food and when exposed to air for longer time can go rancid. So it’s important to keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and check it regularly for signs of spoilage.
One of the healthiest grains on the planet is oats. In addition to being a fantastic source of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, they are a gluten-free and calorie-dense vegan food.
Oats provide a well-balanced nutritional profile. 100 g of oats give more than 300 calories and a good percentage of protein and carbs for weight gain. They are a good source of fiber and carbohydrates, particularly the potent fiber beta-glucan. Additionally, they provide high-quality amino acids.
You can easily create a tasty sweet oatmeal recipe for your morning breakfast and the best part is you can sweeten your oatmeal without sugar with your favorite fruits and berries. Or else create a tasty vanilla oat milk Smoothie, pancakes, baked oats, oatmeal granola bars, and much more. Oats can be roasted and ground to make oat flour which can be utilized in tortilla making in place of regular flour.
The legume family includes edible seeds called lentils. They can be purchased both with and without their outer husks and are famous for their lens shape. It’s a culinary staple in nations like India, Turkey, Morocco, and Tunisia. Canada currently produces the most lentils.
Despite being a cheap option to obtain a wide range of nutrients, lentils are frequently disregarded. Legumes are great meat replacers since they contain more than 25% protein. Hence they help you gain weight and promote lean muscle building. They are also an excellent source of iron, a mineral that is rare in plant sources.
However, eating lentils can also cause gas due to their high fiber content and certain types of carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. To reduce gas and bloating it’s recommended to soak lentils before cooking, rinse them after soaking, cook them thoroughly, and consume them in moderation.
So next, you see lentils. Don’t hesitate to include them on your list of high-calorie plant foods! Put lentils on your menu:
- Create lentil “meat” burgers.
- You can mix cooked lentils with fruits or add them to fresh salads
- Make a wholesome lentil soup.
- Toast with eggs and lentils.
6. Soy milk
Soy milk is among popular substitutes for regular dairy milk for vegans. It has unsaturated fat, which reduces LDL cholesterol. Soy milk has around 8 g of protein and 110 calories per cup which helps in weight gain.
It provides the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids to the heart and muscles. Soy milk can be used for making coffee, milkshakes, soups, smoothies, and desserts, or you can drink it directly with some oatmeal cookies.
7. Olive oil
Oils are naturally high in calories and have a touch of health. Olive oil (check vegan status) is sourced from pulpy fresh and aromatic green olives.
It has healthy monounsaturated fats to safeguard the cardiovascular system and decrease bad cholesterol. One tablespoon of olive oil has approximately 119 calories.
Olive oil has numerous health benefits it controls blood sugar levels, prevents and repair cell damage, help to reduce inflammation in the body, and many more. You can use olive oil to cook pasta in salad dressings or stir-fry vegetables in it for a wholesome, high calorie-vegan meal.
Nutritional Value Of Best High-Calorie Vegan Foods
|Calories (kcal)||Fat (g)||Protein (g)||Carbs (g)||Fiber (g)|
(1 whole medium size)
|Walnut (100 g)||654||65||15||14||7|
|Almond (100 g)||549||49.93||21.15||21.5||12.5|
|Cashews (100 g)||553||44||18||30||3.3|
|Tahini (100 g)||595||54||17||21||9|
|Oats (100 g)||389||6.9||16.89||66.2||10.6|
|Lentils (100 g)||116||0.4||9||20||8|
|Soy Milk (1 cup)||131||4.3||8||15||1.5|
|Olive Oil (1 tbsp)||119||4||0||0||0|
Tips And Tricks On Gaining Weight On A Vegan Diet
1. Increase Calorie Density
You need to include vegan calorie-dense foods in your diet. Every day your body burns some amount of calories for the maintenance of the body. If your daily calorie intake exceeds this burn, you will experience low mass growth.
Hence, you need to increase the quantity of high-calorie vegan foods like nuts, avocados, and tahini in your routine. Make sure at least two of your meals have one high-calorie vegan food.
2. Make Weight Gainer Smoothies
Making smoothies is the best way to include all those vegan foods which you may not consume otherwise. It gives you the flexibility to pair up fruits, oats, flavors, syrups, and non-dairy milk, and let’s admit; they are tastier and easier to consume.
The variations are endless. So why not make a high-calorie weight gain vegan smoothie? Just throw in some nuts or nut butter and blend with vegan weight gainer supplement along with your favorite berries and fruits. There you have a perfect weight gainer smoothie.
3. Eat Plenty of Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are mostly present in pasta, white bread, white rice, tortillas, noodles, and other white flour foods. These foods have high calories, which help you gain weight. They increase the calorie density in the body by putting down fiber and water content.
That said, it does not mean you overindulge in unhealthy carbs in form of cakes, pizza, burgers, and more. Pasta and bread are relatively healthier and can substitute whole grains for gaining more weight on a vegan diet.
4. Avoid Low-Calorie-Dense Foods
Low-calorie dense food may provide satiation, but it can keep you underweight if you are not mindful of their calorie content. You may feel stuffed after eating low-calorie vegan meals, but if you count your calories, they might be lower than the requirements.
For weight gain, it is important that you ditch low-calorie-dense foods and start incorporating high-calorie plant-based foods into your diet.
Underweight issues and gaining muscle as a vegan ectomorph are two of the many challenges of a vegan diet. Most direct plant staples are low in calories, which is good for weight loss. But, for healthy weight gain, various high-calorie vegan food options exist. The important thing to remember is that nowhere you must compromise health and nutrition.
If we just see high calories, then French fries are the most calories, but they aren’t nutritious and even contain unhealthy fats that encourage bad cholesterol. So, it all comes down to what you choose for yourself.
For bodybuilding purposes and weight gain, stick to our list of high-calorie vegan foods. Along with consumption, a workout also goes hand in hand with complete results.