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The Best High-Calorie Foods for Bulking Up

author image Nina K.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by,, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.
The Best High-Calorie Foods for Bulking Up
A close-up of homemade brownies. Photo Credit: tvirbickis/iStock/Getty Images

The most effective foods for weight gain are those with high energy density, meaning they pack a large number of calories into relatively little volume so you can eat more without feeling stuffed. But gaining weight isn't an excuse to pig out on junk food -- you'll feel and perform better by choosing a balanced diet of natural, minimally processed foods than by filling up on brownies and fries.

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Healthy Food Options

High-fat plant foods such as nuts, seeds and avocado are effective for weight gain, because fat contains more than double the calories of protein or carbohydrates. Avoid fatty animal products like butter and bacon, however, as they contain unhealthy saturated fats. Also, choose heavy whole-grain breads such as pumpernickel and rye as well as dense cereals such as granola. Eat reduced-fat yogurt and other dairy products as well as denser vegetables such as corn, peas and potatoes. Optimal fruit choices include bananas, mangoes and any dried fruits.

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