“15 High Calorie Vegetables for Weight Gain” was written by Courtney Payan. Edited/reviewed by Katie Dodd, MS, RDN, CSG, LD, FAND. Courtney is a dietetic intern at Oregon Health Sciences University.
Whether you are trying to gain or just maintain your weight, high calorie vegetables can be a nutritious addition to any meal.
Not only do these vegetables provide additional calories, but they also contain generous nutrients. Making them a healthy choice when looking at adding calories to your day.
High Calorie Vegetables
Many people are looking to find high calorie foods to stop unintended weight loss and/or promote weight gain.
While vegetables might not be the first food group that comes to mind when looking to gain weight, they can be a healthy and nutritious way to increase your daily intake of calories.
Additionally, including high calorie vegetables in your diet provides essential vitamins and minerals to health support both your physical and mental health.
You can purchase vegetables fresh, canned, dried, or frozen.
The form in which they are purchased can also alter their nutrient content (i.e. vitamins and minerals, but not calories). While it might be surprising; frozen, dried, or canned vegetables can often retain their nutrients longer than fresh vegetables.
Basically, the longer fresh vegetables are stored (either in-store or at-home), the fewer nutrients (vitamins and minerals) they have.
Canned, dried, or frozen vegetables also have an extensive shelf life, making these a convenient addition to any meal. So don’t discount these as good vegetable options!
Starchy Vegetables for Weight Gain
Starchy vegetables (i.e. corn, peas, potatoes) can be an excellent choice when looking for a high calorie vegetable. And they can also be prepared in various ways!
You can bake, boil, or mash them to make your favorite starchy and nutritious treat.
These foods are also a good source of potassium, which aids in nerve function, muscle contraction, and helps promote coronary health.
Legumes for Weight Gain
Legumes include beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts.
Often times legumes are typically classified as a starch or protein. But we are including them in our high calorie vegetable list because they are a great source of calories!
Not only are legumes an excellent source of calories, but they also are a good source of protein and fiber, as well as various vitamins and minerals.
Legumes are often purchased either in dried or canned form.
Adding High Calorie Vegetables to Smoothies or Soups
Try my favorite simple recipe for a delicious soup.
Butternut Squash Soup:
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Diced White Onion
- 1 tsp salt (optional)
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut Butternut Squash in half, and place on baking sheet.
- Drizzle olive oil over open side of squash, add salt and pepper.
- Cook in oven for 45-55 minutes or until tender throughout.
- Sauté onion and balsamic vinegar in pot, until onion is soft.
- Once the butternut squash is cool, remove seeds. Then scoop contents of squash and combine into pot.
- Add vegetable stock and purée until desired consistency has been reached. Add extra pepper if desired.
- Heat to preferred temperature and enjoy!
15 High Calorie Vegetables for Weight Gain
Without further ado, here is our list of 15 high calorie vegetables. You’ll find the calorie counts and more details below.
- Kidney Beans
- Sweet Potato
- Acorn squash
- Russet Potatoes
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Red Potatoes
High Calorie Vegetables [Calorie Counts]
|Soybeans||1 cup||376 kcal|
|Sweet Potato||1 cup (mashed)||249 kcal|
|Avocado||1 cup (cubes)||240 kcal|
|Lentils||1 cup||230 kcal|
|Kidney Beans||1 cup||225 kcal|
|Acorn Squash||1 squash (4in diameter)||172 kcal|
|Russet Potatoes||1 medium||164 kcal|
|Rutabaga||1 cup (chopped)||151 kcal|
|Red Potatoes||1 medium||151 kcal|
|Yams||1 cup (cubes)||177 kcal|
|Corn||1 cup||125 kcal|
|Green Peas||1 cup||117 kcal|
|Parsnip||1 cup (sliced)||100 kcal|
|Shiitake Mushroom||1 cup (pieces)||81 kcal|
|Artichoke||1 medium artichoke||60 kcal|
Soybeans contain 376 calories per cup.
Delicious soybeans are native to Asia and can typically be found in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. These oval green beans are typically sold frozen in Western Countries and either in their pods or pre-shelled.
Soybeans can also be made into a variety of foods such a miso, tofu, tempeh, soybean oil, and soy sauce.
