While many people often think of eating vegetables as a part of weight loss, it is possible to use them to gain weight too. Those looking to pursue healthy weight gain that doesn’t compromise a healthy diet will be happy to know there are plenty of high calorie veggies out there that make a great addition to any diet.
Whether you’re trying to pursue healthy weight gain or just better maintain your current weight, high calorie vegetables will allow you to continue to gain weight, while eating vegetables with tons of health benefits. In this article, we’re listing some of the most calorie dense vegetables you can find from around the world. Let’s get started!
Gaining Weight With High Calorie Vegetables
When people think about incorporating more vegetables into their diet, it’s often to lose weight, not gain weight, and for good reason too.
The raw calories found in most vegetables are pretty low, as a majority of vegetables are pretty low in things like carbohydrates. For example, when you look at celery calories or cucumber calories you’ll find that these two water rich, low calorie foods are things you can eat a lot of with little impact on weight.
It’s starchy vegetables and root vegetables where weight gain becomes possible. Vegetables like sweet potatoes or winter squash are still a part of the vegetable food group but have a high calorie count not found in other vegetables in the category.
Those trying for weight loss usually avoid foods high in calories like root vegetables and starchy vegetables with lots of carbohydrates for this very reason. However, if you’re going for weight gain, these vegetables are the way to go. Not only will you get to take advantage of their higher calorie count, but you’ll still get to enjoy the nutritional values and vitamins vegetables provide that you won’t find in high calorie snack and junk food.
Tips for Adding High Calorie Vegetables to Your Diet
If you want to try and include a nutrient dense vegetable into more of your meals, we got you covered! Here are our top tips for adding high calorie vegetables to your diet.
Purchase Canned or Frozen
If you find your high calorie vegetables are going bad before you can eat them all, you should consider buying high calorie vegetables that are canned or frozen, not fresh.
Many people only think of buying fresh vegetables, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is true that fresh vegetables are where you will find optimum nutritional content, which is important if your daily intake of vitamins and minerals is something you want to prioritize.
If you’re more focused on calories in vegetables, though, you could always opt for canned or frozen vegetables. There are plenty of high calorie vegetables that can come canned or frozen, including things like corn, carrots, and artichokes.
Add Vegetables to Soups and Smoothies
One of the easiest ways to up your calorie intake higher than normal is to pack calorie dense vegetables into dishes like soups or smoothies. Adding vegetables with a high calorie count to dishes like this can help you take a lot more calories at meal time, without eating quantities larger than you may be used to.
For example, you could add a half or whole avocado to your next smoothie to take in more healthy fats and calories. Or, you could turn a winter squash like butternut squash into a nutritious, calorie dense soup. Dishes like these can make eating more calories easier.
Consider the Nutrition Facts of Certain Vegetables
Finally, it’s always a good idea to keep the nutrition facts of vegetables in mind as you buy. The biggest benefit of eating high calorie vegetables is the fact that they have high levels of vitamins and minerals that other high calories foods don’t. In this way, you can reap the benefits of both the vegetable’s high calorie count, and the vitamins and minerals they contain.
For example, high calorie starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes are high in calories, while also containing tons of fiber for good gut health. Or vegetables like carrots have a ton of calories in one cup, and also contain a ton of beta carotene which is super beneficial for keeping your eyes healthy.
If you have certain health concerns you want to address with a healthy diet, you can find a calorie dense vegetable that has the nutritional benefits you’re looking for. You just have to research!
Our High Calorie Vegetable List
Let’s take a look at some of the best high calorie vegetables you can include as a part of a healthy diet. We’ll also give you tips on how to incorporate these high calorie vegetables into your diet.
Avocado Calories = 240 Calories per Avocado
With one medium avocado containing an impressive 240 calories, this is one amazing calorie dense vegetable for those looking to up their daily calorie counts.
Along with being calorie dense, avocados are also an amazing source of healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals like folate, potassium, vitamin e, and vitamin c.
How to Eat More Avocados:
- Mash it into delicious guacamole, or other dips
- Add it to smoothies for a smoother texture, and higher calorie count
- Use diced avocados on top of salads
- Eat diced or sliced avocado on toast
Parsnip Calories = 100 Calories per One Cup
Parsnips are a more unique root vegetable, looking like a cross between potatoes and carrots. These starchy vegetables have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, and beneficial vitamins and minerals like vitamin c, folate, and vitamin e.
How to Eat More Parsnips:
- Dice and roast as a side dish
- Add parsnips to soups and stews
- Cook and mash parsnips
Corn Calories = 125 Calories per One Cup
Corn is probably one of the most popular and versatile vegetables in the world, making it an easy one to add to your diet. You can buy sweet corn or regular corn frozen and canned, you can buy it fresh on the cob, and you can even find it dried as a grain!
