50 High-Calorie Foods To Help You Gain Weight

For many underweight people, gaining weight can be just as difficult as losing weight is for others. Being underweight can be detrimental to your health. Thankfully, adjusting your diet and adding in more high-calorie foods can help boost your weight gain efforts through additional calories and nutrients.

This article will provide 50 examples of healthy, high-calorie foods to incorporate if you need to gain weight. We’ll cover the best options in major food groups like meats, dairy, grains, fats, veggies and more. These energy-dense foods allow you to consume more calories without having to eat enormous volumes of food.

While you don’t want to rely solely on unhealthy, fatty and sugary junk foods, adding sensible portions of more calorie-laden choices into your regular diet can help facilitate safe, gradual weight gain when paired with strength training. Read on for 50 great ideas!

Meat & Protein Foods

1. Fatty fish – Salmon, mackerel, trout and herring provide healthy fats. About 200 calories and 10g fat per 3oz cooked serving.

2. Steak – A lean yet tender cut like sirloin provides 150 calories and 7g fat per 3oz. More marbled cuts like ribeye are even higher in fat and calories. 

3. Ground beef – Choose at least 80% lean. A 3oz cooked serving provides 150 calories and 9g fat. Works well in chili, tacos, meatloaf, burgers.

4. Chicken thighs – Much higher in fat than chicken breast at around 125 calories and 5g fat per 3oz cooked. More flavor as well.

5. Lamb – Has a bold, rich taste and provides 170 calories and 10g fat per 3oz portion. Try roasted, braised or curried.

6. Pork chops – A lean 3oz portion still has 140 calories and 5g fat. Also very versatile – grill, pan fry, bake or braise. 

7. Bacon – Just 2 cooked slices offers 90 calories and 7g fat. Add crumbled bacon to salads, omelets, baked potatoes. 

8. Sausages – Opt for chicken apple sausage or meaty varieties like kielbasa. 1 link has 80-140 calories and up to 8g fat.

9. Salami – Packed with flavor and calories at around 80 calories and 7g fat per ounce. Enjoy on sandwiches or antipasto platters.

10. Pepperoni – Top pizzas or eat crispy slices as a snack. About 80 calories and 6g of fat per ounce.

Dairy Foods

11. Whole milk – 150 calories and 8g fat per cup compared to just 80 calories and 2.5g fat for nonfat milk. Use for smoothies.  

12. Full fat yogurt – Try Greek yogurt for an especially creamy, rich texture and about 60 calories more than nonfat per 6oz serving. 

13. Soft cheeses – Varieties like brie, camembert and gouda offer 100 calories and 9g fat per ounce. 

14. Cream cheese – Whip into dips, spread on bagels, or enjoy cheesecake. 100 calories and 10g fat per ounce.

15. Cottage cheese – Packs over 220 calories and 12g protein into just half a cup cooked serving.

16. Hard cheeses – Cheddar, parmesan, swiss or gouda provide about 115 calories and 9g fat per ounce.

17. Heavy whipping cream – 350 calories and a whopping 36g fat per half cup! Use for cream sauces or whipped cream.

18. Sour cream – Great for finishing tacos, baked potatoes and more for a dose of fat. One tablespoon has around 30 calories and 3g fat.

19. Creamy salad dressings – Varieties like ranch, blue cheese and Caesar pack about 80 calories and 9g fat per 2-tablespoon serving.  

20. Full fat coconut milk – Very dense and creamy with 50 calories and 5g fat per tablespoon of canned milk. Use in curries.

Grain Foods 

21. Granola – Opt for homemade over pre-made to control sugar content. Almonds, coconut flakes and dried fruit boost calories.

22. Cereal – Even “healthy” varieties can provide up to 150 calories a cup. Add whole milk for extra calories.

23. Rice – Stick to more nutritious brown rice. One cooked cup offers approximately 215 calories.

24. Quinoa – Protein-packed whole grain with 222 calories per cooked cup. Toss into salads or pair with meats.

25. Pasta – Opt for whole grain varieties and top generously with meat sauces, cheese or olive oil. 

26. Baguette – A 3-ounce piece of this traditional French bread has 150 calories. Great for sandwiches or dipping in oil.

