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Super-High-Calorie Foods

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Super-High-Calorie Foods
An assortment of raw pasta noodles on a table. Photo Credit: tycoon751/iStock/Getty Images

You might be looking for high-calorie foods if you want to gain weight or if you are an extremely active person with higher than normal energy needs. If, however, you are trying to lose weight, you'll want to avoid anything high in calories. In either case, you need to know which foods are high-calorie so that you can make the right choices. When seeking high-calorie foods, choose nutritious options whenever possible.

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The Calorie Content of Fats

Fat is a calorie-dense nutrient, containing 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates or protein. Oils such as olive, canola, sesame and sunflower are pure fats and high in calories. A tablespoon of olive oil, for example, contains 13.5 grams of fat and 120 calories. Adding oil is an easy way to increase the calorie content of the foods you eat. Make garlic toast with whole-grain bread, olive oil, garlic and Italian herbs, or roast sweet potato slices that are brushed with vegetable oil. Butter is a high-calorie choice, but it is less healthy than vegetable-based oils because of its saturated fat content.

Adding Healthy Fats to Meals and Snacks

Foods high in fat tend to be high in calories, and they can quickly increase the calorie content of your meals. Avocados, which contain 29 grams of fat and 322 calories, can be added to sandwiches, soups and salads. Nuts and peanuts are also high-fat, high-calorie foods. An ounce of peanuts, for example, contains 14 grams of fat and 166 calories. Add peanut butter to oatmeal and smoothies, or mix almonds, pecans or walnuts into yogurt or cottage cheese. Avocados, nuts and peanuts are low in unhealthy saturated fats and are sources of dietary fiber.

High-Carbohydrate, High-Calorie

Bread, breakfast cereals and pasta and rice dishes are among the top sources of calories in the typical American diet, according to information provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta contains 174 calories, and you can make a pasta dish higher in calories by having a larger serving size, tossing it with olive oil or an oil-based pesto sauce and topping it with Parmesan cheese. Dried fruit is another high-calorie, high-carbohydrate choice. A cup of raisins contains 493 calories.

Making Nutritious Choices

Many excessively high-calorie foods are unhealthy fast foods or processed foods. Pizza and baked desserts, for example, are among the top sources of calories in the typical American diet, as well as top sources of sodium and saturated fat. Sodium can increase your blood pressure, and saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels. Fatty meats, full-fat cheeses and fast food such as burgers and Mexican-style dishes are high-calorie choices that contain unhealthy nutrients. When trying to gain weight, eat more lower-calorie foods or choose nutrient-dense, high-calorie foods.

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