They are composed of roughly 12% protein, as well as a good source of fiber, vitamin K and antioxidants. The FDA has also approved claims that soybeans are beneficial for heart health, by means of lowering LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol.
Ways to Use Soybeans
- Eat out of shell
- Eat pre-shelled
- As tofu, tempeh, or miso
- Eat in soups
- Use beans in salads
Sweet Potato contains 249 calories per cup.
These sweet and starchy root vegetables are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Sweet Potatoes are packed with vitamin A, making them beneficial to support eye health and function.
Additionally, they are an excellent source of antioxidants, which are protective against free-radical damage and chronic diseases. Overall, sweet potatoes are a powerful food to incorporate into a healthy diet.
Ways to Use Sweet Potato
- Bake and eat whole
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Pureed in soups
- In a high calorie smoothie
- Baked Sweet Potato fries or chips
Add butter and brown sugar to sweet potatoes for even more calories.
One medium avocado contains 240 calories.
Avocados are native to Central and South America, with California being one of the current largest avocado producers.
These delicious green treats are technically a berry. However, they can be found in a variety of dishes and are often used as a vegetable in most dishes.
Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and potassium. They are also an excellent topping for many dishes, making them a satiating and delicious addition.
How to Use Avocados
- Make guacamole
- In high calorie smoothies
- In a high calorie protein bowl
- With breakfast eggs
- As a topping in salads
- As a topping in soups
1 cup of Lentils contains 230 calories.
Lentils are from the legume family and can often be found in a variety of colors. They are also made up of 25% protein, making them an excellent source of plant-based protein.
These little but mighty beans are also loaded with nutrients such as B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
In addition, lentils contain fiber to assist with gut health. They are also relatively inexpensive and are excellent in soups.
Ways to Use Lentils:
- Make Lentil Soup
- Use in a baked dish
- Boil and enjoy on their own
- Make a high protein lentil bowl
One cup of kidney beans contains 225 calories.
These starchy legumes are native to Central America and are named for their unique kidney shape and color. Although they can be toxic when eaten raw, when adequately cooked they are a delicious addition to a healthy diet.
They are also a good source of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. Additionally, beans are a slow-release carbohydrate, making them low on the glycemic index and ideal for individuals with type two diabetes.
Ways to Use Kidney Beans:
- Boil and eat them on their own
- Make a bean and cheese burrito
- Include in a high calorie protein bowl
- Use in soups and stews
There are 172 calories in one squash with a four-inch diameter.
Acorn squashes are a type of winter squash and are especially popular in North America. Known for their distinct shape, nutty flavor, and long shelf life, acorn squash is also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
These squashes are a good source of nutrients including vitamin A, B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron.
They are also a good source of antioxidants and carotenoids, which may be preventative against cancer and diabetes, as well as promote both eye and cognitive health.
Ways to Use Acorn Squash:
- Bake and enjoy
- Cube and Sauté
- Use as a dessert filling
Add butter and brown sugar to cooked acorn squash for an extra boost of calories.
There are 164 calories in one medium Russet Potatoes.
Potatoes are root vegetables native to the South American Andes, with Peru being famous for their wide variety. Due to their versatility in dishes, long shelf life, and ability to grow in different climates, potatoes are now grown all over the world.
While potatoes are often regarded as unhealthy and associated with heavily fried and processed food, they are quite nutritious when baked or boiled.
Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. They provide antioxidants as well as slow-release starch, which can be beneficial towards maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
How to Use Russet Potatoes:
- Bake them
- Boil them
- Bake fries or chips
- Use them in soups or stews
Add butter, sour cream, and cheese for a high calorie boost.
One cup of chopped Rutabaga contains 151 calories.
Rutabagas or “Swedish Turnips” are a root vegetable native to Northern Europe. They are round, beige in color and look like a turnip. Their taste is described as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip.
These turnips are an excellent source in antioxidants, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Rutabagas also contain selenium, which can improve immune function and brain health, as well as phosphorus, which is essential for bone health.
Ways to Use Rutabaga:
- In Pie
- Slice and bake as chips
- Dice and add to salad
- Eat raw as a snack
- Mash with butter and whole milk
One medium red potato contains 151 calories.
