10 High Calorie, Low Fat Foods and Snacks for Easy Weight Gain

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Fat provides more than double the calories per gram as carbohydrates or protein.

This makes fat-rich foods great for increasing calories and promoting weight gain.

However, not everyone who needs to gain weight can tolerate high-fat foods well.

For example, a high fat diet can worsen symptoms in people with pancreatitis or hepatitis.

Even without these conditions, a high fat diet may cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

The good news is that, while effective for increasing calories, you don’t need to rely on high-fat foods to gain weight.

This article lists the top 10 high calorie, low fat foods and snacks — each with at least 300 calories and less than 9 grams of fat — to help you gain weight.

high calorie low fat foods

1. High calorie smoothies

High calorie smoothies are great to have as a snack between meals.

You can load them with protein, low-fat milk or yogurt, and high calorie fruit.

Calories in liquid form tend to fill you up less than solid calories so smoothies are great if you struggle to eat enough calories to gain weight due to a poor appetite (1).

Here are two high calorie, low fat smoothie recipes to try:

Orange vanilla twist smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) frozen mango chunks
  • 2/3 (170 grams) vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop (33 grams) vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 cup (240 mL) orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend until smooth.

This shake provides:

  • Calories: 405
  • Fat: 1 grams
  • Carbs: 57 grams
  • Protein: 41 grams

Strawberry banana smoothie

Ingredients:

Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend until smooth.

This shake provides:

  • Calories: 358
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 55 grams
  • Protein: 34 grams

2. Oats

Oats are a whole grain rich in heart-healthy fiber and antioxidants like vitamin E (1).

You can purchase instant oatmeal or regular quick oats.

To get at least 300 calories, you would need to eat two packets of the instant oatmeal or 1 cup (80 grams) of the quick oats.

You can cook either with water, or for extra calories and protein, skim milk.

Top with berries and stir in maple syrup or honey for even more calories without the fat.

You can also add quick oats to smoothies. Just blend them into a powder before you add the other ingredients.

One cup (80 grams) of quick oats provides:

  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
  • Carbs: 27 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

3. Potatoes

Potatoes are generally not seen as a low-fat food since they’re usually fried, sauteed, or piled with butter and high fat cream.

By themselves, however, potatoes contain no fat but plenty of calories to help you gain weight if you boil or cook them in the microwave.

Potatoes are also an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and various B vitamins.

Mash your potatoes with skimmed milk or a low-fat margarine spread to keep the fat content low and season with salt and pepper.

You can also slice or chop into wedges, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and toss in an air-fryer with a small amount of olive oil.

Two medium-sized (346 grams) potatoes provides (1):

  • Calories: 328
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 74 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams

4. Dried fruit

Dried fruit is fruit that has had most of its water content removed through drying methods.

This shrinks the fruit, leaving a small, calorie-packed dried fruit.

Raisins, dates, prunes, figs, and apricots are the most common types of dried fruits, but there are many others including mangoes, pineapple, cranberries, bananas, and apples.

Dried fruit is ready to eat and easy to take along.

Three-quarters cup (120 gram) of mixed dried fruit provides (1):

  • Calories: 357
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 94 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams

5. Protein pancakes

Protein pancakes are a great alternative to traditional pancakes for boosting your protein intake.

Providing a good number of calories, protein pancakes are also great for weight gain.

You can make your own by mixing a whey or plant-based protein powder with regular pancake mix, or you can purchase protein pancake mix from brands like FlapJacked.

Depending on whether you make your own protein pancake mix or you purchase it premixed, the protein content can range from 15 to 30 grams per serving.

For extra calories, add regular maple syrup and top with berries.

Three-quarters cup (83 grams) of FlapJacked Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix provides (1):

  • Calories: 315
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbs: 36 grams
  • Protein: 30 grams

6. Rice

Rice is a versatile grain that complements many dishes.

Among the many varieties, white and brown are the most commonly consumed.

Brown rice is a whole grain whereas white is not.

Brown rice has a slightly more favorable nutrient profile compared with white rice but both types are low in fat and provide a good number of calories from carbs.

To keep the fat content low, cook rice in chicken broth, drizzle with soy sauce, or add 1–2 teaspoons of lemon-pepper seasoning for flavor.

One-and-one-half cups (237 grams) of cooked white rice provides (1):

  • Calories: 306
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 66 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

7. Granola

Granola is a classic breakfast and snack food comprised of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and other sweeteners.

Though it can contain almost any fruit, nut or grain ingredient.

Granola is easy to snack on and transportable, but it’s also great with low-fat Greek yogurt for layering or in a bowl with low-fat milk.

Many types of granola can be nut- and seed-heavy and therefore high in fat, so make sure to look for ones that provide less than 9 grams per 300 calories.

Three-quarters cup (81 grams) of Bob’s Red Mill Classic Granola provides (1):

  • Calories: 330
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 62 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams

8. Homemade trail mix

Trail mix is a snack mix usually comprised of granola, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.

These ingredients are calorie-dense and, except for a few, low in fat.

You can purchase different varieties of trail mix or make your own.

Here’s a recipe to try that combines two of the high calorie, low fat foods on this list:

Ingredients:

Combine ingredients in a bowl and toss.

This homemade trail mix provides:

  • Calories: 304
  • Fat: 6.5 grams
  • Carbs: 59 grams
  • Protein: 4.5 gram

9. Honey toast with banana

Honey toast with banana is a great high calorie, low fat snack for weight gain that is quick and easy to make.

It doesn’t make much of a difference nutritionally whether you like white or whole grain but the later offers slightly more fiber.

The honey provides sweetness but also offers antimicrobial properties.

Here’s what you need to make honey toast with banana:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp (21 grams) honey
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread, toasted

Drizzle honey on toast and top with banana slices.

This snack provides (1):

  • Calories: 365
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 84 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams

10. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of legume.

They are a good source of protein and various vitamins and minerals, including zinc, copper, vitamin B6, and folate.

Chickpeas are also a good high-calorie vegetable if you eat enough of them.

You can eat chickpeas right out of the can or you can roast them.

If you want to roast them, try flavoring them with a lemon-pepper mix consisting of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper and salt.

One-and-one-quarter-cup (325 grams) of chickpeas provides:

  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbs: 45 grams
  • Protein: 15 grams

A look at the 10 best high calorie, low fat foods for weight gain

Here’s a quick look at how these high calorie, low fat foods compare:

Food or SnackServing SizeCaloriesFat
High calorie smoothies1 smoothie358–4051–2 grams
Honey toast with banana2 toasts3652 grams
Dried fruit3/4 cup (120 grams)3571 gram
Potatoes2 medium-sized (346 grams)3280 grams
Protein pancakes3/4 cup (83 grams)31530 grams
White rice1 1/2 cups (237 grams)3062.5 grams
Granola3/4 cup (81 grams)3068 grams
Homemade trail mix2 1/4 cups (84 grams)3046.5 grams
Oats1 cup (80 grams)3002.5 grams
Chickpeas1 1/2 cup (390 grams)3000 grams

The bottom line

These high calorie, low fat foods and snacks are great if you have a condition like pancreatitis or you don’t otherwise tolerate fatty foods well.

Most of these options are low in protein so make sure you get plenty throughout the day.

Protein supplements like protein are generally low in fat and can be useful for increasing your protein intake if you struggle to get enough.

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