27. Wheat bread – Even sprouted whole grain varieties still offer 90-100 calories a slice compared to just 15-20 for white.

28. Potatoes – Each 5.3oz russet baked potato with skin provides roughly 230 calories. Top with cheese or chili!

29. Sweet potatoes – These healthy tubers have 180 calories and 4g fiber in an average baked sweet potato with skin.

30. Crackers – Look for hearty whole grain crackers with 130 calories and 5g fat per serving like AkMak.

Fruits, Nuts & Seeds

31. Dried fruits – Remove moisture to concentrate calories. Dried mango, cherries, cranberries, apricots are all great sources.

32. Avocados – Nutrient dense with 160 calories and 15g fat in just half an avocado. Mash into guacamole or add to sandwiches.

33. Bananas – A medium banana still offers 110 calories. Leave spots on peel for optimal ripeness.

34. Grapes – Benefit from calories in natural sugar plus they’re easy to pop constantly. Around 100 calories per cup.

35. Apples – Try slightly mealier varieties like Honeycrisp or Gala that clock in around 130 calories for a whole fruit.

36. Dates – Extremely sweet and energy dense, with 66 calories in a single Medjool date. Snack on a handful.

37. Raisins – Dehydrating grapes produces little fiber nuggets with 115 calories per quarter cup. Add them to cereal, baked goods and salads.

38. Almonds – High in healthy fats, protein and calories – around 170 per ounce. Keep a bag handy for easy snacking.

39. Peanut butter – Loaded with 190 calories and 16g fat in just 2 tablespoons. Spread on apples or toast for an easy snack.  

40. Pistachios – Their high fat content provides 160 calories an ounce. Shelling them helps slow your snacking.

Oils & Sauces

41. Olive oil – A calorie-dense cooking oil with 120 per tablespoon. Use for sautéing, dressings, marinades.

42. Coconut oil – 130 calories of mostly saturated fat per tablespoon offering a tropical, buttery flavor. Use for popping popcorn.

43. Butter – A tablespoon contains 100 calories – great for spreading on toast, corn, sweet potatoes or even melting over steamed veggies.

44. Creamy salad dressings – Brands like ranch, blue cheese and Caesar deliver almost 80 calories and 8g of fat per 2-tablespoon serving.

45. Mayonnaise – With 90 calories and 10g of fat in just one tablespoon, this classic condiment packs a caloric punch. Slather on sandwiches.

46. Nut butters – Look for varieties with at least 180 calories and 16g fat per 2-tablespoon serving for an optimal calorie boost.

47. Guacamole – The healthy fats from avocados equate to at least 130 calories in a typical 2-tablespoon serving of this Mexican classic dip. 

48. Hummus – Blending fiber-rich beans with olive oil produces a protein-packed dip with about 80 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. 

49. Pesto – This flavorful sauce made from basil, parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil provides 85 calories a tablespoon. Toss with pasta or use as a sandwich spread.

50. Soy sauce – Just a tablespoon of this salty Asian condiment contains about 15 calories – use liberally in stir fries, with rice, or when making sauce-based dishes.  


If you are severely underweight and looking to gain, ensuring you consume enough calories each day from energy-dense foods is the first step. Foods high in healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds offer a very compact form of calories compared to low-fat choices.

On top of calorie-loaded additions like oils, dips, dried fruit and whole-fat dairy, continue to emphasize protein at each meal from foods like meats, fish, eggs and beans. Opt for whole grains over refined varieties as well.

However, also be sure not to under-eat on produce like fruits and vegetables in an attempt to drive up calories. A balanced diet is key – simply integrate more high-calorie choices throughout your eating plan. Combined with strength training, gradually increasing your daily calories facilitates safe, sustainable weight gain.

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