A common question is whether a plant-based diet is a good way to lose weight, however, some people have a hard time maintaining their weight while following a plant-based diet. This may happen, for example, when training for a competitive sport or simply when diets are not well-balanced, or do not provide adequate energy.
If you’ve been struggling to maintain your weight or wish to gain weight on a plant-based diet, you need to make every bite count. Choose high-calorie plant-based foods every time you eat. These foods are higher in energy density, which means they have more calories in a given volume.
An effective way to increase energy intake is to eat foods that are higher in fat. Fat is over twice as energy-dense as carbohydrates or protein.
When including foods high in fat, focus on foods that contain heart-healthy fats that help prevent inflammation and heart disease. See below for 4 examples of foods that are high in healthy fats. They are easy to add to many dishes and snacks.
Here Are the 4 Healthy, High-calorie Plant-based Foods
Seeds – such as sunflower, hemp, and chia – are an easy way to boost the nutrition of any meal or snack. They also boast a fair amount of protein. What’s more, they are a source of healthy fats and fiber. It’s easy to include the serving size of a handful in your day. Sprinkle them on cereal, salads, or in smoothies – the options are endless!
This creamy fruit can serve as a heart-healthy, nutrient-dense base for a dip or spread. You can spread it on sprouted bread, add it to salads, or whip up a batch of guacamole! It is an energy-dense food that can help you to maintain your weight.
3. Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts, with their high content of heart-healthy fats, make a quick and crunchy energy-dense snack.
They are easy to add in throughout the day! Add some nuts to dried fruit, another energy-dense food, to make a trail mix that you can munch on between meals.
Nut butters are another way to pack a powerful punch when it comes to energy, heart-healthy fats, and protein. You can use them as part of sandwiches, smoothies, cereals, parfaits and fruit dips. Keep in mind to choose nuts and nut butters that are natural, without any added sugar or salt.
4. Olive Oil
A staple of Mediterranean diets, olive oil can be used in many dishes where fat is required. It can be drizzled on salads as part of a simple vinaigrette, or added to soups and spreads. It provides an easy boost to the energy density of your meals!
Other tips to help you gain weight on a plant-based diet
It may also be easier to eat something small every few hours rather than focus on two or three large meals in the day. More eating occasions provide you with more opportunities to get all the nutrients you need in a day. Snacks may also be less overwhelming than sitting down to a huge plate of food!
If you are looking for something quick to give you a boost of energy and nutrients, try making a smoothie. It is an easy and fun way to incorporate many high-calorie plant-based foods. You may find that drinking something liquid is easier than eating something solid when you are trying to increase your energy intake.
Make sure you speak with your doctor to see what works for you.
Do you have any tips for ways to boost the energy density of the plant-based diet, or to help gain weight on a plant-based diet? Share them with us in the comments below!
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