There’s a common misconception that high-calorie foods are always bad for consumers’ health. In reality, eating high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods can be beneficial, especially for those who are looking to put on weight or build muscle mass.
Consumers trying to lose weight shouldn’t avoid all high-calorie foods, either. Instead, they should choose healthy foods with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and eat them in moderation. Read on to find out about five of the most popular high-calorie foods for improving nutrient intake and gaining weight the healthy way.
Many consumers assume that because quinoa is touted as a healthier alternative to rice, that must mean it has substantially fewer calories. In reality, quinoa has around 220 calories per cooked cup as compared to the 218 calories found in brown rice. Its primary benefit is not that it has fewer calories, but that it is more nutrient-dense.
One cup of quinoa contains eight grams of protein, three grams of fat, and 45 grams of carbs. It is also one of the only grains that contain all nine essential amino acids. Find more information from Nutrition Realm about the nutritional benefits of quinoa and many other healthy, high-calorie foods to learn more.
Nuts are some of the healthiest high-calorie foods around. They contain an average of 170 calories per ounce, but they’re so rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats that even consumers on a calorie-restrictive diet can benefit from adding nuts to low-calorie dishes like salads.
Every type of nut has a different nutritional profile, so many consumers choose to mix them to get the most bang for their buck. Stay away from store-bought trail mixes filled with processed snacks and make trail mix at home for best results. Include almonds for the vitamin E and calcium, Brazil nuts for selenium, cashews for iron, pistachios for lutein and zeaxanthin, and walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids and feel free to throw in some raisins or dried dates for extra nutrients and calories.
Avocados are extremely calorie-dense, so they’re perfect for those looking to gain weight and put on muscle mass the natural way. Just one avocado has 322 calories, 29 grams of healthy fats, and 13 grams of fiber. Unlike many high-calorie foods, avocados are low in carbs, which makes them suitable for low-carb diets. Try adding them to salads, tacos, and other dishes or eating them alone or with soy sauce as a nutrient-rich snack.
4. Healthy Cheeses
All cheeses are not created equal. While most have roughly the same amount of calories- around 110 calories per ounce, some are still more nutritious than others. Look for options like feta, goat cheese, provolone, cottage cheese, ricotta, and parmesan to take full advantage of these healthy cheeses’ nutritional benefits.
5. Taro Root
Taro root is a potato-like starchy root vegetable that contains around 187 calories per serving. Although it can be used in most of the same ways as potatoes, it has a different nutritional profile that helps it provide tons of slow-releasing energy. Taro root also improves nutrient absorption and metabolic efficiency.
The Bottom Line
Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean cutting calories back to zero! It’s always best to avoid high-calorie processed foods, but for those looking to gain or maintain weight and muscle mass, nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and meat all play an important role in ensuring adequate nutrition.