11 High Calorie Plant Based Foods For Power-Up
You’re always on the go and looking for ways to boost your energy the healthy way. While plant-based diets are great for your health and the environment, some people worry they won’t get enough calories or protein. Not to worry, there are plenty of delicious high calorie plant based foods packed with nutrients to power you through your busy day. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or just want to eat high calorie plant based foods, you’ll want to add these 11 high calorie plant based foods to your diet.
From creamy avocados and protein-packed tofu to natural peanut butter and dried fruits, these foods prove you can get plenty of good nutrition from plants alone. So skip the energy drinks and sugary snacks, and power up the natural way with these healthy, high calorie plant based foods. Your body and the planet will thank you.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts and nut butters should be staples in any plant-based diet. They’re packed with protein, healthy fats, and calories to power you through the day.
Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are all great options. Just 1/4 cup of almonds has over 200 calories. Walnuts have 185 calories and 4 grams of protein per 1/4 cup, plus anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Cashews round it out with 165 calories and 5 grams of protein for the same amount.
Peanut butter is also a perfect choice, with 190 calories and 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving. Look for natural peanut butters with no added sugar. Other nut butters like almond or sunflower seed butter work great too.
The key is moderation – nut butters and nuts are healthy but high in fat and calories, so stick to the recommended serving sizes. Also, choose unsalted or low-sodium options when possible to avoid excess sodium.
Add nut butters and nuts to:
•Yogurt or oatmeal for extra protein
•Banana smoothies for a creamy texture
•Salads for healthy fats and crunch
•Sandwiches and wraps in place of mayonnaise
With so many ways to incorporate them and their combination of protein, healthy fats and calories, nuts and nut butters are essential for any plant-based eater looking to power up their diet. Your body and taste buds will thank you!
Avocados – The Nutrient Powerhouse
Avocados are little green nutrient powerhouses. With nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in a single serving, they pack a serious nutritional punch.
Avocados contain healthy fats that are great for your heart and brain. We’re talking monounsaturated fats like oleic acid, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body. The fat in avocados also helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.
Avocados provide fiber which aids digestion and helps keep you feeling full. One small avocado contains about 13 grams of fiber which is more than half of the daily requirement of 25 grams. Fiber can help maintain bowel health and may even help lower heart disease risk.
Vitamin C is essential for immune function and healthy skin. A single avocado contains about 20% of your daily vitamin C needs. Avocados also provide vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, riboflavin, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin. These vitamins and antioxidants play important roles in health, growth, and development.
With all these nutritional benefits, it’s no wonder avocados are considered a superfood. Here are a few easy ways to add more avocado to your diet:
•Spread mashed avocado on toast or sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
•Add cubes of avocado to your salad.
•Make guacamole to dip chips or fresh veggies.
•Blend an avocado into a fruit smoothie for a creamy treat.
Avocados – the perfect nutrient-dense addition to any meal. Your body and brain will thank you!
Coconut and Coconut Oil – Creamy and Calorie-Dense
Coconut and coconut oil are two of the most high calorie plant based foods. The creamy white flesh of a single coconut contains nearly 400 calories and 38 grams of fat. Coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat and contains a whopping 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon.
While high in calories, the fats in coconuts are medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. MCTs are easily digested and metabolized in your liver, where they are converted to ketones to fuel your brain and body. MCTs may help boost cognition and metabolism, though more research is needed.
Coconut oil has a mild coconut flavor and aroma, so it works well as a plant-based substitute for butter in baking. Use it in place of vegetable oil in muffins, cookies, and quick breads. You can also spread it on toast, stir it into oatmeal or yogurt, or drizzle it over popcorn.
Shredded or flaked coconut also adds texture, flavor, and calories to many foods. Toss some into your morning smoothie, granola, trail mix or chia pudding. Make homemade coconut macaroons or coconut cream pie for a special treat.
While coconuts and coconut oil absolutely have their place in a balanced diet. consume them in moderation due to their high calorie and fat content. As with any oil, coconut oil is still 100% fat, so limit your intake to no more than a few tablespoons per day. Shredded coconut, though naturally sweet and delicious, is best enjoyed occasionally in small portions.