The high calorie count in corn is thanks to the high amount of carbs it has. Corn is also rich in b vitamins, potassium, and fiber, giving it some health benefits as well.
How to Eat More Corn:
- Eat plain corn on the cob
- Add corn as a topping to salads
- Add corn to stir fries and protein bowls
- Use corn for soups like corn chowder
Red Potato Calories = 151 Calories per Potato
Starchy vegetables like potatoes have carbs that give them impressive calorie counts, and red potatoes are no exception. Many people believe that different kinds of potatoes (red potatoes, russet potatoes, yellow potatoes) are all interchangeable, but there are actually some differences between them that make them suited to certain dishes.
Red skin potatoes are actually lower in calories than other potatoes, but they still have a calorie count that outshines many other vegetables out there. Plus, their skin has a lot of health benefits such as fiber, potassium, and vitamin c.
How to Eat More Red Potatoes:
- Shred them and make them into latkes (potato pancakes)
- Bake them whole and eat them with butter
- Add chunks of potatoes to soups and stews
- Mash them into mashed potatoes as a side dish
Rutabaga Calories = 151 Calories per One Cup
Rutabaga is one of the lesser-known root vegetables, but they deserve their time in the spotlight on this list. Rutabaga is an amazing source of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, with high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Rutabagas are also especially good for brain and bone health, thanks to them having selenium and phosphorus.
How to Eat More Rutabaga:
- Slice rutabaga super thin and bake them as chips
- Dice up raw rutabaga to add on top of salads
- Boil and mash rutabaga with milk and butter as a side dish
- Dice rutabaga and add it into stews and soups
Russet Potato Calories = 164 Calories per Potato
As we’re discussing calorie dense vegetables, it makes sense that there’s yet another potato on our list! Russet potatoes are one of the world’s most favorite starchy vegetables.
In fact, it’s these potatoes that are used for some of the best potato dishes, like french fries, thanks to their drier flesh and thick skin. Its thick skin is also what gives this potato its health benefits, which include minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
How to Eat More Russet Potatoes:
- Bake them whole and eat with butter and toppings
- Mash them into mashed potatoes
- Slice and bake or fry them into fries
- Add diced potatoes to stews and soups
Lentil Calories = 230 Calories per One Cup
Lentils have a whole lot of calories in a very small package. These legumes are an amazing high calorie food, with 240 in just one cup.
When it comes to the health benefits of lentils, we have to talk about their protein. Lentils are actually one of the most popular sources of plant-based protein for people who don’t eat meat, as they’re so rich in it. They also have a lot of fiber for good gut health, as well as other nutrients like zinc, potassium, and b vitamins.
How to Eat More Lentils:
- Use lentils to create a delicious lentil soup
- Boil lentils and add them as a base for salads, or protein bowls
- Bake lentils with other vegetables and seasonings as a side dish
- Add lentils to sauces for dishes like pasta
Artichoke Calories = 60 Calories per Artichoke
Artichokes are technically considered a type of thistle and have been enjoyed both as a food and medicine for centuries. This green vegetable is full of vitamins and minerals and is high in fiber, vitamin c, vitamin k, folate, and other nutrients and antioxidants.
How to Eat More Artichoke:
- Oven roast and bake them whole
- Separate the leaves and use them to eat dips
- Add artichoke hearts onto salads and pasta
- Use artichoke as an ingredient in dips
Sweet Potato Calories = 249 Calories per One Cup
Sweet potatoes are an amazing addition to a healthy diet and are definitely the healthiest of all the potatoes on our list. Sweet potatoes are sweet and full of carbohydrates that give them a high calorie count. However, it’s their nutritional content where sweet potatoes really shine.
Their orange color is attributed to high amounts of beta carotene, which delivers a ton of vitamin a to your body to support good eye health. The antioxidants found in sweet potatoes have also been linked to helping prevent chronic disease.
How to Eat More Sweet Potatoes
- Mash sweet potatoes and make a sweet potato pie
- Puree sweet potatoes to make a soup
- Roast or bake sweet potatoes on their own as a side dish
- Make mashed sweet potatoes
- Cut sweet potatoes into fries or chips
Edamame Calories = 376 Calories per Cup
Edamame, also referred to as soybeans, is a type of bean that is super popular in Asian cuisine. These small green beans pack a lot of calories and can be used in a ton of different dishes. They’re also super high in protein, vitamin k, fiber, and other nutrients.
How to Eat More Edamame:
- Mash edamame to include in dips
- Cook edamame and add it to salads
- Boil edamame and top with salt to eat whole
- Add edamame into soups and stews
Green Peas Calories = 117 Calories per One Cup
Green peas are small and starchy, and are an easy high calorie vegetable to incorporate into a healthy diet. Green peas are noted for their high amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and protein, making them great for plant based diets. They’re also rich in vitamin c, vitamin a, and vitamin k, as well as fiber and folate.