Similar to their Russet cousins, Red potatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
As well as providing antioxidants and acting as a slow-release starch. However, they contain slightly less calories, fiber, and carbohydrates; and slightly more niacin and vitamin K.
Potatoes also hold much of their nutrients in their skin, so peeling them can decrease their nutrient profile. So, try leaving the skin on next time you make red mashed potatoes to get the full benefits that Red Potatoes have to offer!
How to Use Red Potatoes:
- Make Red-skinned mashed potatoes
- Bake them with olive oil and Rosemary
- Use them in stews
- Puree them in Baked Red Potato Soup
One cup of cubed yams contains 146 calories.
Yams are a root vegetable indigenous to Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. They are like Sweet Potatoes but less sweet and starchier. Yams are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C.
They are also an excellent source of fiber, potassium and manganese which are essential for both bone and heart health. These root vegetables are also a good source of copper, which is necessary for red blood cell production as well as iron absorption.
How to Use Yams
- Bake and enjoy alone
- Make mashed yams
- Cube and sauté
One cup of corn has 125 calories.
Corn is native to Mexico and is now the most produced crop in the world. It is commonly grown to use as animal feed, fuel, or as produce. Corn can be eaten in various ways and is usually used as a vegetable or as a cereal grain.
Sweet corn is usually eaten on the cob or canned and contains calories from mostly carbohydrates. It also contains B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.
It also contains carotenoids, which can prevent age related macular degeneration and cataracts. Corn also contains fiber which is essential for gut health.
How to Use Corn:
- Eat on the cob
- Eat off the cob
- Use on pizza
- Use in a protein bowl
- Make corn chowder with cream and butter
There are 117 calories in a cup of green peas.
Green peas are a starchy legume, and are usually sold fresh, canned or frozen.
Green peas are high in fiber, carbohydrates, and protein. They are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, K, and C, as well as thiamine and folate. Which can be preventative towards developing chronic diseases.
How to Use Green Peas:
- Make pea soup
- Boil frozen peas
- Add them to stews
There are 100 calories in one cup of sliced parsnip.
Parsnips are root vegetables that are beige in color and have a tubular shape like carrots. Their flavor can be described as both sweet and nutty in taste.
Parsnip is high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate. It also contains several other micronutrients and antioxidants, which are all beneficial towards a healthy balanced diet.
Ways to Use Parsnip
- Roasted as a side dish
- In soups
- Eat plain
- Mash with butter and cream
1 cup of Shiitake Mushrooms contains 81 calories.
Shiitake Mushrooms are native to East Asia. It a fungus that grows on decaying wood and can be purchased fresh or dried. It can also be purchased as a dietary supplement, commonly used as a medicinal mushroom in Eastern medicine.
Shiitake Mushrooms are a great source of fiber, copper, and vitamin B5. Mushrooms are also the only natural plant source to contain vitamin D, which helps support bone health.
In addition, there is some evidence that Shiitake Mushrooms can boost the immune system, promote coronary health, and have anti-cancer properties. However, further research is needed to support these claims.
Ways to Use Shiitake Mushrooms:
- Use on Pizza
- Throw in a vegetable stir fry
- Use in soups
- Make cream of mushroom soup
There are 60 calories in one medium artichoke.
Artichokes are a type of thistle native to the Mediterranean and have been used for their potential medicinal benefits for centuries. Among the ancient, claimed health benefits of artichoke are improved liver health, heart health, and digestion. However, further research is needed to confirm these theories.
These leafy green thistles are loaded with nutrients, and particularly high in fiber, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamin C and K.
Ways to Use Artichoke:
- Bake them
- Eat them with a dip
- Use artichoke hearts in salads
- Throw the hearts in a protein bowl or pasta salad
Dip artichokes in mayonnaise for an extra calorie boost.
Conclusion: 15 High Calorie Vegetables for Weight Gain
I hope that you found this article a helpful resource in selecting high calorie vegetables to add to you diet. Please check out our other blogs for more information on these topics, such as 15 High Calorie Fruit for Weight Gain.
Thank you for reading, and best of luck on your nutrition goals!