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High Calorie Vegetables For Healthy Gains

You want to put on some weight, but the high fat foods always seem to be fatty animal products or full-fat dairy. You can gain weight in a healthy way by eating high calorie vegetables.

In this article you will learn which vegetables can give you that extra energy, and still provide the nutrients you are looking for.

Let’s get started.

What Makes A Vegetable High Calorie?

The nutrition information I cite in this article is from the USDA Food Central Database.

Starch is simply a chain of glucose molecules linked and packed together. It is the plant’s way of storing energy, so it is also a good way to provide energy for you.

Starch provides energy in the form of carbohydrates. Starchy vegetables are substantially higher in calories than non-starchy ones. For example, a cup of mashed sweet potato contains 17 grams of starch, which contributes 58 grams of carbohydrate and about 249 calories.

A medium zucchini by comparison has virtually no starch and less than a gram of carbohydrate. One cup of cooked zucchini has less than 20 calories.

We don’t often think of vegetables containing fat, but there are actually some veggies with healthy fats. Avocados and olives both contain monounsaturated fatty acids, and are a good way to ramp up your calories.

Corn is another vegetable that contains fat. That is how we get corn oil. Corn is also high in starch. One cup of frozen, cooked yellow corn has 2 grams of fat, and 26 grams of starch. By comparison, a cup of broccoli has less than ½ a gram of fat and 0 grams of starch.

Let’s look at some vegetables that not only provide a lot of calories, but other nutrients as well.

Best High Calorie Vegetables

VEGETABLECALORIESALSO HIGH IN…
Cassava (cooked)306 kcal per cupCopper and vitamin C
Red potato269 kcal in a 3-4” potatoPotassium, iron, zinc and copper
Sweet potato (cooked and mashed)249 kcal per cupPotassium, vitamin A, E, B5, B6, manganese
Avocado 227 kcal per fruitPotassium, fiber, vitamin A, folate, and pantothenic acid (B5)
Lentils (boiled)226 kcal per cupPotassium, iron, fiber and folate
Lima Beans216 kcal per cupPotassium, fiber, manganese and folate
Plantain (yellow, baked)215 kcal per cupPotassium, vitamin A and resistant starch
Kidney beans** (canned)215 kcal per cupIron, copper and thiamine (B1)
Taro (cooked and sliced)187 kcal per cupPotassium, copper and vitamin B6
White potato (medium sized, baked)159 kcalPotassium, copper and vitamin B6
Green peas134 kcal per cupIron, fiber and zinc
Corn (frozen, cooked)134 kcal per cupLutein + zeaxanthin and other carotenoids, 
Hawaii Mountain Yam119 kcal per cup, cubedPotassium, vitamin B6 and copper
Acorn squash115 kcal per cup, cubedFiber, magnesium and thiamine (B1)
Parsnip 111 kcal per cup, slicedPotassium, folate and fiber
Jerusalem artichoke (raw)110 kcal per cup of slicesPotassium, iron and copper 
Olives (green)About 18 green olives are 100 kcalLutein + zeaxanthin, and monounsaturated fatty acids
Beet slices (boiled)75 kcal per cupManganese and folate

**All varieties of beans and legumes are starchy vegetables, and provide different nutrients.

Preparing Vegetables For Even More Calories

Add extra calories to your veggies by cooking them in fat. Try sauteing vegetables in olive oil. Toss your chopped or sliced vegetables with olive oil, and roast them. 

If you eat dairy, a sauce made with fresh cream adds some fat and calories. If you prefer to steam your vegetables, you can always add a dollop of butter or a drizzle of olive oil. 

Sprinkle chopped nuts or seeds on your veggies to add some extra calories, protein and fat.

The Last Morsel

You can still gain weight by eating your veggies. Vegetables that are high in starch and fat provide a lot of energy, as well as other nutrients.

Add even more calories to your vegetables by cooking them in fat, adding fat after you cook them, and sprinkling with nuts or seeds.

Do you need ideas for how to stay healthy on a plant-based diet? I can help you out with personalized nutrition counseling, meal plans and recipes. Just click the link below to learn more.

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