Coconuts and coconut oil deserve their status as superfoods. When consumed judiciously, they provide healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds. Add them to your diet to boost nutrition and gain an energy boost in a natural, plant-based way.
Dried Fruits – Concentrated Calories
Dried fruits are nature’s candy—sweet, chewy, and packed with nutrients. They are also concentrated sources of calories, especially the dried versions of naturally sweet fruits. Just a small handful can provide an energy boost when you need it.
These sweet, shriveled grapes are loaded with natural sugars like fructose and glucose. Just 1/2 cup of raisins contains over 300 calories, along with fiber, iron, and potassium. They make a great snack on their own or can be added to cereals, yogurt, or salads. Raisins, along with other dried fruits, contain concentrated amounts of the nutrients found in fresh fruit.
Deglet Noor and Medjool are two popular varieties of dried dates. They are naturally rich in glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Medjool dates, in particular, are almost like caramel candies. Just 3-4 pitted dates contain over 100 calories. Dates make a great pre-workout snack and provide quick energy. They are also high in potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.
Dried apricots contain around 60 calories each and have one of the highest amounts of beta-carotene of all dried fruits. Beta-carotene gives apricots their bright orange color and acts as an antioxidant in the body. Dried apricots also provide lots of fiber, vitamin E, and iron. Add some dried apricots to your morning oatmeal, yogurt, or trail mix for extra nutrition and natural sweetness.
Prunes, or dried plums, are well known for their fiber and laxative effects, but they also pack in the calories and energy. Just 5-6 pitted prunes contain over 100 calories and provide potassium, iron, and manganese. Prunes have a sticky, chewy texture and rich, molasses-like flavor when dried. They make a satisfying snack on their own, or you can chop them up and add to yogurt or oatmeal.
So next time you need an energy boost, reach for some dried fruit. They provide concentrated calories and nutrients in small, chewy packages. Just don’t overdo it, or you may end up with a stomachache from all the natural sugar! A small handful, around 1/4 to 1/2 cup, is a perfect portion.
Seeds – Tiny but Mighty
Seeds may be tiny, but they pack a powerful nutritional punch. Seeds are little nutritional powerhouses, loaded with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and various minerals. Just a small handful of some seeds can provide a satisfying snack with staying power.
Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and various minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor and can be sprinkled on yogurt or oatmeal, added to smoothies, or used as an egg replacer in vegan baking.
Hemp seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, and various minerals like magnesium, zinc, and iron. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds have 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of omegas. Hemp seeds have a creamy, nutty flavor and can be eaten raw, roasted, or pressed into oil. Add hemp seeds to yogurt, oatmeal, salads, or veggie burgers for extra nutrition and crunch.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are high in magnesium, zinc, copper, protein, and healthy fats. Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 151 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 12 grams of fat, as well as 38% of the RDI for magnesium, 23% for zinc and 34% for copper. Pumpkin seeds have an earthy, nutty flavor and are great for snacking, as well as adding to salads, yogurt, or oatmeal.
•Flax seeds – High in omega-3s, fiber, and lignans. Add to oatmeal, yogurt or use as an egg substitute.
•Sunflower seeds – Loaded with vitamin E, folate, niacin, thiamine, and various B vitamins. Enjoy as a snack or add to salads.
With a variety of options, seeds offer an easy way to add extra nutrition, protein, and healthy fats to your diet. Keep a mix on hand for a quick snack or sprinkle them on your favorite foods. These tiny but mighty seeds pack a lot of power into just a small serving.
Starchy Vegetables – Complex Carbs Galore
Starchy vegetables are powerhouses of complex carbohydrates, which provide energy and help you feel full. They include:
- Potatoes: Russet, red, yellow, purple, etc. A medium baked potato has about 160 calories and 37 grams of carbs. Mash them, bake them, or make french fries.
- Corn: A cup of corn kernels has around 165 calories and 31 grams of carbs. Corn is also high in lutein, which is good for your eyes.
- Pumpkin: A cup of mashed pumpkin has about 50 calories and 12 grams of carbs. Use it to make soups, pies, muffins, and pancakes.
- Squash: Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, etc. A cup of cooked squash has around 80 calories and 15 grams of carbs. Roast it, puree it into soups, or use it as a pasta substitute.
