16 high-calorie foods
Support your body with nutrient-dense, high-calorie recipes, from a peanut butter smoothie to halloumi grain salad and coconut chicken curry
Looking for high-calorie recipes? Whether you want to support your body before or after exercise, or you're looking to increase your daily intake, it's important to choose healthy, nutrient-dense foods which support your energy, recovery and overall wellbeing.
Try our ideas below then take a look at our 20 high-energy foods to fuel your day plus our high-protein meals and best quick healthy recipes. For summer inspiration, check out our healthy summer recipes.
16 high-calorie foods
Rice is a great nutritious base for any meal. Our filling, versatile and budget-friendly spicy Mexican rice can be eaten on its own or, if you want to add some extra protein, it’s great with beans, crumbled feta, cooked chicken or prawns stirred through.
Scale up the calories in your morning smoothie by adding nut butter, dates, banana or even avocado. It's these high-energy ingredients which make smoothies the perfect pre- or post-workout fuel. Next time you want to get your fix, try our peanut butter, banana and berry smoothie.
The humble potato can get a bad rep for being a starchy carb. It's worth remembering that potatoes are filled with important nutrients like fibre and vitamin C. Boil, steam, fry or mash – or use them to make our hearty, comforting potato, chorizo and kale stew. What more could you want from a midweek meal?
Salmon is something of a 'superfood' as it's packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Try it pan-fried with watercress sauce, served with steamed seasonal greens and new potatoes. Love salmon? Then why not branch out and try other delicious types of oily fish, like mackerel and sardines.
5. Full-fat milk
Changing to full-fat milk in your morning tea or coffee is one simple switch you can make to increase calories. Another is choosing wonderfully hearty recipes like our aubergine lasagne, which uses full-fat milk to give the white sauce extra creaminess. Have a look at our other top lasagne recipes.
6. Nuts and their nut butters
Whether you prefer a dollop of almond butter in your porridge or a satay dressing on your salad, there are plenty of sweet and savoury ways to add nuts and their butters to your meals. Serve up our spicy peanut and Szechuan pepper noodles for a quick midweek dinner.
7. Dried fruit
Sweet and good for you (when eaten in moderation), dried fruit is a great healthy snack option. We like to blitz dates with nuts and seeds to make our no-bake vegan flapjack bars but you could look out of for any recipes which contain dried apricots, cranberries, apple, banana or raisins.
8. Olive oil
Of course you can use olive oil to make salad dressings, but our favourite way to use it is in a jar of pesto for drizzling on everything from baked salmon fillets to pappardelle pasta, roasted vegetable and lentil salad and bacon and egg flatbreads.
Most of the calories come from the golden yellow yolk, which is exceptionally rich in nutrients. In fact, when eaten whole an egg can supply almost every nutrient you need. Try topping comforting chorizo stew with soft-boiled eggs and serve with a zesty avocado salsa.
Although eating cheese is a good way to eat more calories, it's important to balance it with other nutritious ingredients like beans, grains, nuts and vegetables so you're still nourishing your body in a healthy way. Halloumi is perfect for this – it's delicious in toasties, veg burgers, aubergine pilaf and our grain salad with caper dressing.
11. Dark chocolate
Everything is good for you in moderation, that counts for chocolate, too. And when it comes to choosing chocolate, the general rule is the darker the better! We like to use it to make these crunchy, chewy dark chocolate and olive oil cookies.
Coconut milk is a storecupboard staple that works wonderfully with aromatic Thai-style baked salmon, in desserts like self-saucing caramel-coconut pudding and it makes a rich, fragrant sauce for dishes such as our Sri Lankan cashew and chicken curry.
Avocados make salad dressings and ice creams super creamy, so why not put them in a pasta sauce? It’s a great way of using up overly ripe avocados and will top up both your intake of calories and fibre. If you'd rather keep it classic, though, you can always check our best avocado on toast recipes.
14. Full-fat yogurt
Make the most of full-fat yogurt – both Greek-style and natural – by using it to marinate chicken, dollop on spicy stews, layer up with oats or top with honey and sesame halloumi with tabbouleh.
15. Red meats
Eating red meat occasionally can be good for you, as long as you skip the processed stuff and serve it with plenty of veg. Check out our top steak recipes then try our coffee-rubbed steak with lemon coriander butter. Or, if you prefer lamb, browse our best recipes and try our slow-cooked lamb gyros.
Avoid the additives which are often found in shop-bought breads and make your own loaf instead – our tiger bread is especially good. Use it to make epic sandwiches or drizzle torn-up pieces with oil and bake in the oven to make croutons for salad.
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