You are eating a vegan diet, and it is hard to stay at a healthy weight. You are probably wondering how to add more high calorie vegan foods to your meals.
Sometimes an illness can cause you to lose more pounds than you want. Many older adults have trouble keeping their weight in a healthy range.
In this article you will learn how to add calories and energy to your vegan meals in a healthy way. Let’s find out more.
The Vegan Weight Challenge
When you started a vegan lifestyle, you stopped eating all foods that come from animals or living things. This includes many foods that are packed with energy, like meat, high fat dairy products and even some concentrated sugars like honey.
Now the challenge is to find foods from the plant world which provide that same level of energy. Don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from!
What Vegan Foods Have the Most Calories
Fats are the most concentrated source of energy that we can get from foods. The trick is to eat healthy fats. First let’s look at what not to eat.
Fats To Avoid
Commercial fried foods, like potato chips and restaurant meals, use vegetable oils like soybean, corn, cottonseed or sunflower. These oils can be inflammatory when you eat a lot of them. The frying process also breaks down the oils and creates substances that aren’t healthy.
When a manufacturer takes an oil that is normally liquid at room temperature, and turns it into a solid, this is called hydrogenation. They are creating trans fats in the food. Everyone knows by now that trans fats increase your risk for heart disease and other health problems.
Avoid using products like solid vegetable shortening and stick margarine in your own kitchen. Stay away from commercial baked goods like pies, cakes and cookies, refrigerated doughs, and anything that comes coated with a batter.
Fats To Eat
Here are some ways to get healthy fats from plants:
- Coconut Oil
- Oils high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Nuts and seeds
Coconut oil is a plant-based fat that you can enjoy. However, it is a saturated fat. Research shows that coconut oil can have the same effects on your blood cholesterol as saturated fats that come from animals (1). So, if you are trying to manage your cholesterol levels, limit coconut oil to 1 or 2 tablespoons a day.
The good thing is that when you don’t eat meat, butter or milk products, you have more room in your diet to include plant-based saturated fats.
Most of the fat in avocados is mono-unsaturated. This is the type of fat that is prevalent in the Mediterranean diet, and shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health. So bring on the avocados!
Flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. Eating them may help to prevent heart disease and support brain health (2).
Here are some of the nuts and seeds that have healthy fats:
Note that every nut is not right for everyone. You might have a condition where a certain type of nut doesn’t work for you.
Starchy vegetables, beans and whole grains all provide complex carbohydrates. These are sugars linked together in long chains that take more time for the body to break down and digest. They enter your bloodstream more slowly than sugary foods. These foods also provide lots of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Insulin gets a bad rap because of its association with diabetes and metabolic disorders. However it is still an essential hormone, and plays an important part in helping your body store fat. Complex carbohydrates may help to trigger a safe and steady insulin release.
Here are some of the most nutritious starchy vegetables:
- Sweet potato
- Green peas
- Parsnips and turnips
- Acorn or butternut squash
- Yam, cassava and plantain
Here are some whole grains that provide complex carbohydrates:
- Whole wheat
- Whole grain (brown) rice
We should all be careful not to eat foods with a lot of added sugars. However, dried fruits of all kinds provide a concentrated form of sugar packaged up with fiber, vitamins and minerals. This is a delicious way to add a boost of energy to your meals.
Prunes, dried apricots, raisins and dried figs are examples of dried fruits that provide a lot of other nutrients along with the extra energy.
High Calorie Vegan Food For Breakfast
These foods can start your day off with plenty of energy:
- Oats prepared with whole fat coconut milk, sprinkled with seeds and topped with prunes
- Whole grain toast with a spread of hummus, topped with avocado slices
- Savory oatmeal with green peas and a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkled with hemp seeds
- Mediterranean breakfast with olives, walnuts, cucumbers, roasted carrots and dried figs
- Smoothie bowl made with oat milk, coconut cream (unsweetened), nut butter, berries, hemp seeds and sprinkled with a whole grain granola
High Calorie Vegan Snacks
Here are some high calorie vegan foods to snack on in between meals:
- Vegan chocolate covered berries
- Chia pudding made with full fat coconut milk or oat milk
- Guacamole dip with whole grain crackers
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread
- Dates or prunes stuffed with nut butter
- Olives, nuts or seeds
- Cannellini beans on toast
- Spiced roasted chickpeas
- Toasted sweet potato slice topped with nut butter
- Pita with olives and hummus
- Walnuts and dried mango
The Last Morsel
It can be a challenge to keep enough weight on your body in a vegan lifestyle. There are still plenty of high-energy foods that you can eat.
Fats have the highest amount of energy of all the macronutrients. Nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut have lots of healthy fats.
Insulin helps you to store fat, and carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin. Starchy vegetables, beans and whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, which is the healthy way to get your carbs.
Dried fruits are packed with concentrated energy along with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
What is your food challenge? Are you confused about what you should eat? I will be happy to help! Click the button below to schedule a free consult and learn about working with me.