- Plantains: A medium fried plantain has about 190 calories and 47 grams of carbs. Green plantains can be cooked savory, while ripe yellow ones are usually sweet.
- Cassava: Also called yuca or manioc. A medium boiled cassava root has about 330 calories and 78 grams of carbs. It has a mild nutty flavor and starchy, potato-like texture. Popular in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine.
- Taro: A cup of cooked taro has about 130 calories and 28 grams of carbs. Its texture is similar to potatoes and it has an earthy, nutty flavor. Used in stews, curries, and as a potato substitute.
Don’t be afraid to load up on these nutritious veggies – your body and your taste buds will thank you! Starchy vegetables provide energy, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Mix and match them in your meals for extra flavor and nutrition.
Legumes – Protein and Calorie Combo
Legumes like beans, lentils, and peas should be a staple in any high calorie plant based foods. They are packed with protein and calories to keep you satisfied and energized.
•Black beans: One cup of cooked black beans has a whopping 15 grams of protein and 227 calories. They are also high in fiber, iron, and magnesium. Add black beans to burritos, chili, or rice bowls.
•Chickpeas: A single cup of cooked chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, contains 15 grams of protein and 269 calories. Chickpeas are versatile and can be used to make hummus, added to salads, or roasted as a crunchy snack.
•Lentils: A protein powerhouse, one cup of cooked lentils provides 18 grams of protein and 230 calories. Lentils are an excellent source of iron and folate as well. Use lentils to make hearty stews, soups, or as a meat substitute in dishes like shepherd’s pie or sloppy joes.
•Peanuts: While peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts, they provide an impressive amount of plant-based protein and calories. Just one ounce of peanuts, about 28 nuts, has 7 grams of protein and 166 calories. Peanut butter, made from ground peanuts, provides even more nutrition with 8 grams of protein and 188 calories per two tablespoon serving.
•Tofu: Made from soybeans, tofu can have up to 10 grams of protein and 94 calories per half cup serving. Tofu takes on the flavor of the foods and sauces it’s cooked with and can be grilled, baked, stir-fried or blended into spreads.
Legumes may be small, but they sure are mighty. Adding more of these protein and calorie powerhouses to your diet is an easy way to keep you satisfied when eating a plant-based diet. Combine them with grains, veggies, and nuts or seeds for extra nutrition and crunch. Your body and belly will surely thank you.
Tahini and Other Nut and Seed Butters
Nut and seed butters are a great way to add healthy fats and plant-based protein to your diet. Tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, is a popular option that provides a creamy texture perfect for drizzling over salads or using in hummus and baba ghanoush. Two tablespoons contain 89 calories and 8 grams of fat, most of which is monounsaturated. Sesame seeds also provide magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and thiamine.
Other nut and seed butters to consider include:
- Almond butter: With 98 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving, almond butter is slightly higher in calories but also contains vitamin E, magnesium and riboflavin. Spread it on whole grain toast or add to yogurt for extra protein.
- Cashew butter: Cashews are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc. Two tablespoons of cashew butter have 93 calories and 8 grams of fat. It has a very creamy texture, even better than almond butter.
- Sunflower seed butter: For those with nut allergies, sunflower seed butter is a great option. It’s rich in vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and copper. Two tablespoons contain 90 calories and 8 grams of fat, mostly polyunsaturated. The texture is drier than nut butters so you may need to stir before spreading.
- Pumpkin seed butter: Pepitas or pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, magnesium, iron and manganese. Pumpkin seed butter has a strong, nutty flavor and greenish tint from the seeds. Two tablespoons contain 151 calories, 14 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein.
Whether you prefer tahini, almond butter or cashew butter, nut and seed butters are a simple way to boost the nutrition in your plant-based diet. Spread the love!
Plant-Based Milk Alternatives and Creamers – Choose Full-Fat Options
Plant-based milk alternatives and creamers can provide a boost of calories when choosing high calorie plant based foods. While almond and soy milk are popular, for extra calories look for:
- Coconut milk – A cup of full-fat coconut milk has 445 calories and 48 grams of fat. Use it as a creamer in coffee and smoothies, or as a milk substitute in cereal, granola, oatmeal and chia pudding.
