Most of the world is trying to lose weight. Most diets and diet literature focuses on reducing the waist line for a more aesthetic and pleasing look, but there are many that are trying to do the opposite. There are millions of underweight people around the world struggling to put on weight; they’re eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts and are failing to put on any pounds.
Others are making the fatal mistake of eating high calorie, low nutrient junk food leading to an unfit body full of fat. The goal is not to gain weight, but to the gain muscle while putting on minimal amounts of fat. This article will detail the top 10 high calorie healthy foods to help you put on weight with maximum muscle gain and minimal fat.
Table of Contents
1. Whole Milk & Chocolate Milk
Bodybuilders discovered the power of milk for weight and muscle gain years ago. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously proclaimed, “milk is for babies!” in the documentary “Pumping Iron”, but all the diets in his book “An Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding” feature milk as a main component. He was obviously a secret fan of the stuff.
One litre of whole milk contains 600 calories, 30 grams of protein, 50 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of fat. The protein is used by the body to build up muscle and the dextrose in the carbohydrates causes the body to start moving more protein into the muscles. The saturated fat in milk causes the body to produce more testosterone, leading to even more muscle gain.
Chocolate milk has also been proven to be an ideal post workout meal. Alan Aragon, a well renown sports nutritionist, compared chocolate milk to muscle milk, a well known weight gaining supplement, and found chocolate milk to be superior in nearly every way. Chocolate milk has the perfect ratio of carbohydrates to protein to stimulate muscle growth and recovery.
Ideally, whole milk should be added to a diet on non workout days while chocolate milk should be added as a post-workout recovery drink on workout days.
Milk also contains a number of vitamins and minerals that are vital to the body’s wellbeing, including a hormone called ‘IGF-1’. IGF-1 signals the body to produce more muscle and repair older muscle. It also causes the body to burn more fat for fuel, leading to a more muscular physique. Milk is a super food, and is arguably the best weight gainer available. It’s cheap, easy to add to a diet and contains high amounts of calories and nutrients.
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They are an excellent source of complete protein, including all essential amino acids, crucial building blocks to good health. One Garden of Life RAW Meal Packets serving provides 34 grams of protein from RAW, organic sprouts plus 9 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber, live probiotics and enzymes, Vitamin Code RAW Food-Created Nutrients and Code Factors such as Beta-glucans, SOD, glutathione and CoQ10. It really is the best stuff available.
Bodybuilders have used eggs to gain weight for years. Famously, many bodybuilders would drink a shake containing half a dozen raw eggs alongside their breakfast each morning.
A single egg contains 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat with minimal amounts of carbohydrates. By adding half a dozen eggs to a daily diet plan, it’s easy to add as much as 400 calories. Many opt to add even more eggs to their diet, with a dozen eggs a day not being unheard of.
As with milk, the protein in eggs is used by the body to build muscle while the fat causes the body to produce more testosterone. Some eggs also have increased amounts of Omega-3. This vitamin is used by the body to make joints supple and to increase cell repair. Eggs also contain the nine essential amino acids that aid the bodies ability to process protein. This means that the body is able to make better use of the protein it takes in to make more muscle.
Eggs have received a lot of bad press recently in regards to cholesterol. It was previously believed that eggs could cause problems that may lead to heart disease and other health issues. New research has found that this is not actually the case. Eggs actually increase the amount of healthy cholesterol in the body while reducing the amount of unhealthy cholesterol.
Egg yolks also contain a substance called choline. Choline helps rebuild cells in the heart and the brain while also preventing cholesterol and fat build up in the heart and liver. Choline has also been shown to make people feel happier and be more positive.
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For example, a handful of almonds (approximately 22-23 almonds) contains close to 175 calories, 6 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat. Other nuts contain similar amounts of calories and nutrients. As with our previously mentioned food sources, the protein is used for building muscle and the fat used for increasing the production of testosterone.
Nuts also contain a number of other nutrients that cause a benefits for the body. High amounts of fiber ensure that the digestive system works correctly while magnesium and vitamin e work to make sure cholesterol is kept in check.
Nuts are an easy addition to any diet plan. They make for a great snack between meals providing a large amount of calories, protein and fat that makes for the perfect combination for muscle production and healthy weight gain.
4. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a calorie dense food that is full of healthy nutrients. Peanut butter is made by grinding up peanuts and combining it with peanut or vegetable oil alongside a mix of sugar and salt. It is available in two forms – crunchy or smooth. Both taste delicious, but personal preference will decide which is better enjoyed by each individual.
A single tablespoon of peanut butter contains 94 calories, 4 grams of protein, 3 grabs of carbs and 8 grams of fat. The fat content is made up of healthy unsaturated fat and it also contains high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids.
Peanut butter is easy to incorporate into any diet. It can be spread onto a wholemeal bagel or piece of wholemeal bread to produce a nutritious snack. It can also be mixed in with other meals by adding it to pancakes, waffles, oatmeal and yoghurt. It can also be eaten by itself straight from a spoon.
5. Healthy Oils
A tablespoon of olive oil contains 119 calories with 14 grams of fat and trace amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Other healthy oils contain similar amounts of nutrients and calories. These healthy oils all contain high amounts of unsaturated fats that cause healthy weight gain while reducing cholesterol levels.