How to Eat More Green Peas:
- Cook them down into a pea soup
- Add cooked green peas into pasta and stir fries
- Boil frozen peas on their own as a side dish
- Mash green peas to use as a dip or spread on toast
Yams Calories = 146 Calories per One Cup
Yams are a root vegetable that often gets mistaken for sweet potatoes, but there are some stark differences between the two. While they are both starchy, high calorie vegetables, yams actually have white flesh and are much less sweet.
Yams also have different nutrition facts and health benefits. They have a ton of vitamin c, fiber, manganese, and potassium. They also contain a lot of copper, which is great for improving iron levels and blood production in the body.
How to Eat More Yams:
- Boil and mash yams
- Dice yams and roast them on their own
- Slice yam thin and make it into chips
- Add diced yam or pureed yam into soups
Butternut Squash Calories = 82 Calories per One Cup
Of course, we had to include some winter squash on this list! Butternut squash is a popular choice among the different kinds of squash out there, thanks to its great taste and versatility in the kitchen. Plus, along with a decent amount of calories, butternut squash contains a fair amount of vitamin c and e and a ton of vitamin a.
How to Eat More Butternut Squash:
- Use diced butternut squash in curries
- Puree butternut squash for soup
- Roast butternut squash to place on top of salads
- Add cooked butternut squash to pasta dishes
Shiitake Mushrooms Calories = 81 Calories per One Cup
Shiitake mushrooms are a fungus found in parts of East Asia that is a good diet staple. These mushrooms have been used in both food and medicine for years, thanks to their delicious taste and health properties. Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of fiber, can boost your immune system, and are one of few plants that contain vitamin D.
How to Eat More Shiitake Mushrooms:
- Add shiitake mushrooms to pasta dishes or stir fries
- Use shiitake mushrooms for a delicious mushroom soup
- Add shiitake mushrooms as a pizza topping
Kidney Beans Calories = 225 Calories per One Cup
It wouldn’t be a high calorie vegetable list without the inclusion of this popular legume. Kidney beans are a popular high calorie vegetable, and a great source of protein in any kind of healthy diet. They are also great for those looking to control blood sugar because, despite the presence of carbohydrates, kidney beans are low on the glycemic index as a slow-release carb.
How to Eat More Kidney Beans:
- Cook them on their own and eat as a side
- Add it as a salad or protein bowl topping
- Use beans as a filling in a burrito
- Add kidney beans to soups and stews
- Use kidney beans as an ingredient in chili
Carrots Calories = 53 Calories per One Cup
Carrots are a nutrient dense, calorie dense vegetable that has a well-earned spot on our list. Carrots are sweet, can be eaten raw or cooked, and contain a ton of vitamin c and beneficial beta carotene to make them a great healthy food choice.
How to Eat More Carrots:
- Eat carrots raw with dips like hummus or ranch
- Add carrots to soups and stews
- Add shredded carrots to slaws and salads
Cassava Calories = 160 Calories per One Cup
Cassava, also called yuca or manioc, is a starchy South American vegetable that is very calorie dense. Not many people in the west are familiar with this vegetable, but it’s a good food choice for those focused on taking in more calories.
How to Eat More Cassava:
- Roat and mash cassava on its own
- Dice and oven roast cassava
- Slice and fry cassava
Pumpkin Calories = 30 Calories per One Cup
Pumpkins are good for more than just carving! While pumpkin may not be as high in calories as other veggies on our list, it’s still more calorie dense than most vegetables, making it a good veggie for weight gain. It also has beneficial protein, fiber, vitamin c, and vitamin a.
How to Eat More Pumpkin:
- Puree pumpkin to make a pumpkin soup
- Dice and oven roast pumpkin
- Use pumpkin in sauces for pasta
- Add pumpkin to deserts, like pumpkin pie
Taro Root Calories = 187 Calories per One Cup
Taro root is a root vegetable used in cuisines across the globe, used similarly to root vegetables like potatoes. It has considerably more health benefits than potatoes, though, providing a good amount of manganese, fiber, potassium, vitamin c, and vitamin e.
How to Eat More Taro Root:
- Slice taro root and make it into fries
- Thinly slice taro root for chips
- Cut and roast taro root as a side dish
- Boil and mash taro root
Garlic Calories = 149 Calories per One Cup
While garlic isn’t the kind of vegetable you’ll actually eat a cup of in one sitting, its high calorie count makes it a worthwhile vegetable to include as a part of this list. Garlic has been considered a health food for years because of its many benefits, linked to improving heart health, cancer prevention, and supporting good gut health. Including garlic more and more into dishes you love can be an easy way to get these health benefits, and sneak in some extra calories.
How to Eat More Garlic:
- Use freshly chopped and minced garlic to season meat and veggies
- Oven roast garlic cloves submerged in olive oil to create an easy garlic spread
- Eat raw garlic on its own, as a healthy food shot