High-Calorie Vegetarian Foods

You ingest significantly fewer calories and less fat when you follow a vegetarian diet. However, eating vegetarian food is no guarantee of low-calorie intake. There are some high-fat, bulky or processed vegetarian foods that are very high in calories. Depending on the type of vegetarian diet you follow, and your personal health situation, you may want to either avoid high-calorie vegetarian foods, or integrate more of them into your diet.

Fried tortilla chips on a plate with cheese dip and guacamole. (Image: AlexPro9500/iStock/Getty Images)


Depending on your goals, you will either have to reduce your intake of high-calorie foods to lose excess weight, or increase your intake if you need to gain weight. Knowing which vegetarian foods are high in calories will enable you to watch your calorie intake and meet your specific goals.


High-calorie vegetarian foods include avocados, nuts, seeds, whole grains, full-fat dairy products like cheese and whole milk, soy products, beans, dried fruit, fruit juices, eggs, plant oils and margarine. In addition, many energy bars are high in calories but nutritionally balanced. Registered dietitian Donna Paglia of Vegetarian Nutrition also names some high-calorie vegetarian dishes, such as burritos, pizza, fries and fried foods, and creamy soups, which incorporate many of the above ingredients.


Consuming small amounts of foods that are high in calories gives you a similar calorie intake when compared to larger amounts of foods lower in fat. For example, The Calorie Counter shows that 2 tbsp. of cream has 40 calories, of which 32 are from fat, while 1/4 cup of 2-percent milk has 30 calories, 10 of those from fat.


Adding oil, butter, whole grains, potatoes, beans, full-fat dairy products or nuts to your meals can increase the caloric content significantly. Avoid these foods if you are trying to lose weight. Soups have a high water content and are likely to have fewer calories, except if you add the above ingredients.

Expert Insight

Be prepared to meet your dietary needs wherever you are so that you won't be tempted to make bad choices. If you are on a low-calorie diet, carry fruits or vegetables with you. If you are on a high-calorie diet, bring along whole-grain muffins, nuts, energy bars or dried fruit.

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