Healthy oils have a major downside, however. They taste disgusting. The easiest way to add them to a diet is to use more of them while cooking. An extra tablespoon of healthy oils in every meal can soon add up. Milk also has the ability to mask the taste of oil. Adding a tablespoon of oil to a glass of milk greatly increases the amount of calories in it without affecting the taste too much. Healthy oils can also be mixed in with whey protein shakes for a high protein, high fat supplement shake.
6. Starchy Unrefined Grains
Carbohydrates are under attack by dieticians and the mainstream media. While it’s true that certain types of carbohydrates are responsible for obesity, some of them are healthy and perfect weight gaining foods.
Wholemeal bread, wholemeal bagels, wholemeal pasta, brown rice and oats are all calorie dense unrefined grains with high numbers of carbohydrates but trace amounts of fat and protein.
Unrefined grains differ from refined grains such as white rice, white pasta and white bread as they still retain their nutrients. During the milling process, unrefined grains are stripped of their bran coating on the outside and the germ present on the inside. The bran and germ contain fibre, vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants that prevent heart disease, diabetes and other unpleasant ailments. These nutrients also help the body to use more protein for producing muscle while improving the metabolism causing the body to burn more fat.
Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are also added to refined grains. These unhealthy additives cause increased fat gain by causing insulin spikes that tell the body to store more fat.
One cup of black beans contains 225 calories, 15 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates and trace amounts of fat. Other types of beans contain similar amounts of nutrients. Beans are also loaded up with high amounts of calcium, iron, B vitamins, and more. These vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Refried beans, canned beans and whole beans taste delicious and can be added easily to any meal. Mexican food containing beans is easy to prepare and is delicious, healthy and nutritious.
Fruit is surprisingly high in calories. Many of the new popular weight loss diets advocate eating less fruit because of this. For weight gain, however, they are a perfect addition to any diet.
While all fruits are full of vitamins, minerals and calories, different types contain different amounts. A medium sized apple contains about 80 calories while a handful of strawberries contain about 55 calories. Some fruits, like the avocado, are incredibly calorie dense. A single avocado can contain as many as 350 calories!
I’ll always carry a bag of organic dried fruit in my car or my backpack whenever I’m out and about. It’s a great source of quick and clean energy.
9. Fatty Meats
Lean meats like chicken breast and minced beef are recommended for those trying to lose weight. These cuts of meat have little to no amounts of animal fat on them.
Fatty cuts, however, are ideal for those looking to put on weight. Animal fat is high in calories. It is also healthy for the body and causes the body to increase testosterone production, which tells the body to produce more muscle and reduce the amount of fat stored.
Chicken thighs and drumsticks contain considerably more animal fat than the breasts. This is the case with most poultry. Red meat usually comes in two flavours – one with the fat removed and one with the fat attached. Seafood is much the same, too. Other cuts of meat like pork and bacon are usually high in fat, too.
Unprocessed meat is much more healthier than processed meat. A McDonalds burger, for example, has been treated with chemicals and additives and it no longer ceases to resemble a burger. It loses nearly all its vitamins, minerals and nutrients while being prepared for mass consumption.
Meat is easy to prepare and can be bought at relatively moderate prices at a supermarket. Organic meat is worthwhile for those without budgets; this meat is unprocessed and often contains more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than normal meat.
10. Starchy Vegetables
Starchy vegetables are carbohydrate sources rich with vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are far more calorie dense than fibrous carbohydrate sources such as broccoli, green beans and asparagus.
The starchy vegetable family contains white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and corn. These foods contain large amounts of carbohydrates but only trace amounts of fat and protein. Starchy carbohydrates also contain large numbers of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These work with the body to make sure the skin, bones and hair are healthy and strong.
If you have trouble getting all of your greens, I’d definitely check out Greens Plus Organic Superfood. It is a certified organic blend of green foods, superfruits, sea vegetables and probiotic cultures. One serving delivers more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than 5 full servings of fresh fruit and vegetables while supplying every color in the dietary food spectrum.
These 10 high calorie healthy foods to help you put on weight are all calorie and nutrient dense. They allow for quick weight gain with large amounts of muscle and little fat.
It is important, however, to monitor how much food is being eaten as not to eat too much. If more than 2lbs/1kg of weight is being gained on a weekly basis, it’s likely that a large amount of the weight is from fat rather than muscle. The road to fitness is not a race – monitor your results and make sure to cut back on these foods if weight gain is happening too quickly.
The importance of exercise cannot be overstated enough, either. These foods provide the body with the fuel needed to grow – exercise tells the body to use the fuel to produce muscle rather than storing all the excess calories as fat. A well designed exercise program can mean the difference between massive amounts of growth with a strong, muscular body and a heavier body laden with fat.
By adding these 10 foods to your diet and pairing them up with a healthy exercise plan, the body will put on lean muscle leading to a strong, muscular body. Don’t make the mistake of cheating by eating unhealthy junk food. Take the time to put on weight gradually by eating healthy foods. You’ll thank yourself for it later.