Sticking to a vegan, plant-based diet might mean you’re struggling to fill your plate with the amount of calories you need. Makes sense, plants are ridiculously low in calories, but there are a few foods you should consider adding to your diet to get those extra calories in.
Here are 21 foods that have a nice number of calories.
These foods are also budget-friendly and relatively easy to find. You can find these items at stores like Trader Joe’s.
All calories listed are estimations from My Fitness Pal.
1 – Sunflower seeds (no shells)
Calories: 372 calories, ½ cup
Don’t bother with the shells – it’ll slow you down. Just grab sunflower seeds that are shell-less so you can just eat them by the fistfuls without the time-consuming effort of breaking the shells. You can add sunflower seeds to a salad for a nice added crunch.
2 – Quinoa
318 calories, ½ cup
Quinoa has an awesome subtle, nutty flavor. You can have quinoa like you would rice – just plain. Or, you can add it to a salad, stews, or make veggie burgers.
3 – Cashews
Calories: 245 calories, 35 pieces
Cashews have this naturally smoky and sweet flavor profile that makes it a real treat to eat. It’s one of my favorite nuts and definitely wins the high-calorie game, compared to peanuts.
4 – Almonds
Calories: 245 calories, 35 pieces
Have them sliced, have them whole, they are good both ways.
5 – Avocados
Calories: 235 calories, 1 medium
My favorite way to have avocados is on top of toast, with a pinch of garlic salt and black pepper. You can also throw them into a smoothie for an extra boost of calories and creaminess.
6 – Almond Butter
Calories: 210 calories, 2 tablespoons
Almond butter has a tad bit more calories than peanut butter – just choose which you like most. Treat almond butter as you would peanut butter. You can add it to smoothie, toast, or eat it straight.
7 – Peanut Butter
Calories: 190 calories, 2 tablespoons
Peanut butter is pretty much a given. With just two tablespoons of peanut butter, you’re getting about 190 calories. You can eat it straight, just throw it in a smoothie, or have it with sliced bananas.
8 – Lentils
180 calories, 1/4 cup (uncooked)
Lentils is one my favorite foods. It has so much fiber and protein – and it’s so easy to prepare. My favorite way to have them is in a lentil stew.
9 – Peanuts
Calories: 170 calories, 35 pieces
Just like any nut, you can use peanuts as a snack, throw it into a salad, or top it on morning oats.
10 – Hummus
Calories: 160 calories, 68g
You can either make this yourself, or get it from the grocery store. Just take a look at the nutritional value and ingredients to make sure you’re getting something that’s close to being plant-based, without any odd ingredients.
11 – Oats
Calories: 150 calories, ½ cup dry
One cup of dry oats doesn’t sound like much, but it will bulk up in water. Easiest way to consume them? You guessed it: smoothies. My favorite type of oats is oat bran, which you can usually find at Target, Safeway, or Amazon.
12 – Coconut Oil
Calories: 120 calories, 1 tablespoons
Although coconut oil is not considered a whole-food, it can still be used as a healthier alternative for oils. If you love the taste of coconuts, you’ll really love coconut oil. It adds a great flavor to just about anything – smoothies, homemade desserts, veggie burgers.
13 – Chia seeds
Calories: 120 calories, 2 tablespoons
The easiest way to have chia seeds is in a smoothie. You’ll hardly know it’s even in there. It’s tasteless, but it will give you some added texture to whatever you add it to. Another way to use chia seeds is throw them into a pancake batter or any kind of plant-based dessert.
14 – Raisins
Calories: 120 calories, ¼ cup
They’re sweet, tasty, and have a lot more calories than you might think. You can eat them straight away, or add them to a salad, use them for a pasta dish, make your own trail mix with nuts, or make a dessert with them.
15 – Black Beans
110 calories, ½ cup
Other beans are similar in the calorie makeup. Explore your options and figure out which ones you like best.
16 – Potatoes
Calories: 110 calories, 1 medium potato
You can have your potatoes baked, but if you want it easier to eat, cut them into french fries and bake them in the oven. I also like to throw a potato in a stew or soup, or use cook it in a curry-based dish.
17 – Bananas
105 calories, 1 banana
Easiest fast-food ever. Just peel and eat. They also go perfectly with peanut butter.
18 – Brown Rice
105 calories, ½ cup (cooked)
Make stir-fry, a rice bowl, or just a rice casserole.
19 – Dried Dates
100 calories, 5 dates
They are naturally sweet and a great alternative to sugar. For example, in a homemade, plant-based applesauce.
20 – Soy Milk
Calories: 100 calories, 1 cup
Soy milk is one of the higher-calorie, plant-based milk. It’s also creamy, thick, and goes great with oatmeal, shakes, smoothies, or even just drink it whole.
21 – Green Olives
25 calories, 11 olives
Olives are these little green magical things that are both salty and rich in flavor. Personally, I love to just take a fork and eat them straight from the jar. But if you rather not do that, you can add them to just about anything – rice, salads, pizzas, make bruschetta, in pasta, or chuck them into a stew.
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