- Cashew milk – Cashew milk is naturally creamy and when choosing a full-fat version it provides 60 calories and 5 grams of fat per cup. Cashew milk works great as a 1:1 substitute for cow’s milk and adds richness and body to baked goods, pancakes, French toast and mashed potatoes.
- Oat milk – Full-fat oat milk has 130 calories and 5 grams of fat per cup. Oat milk is naturally sweet and creamy, perfect for coffee, granola, porridge and vegan ice cream. Look for unsweetened versions and add your own sweetener to control the amount of added sugar.
- Rice milk – Rice milk tends to be higher in carbohydrates but full-fat versions still provide 90 calories and 2 grams of fat per cup. Rice milk has a naturally mild flavor and creamy texture, great for drinking on its own, using in cereal or adding to smoothies.
- Hemp milk – Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds and has a rich, nutty flavor. A cup of full-fat hemp milk has 170 calories and 10 grams of fat. Hemp milk contains protein, fiber, and healthy fats, use it as a substitute for cow’s milk in your coffee or pour it over granola and fresh fruit.
Try experimenting with different plant-based milk alternatives and creamers to boost the calorie content and richness of your meals. The options are plentiful, you just have to choose the full-fat versions and use them generously whenever possible. Adding extra oils, nut butters or seeds to your plant-based milk is another easy way to increase calories.
Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses. calorie plant based foods but also rich in vitamins and minerals, these root vegetables should be on your list of plant-based foods to boost your energy.
Sweet potatoes contain around 180 calories per medium spud. The majority of those calories come from carbohydrates, especially starch. Your body converts starch into glucose, which is your body’s primary source of energy. The glucose from a sweet potato can provide energy for hours.
Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese which provide other benefits. Vitamin A is important for eye health and cell growth. Vitamin C helps support the immune system and wound healing. Manganese helps with bone health and metabolism.
To prepare sweet potatoes, wash them thoroughly, prick them with a fork, and bake them in the oven at 400 F for about 50-60 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. You can also peel, cube, and roast them with some oil, salt, and spices. Boiling sweet potatoes for 15-20 minutes is also an option. Mash them or add them to soups and stews.
Some additional ways to add sweet potatoes to your diet:
- Sweet potato toast – Slice sweet potatoes, toast them and top with nut butter, bananas or avocado.
- Sweet potato pancakes – Grate sweet potatoes, mix into pancake batter and cook like regular pancakes.
- Sweet potato fries – Toss cut fries in oil, salt and spices and bake at 400 F until crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
- Black bean sweet potato enchiladas – Mash sweet potatoes with black beans and spices, fill tortillas and bake.
Sweet potatoes satisfy like a starchy carb but nourish like a superfood. Add these orange spuds to your menu and feel your energy soar.
Quinoa is considered a superfood for good reason. This tiny seed is packed with nutrients and one of the only high calorie plant based foods sources of complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids our bodies need.
A one cup serving of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, which is 16% of your daily needs. This protein is considered a “complete protein” because it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce on their own. Most plant-based proteins are lacking in one or more of these amino acids, so quinoa is a perfect option for vegans and vegetarians.
Quinoa is also high in fiber, with 5 grams per one cup cooked. Fiber helps keep you feeling full and satisfied, aids digestion, and maintains blood sugar levels. The high fiber content of quinoa makes it a smart choice for weight management and overall health.
In addition to protein and fiber, quinoa provides many vitamins and minerals. It’s a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and B vitamins. It also contains antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, which help prevent cell damage and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, so it’s ideal for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. It has a mild nutty flavor and fluffy texture similar to grains, so it works well as a substitute for wheat-based options. Use quinoa in place of rice, oats or barley in many recipes.
Quinoa may be tiny, but it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Add this superfood to your diet and enjoy the many health benefits it provides. Your body and taste buds will thank you!
Conclusion of High Calorie Plant Based Foods
So there you have it, 11 high calorie plant based foods that are high in calories to keep you fueled up. Whether you’re looking to gain weight or just boost your calorie intake in a healthy way, these options have got you covered. Nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, dried fruit—the list goes on. The best part is, not only are these foods high in calories, but they’re also packed with nutrients to nourish your body.
Next time you’re looking for an energy boost, turn to the power of plants. Fill up your plate with these nutritious options and feel good knowing you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to thrive. Power up the plant-based way!