10 High-Calorie, Low-Sodium Foods for Easy Weight Gain

Gaining weight is a matter of consistently consuming more calories than your body needs.

This is best accomplished by prioritizing high-calorie foods.

However, if you’re following a low-sodium diet, you may wonder how you can increase your calories without also consuming too much sodium or salt.

This article highlights the best high-calorie, low-sodium foods — each with fewer than 140 mg of sodium — to help you gain weight.

high calorie  low sodium foods

A look at the best high-calorie, low-sodium foods

Here’s a quick look at the 10 best high-calorie, low-sodium foods:

FoodServing SizeCaloriesSodium
Salmon5 ounces (140 grams)363105 mg
Dates1/2 cup (100 grams)2661 mg
Avocado1 medium-sized (150-grams)24011 mg
Dried fruit1/2 cup (80 grams)23826 mg
Peanut butter2 tbsp (33 grams)190140 mg
Whole Milk Greek Yogurt1 cup (227 grams)187100 mg
Almonds1 oz (24 almonds)1700 mg
Whole milk1 cup (240 mL)150120 mg
Quick oats1/2 cup (40 grams)1500 mg
Olive oil1 tbsp (14 grams)1200 mg
High-calorie, low-sodium food list

1. Salmon

Salmon is an oily fish rich in heart-healthy omega-3 acids, which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Diets rich in oily fish like salmon have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer like breast and colorectal as well as improved cognitive function, especially with aging (2, 3, 4).

Fresh salmon is the best choice since it contains the least sodium but frozen salmon is also a good low-sodium choice.

On the other hand, canned salmon tends to be high in sodium due to greater processing.

One 5-ounce (140-gram) portion of salmon provides (1):

  • Calories: 363
  • Sodium: 105 mg
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Fat: 23 grams
  • Protein: 36 grams

Ways to enjoy salmon for weight gain:

  • season with lemon pepper and roast or bake
  • pan fry using olive oil with baby potatoes
  • bake, shred, and combine with avocado and other salad ingredients

2. Dates

Dates are a calorie-rich fruit and virtually sodium-free.

Medjool and Deglet Noor dates are the most commonly consumed date varieties.

They are a good source of potassium, copper, magnesium, and vitamin B6.

Four dates, or about one-half cup (100-gram) serving, provides (1):

  • Calories: 266
  • Sodium: 1 mg
  • Carbs: 72 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams

Ways to enjoy dates for weight gain:

  • slice and top on low-sodium toast like Ezekiel bread
  • chop and sprinkle over Greek yogurt
  • sprinkle on oatmeal to add sweetness

3. Avocado

Avocado is another high-calorie fruit with a minimal amount of sodium.

They are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber.

Avocados are also an excellent source of potassium and vitamins C, E, K, and several B vitamins.

A ripe avocado that is ripe and ready to eat will give to firm but gentle pressure.

One medium-sized avocado (150 grams) provides (1):

  • Calories: 240
  • Sodium: 11 mg
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fat: 22 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams

Ways to enjoy avocado for weight gain:

  • sprinkle with pepper and enjoy alone
  • top them on eggs
  • add frozen avocado chunks to smoothies and shakes

4. Dried fruit

Dried fruit is fruit that has been dried to remove most of its water content.

Dried fruit retains most of the nutrients as its fresh counterpart but is condensed in a much smaller, energy-dense package.

Like its fresh counterpart, dried fruit is also low in sodium making it an excellent high-calorie, low-sodium food.

The most common varieties of dried fruit include raisins, dates, prunes, figs, and apricots.

One-half cup (80 grams) of mixed dried fruit provides (1):

  • Calories: 238
  • Sodium: 26 mg
  • Carbs: 62 grams
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams

Ways to enjoy dried fruit for weight gain:

  • add to oatmeal
  • use in a Greek yogurt parfait
  • combine them with unsalted nuts, seeds, popcorn, and chocolate chips for a low-sodium trail mix

5. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is the perfect kitchen staple — it’s versatile and has a long shelf-life.

It’s also rich in calories and low in sodium.

Regular Jiff peanut butter provides 140 mg of sodium but you can opt for a low-sodium version like Simply Jif, which provides 54% less sodium than the original.

Two tablespoons (33 grams) of peanut butter provides (1):

  • Calories: 190
  • Sodium: 140 mg
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams

Ways to enjoy peanut butter for weight gain:

  • mix in oatmeal
  • add to shakes
  • eat it straight from the jar

6. Whole milk Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is made with the same main ingredients as regular yogurt but undergoes a straining process that reduces the total volume.

It’s much thicker and more protein-rich than regular yogurt.

Greek yogurt also provides less sodium and more calories than regular yogurt, making it the better high-calorie, low-sodium food for weight gain.

Opting for the whole-milk Greek Yogurt varieties provides around 20% more calories than its reduced-fat counterparts.

One cup (227 grams) of whole milk Greek yogurt provides (1):

  • Calories: 187
  • Sodium: 100 mg
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams

Ways to enjoy whole milk Greek yogurt for weight gain:

  • top with dates and nuts
  • add to smoothies
  • mix with your favorite flavor of protein powder

7. Unsalted almonds

Almonds are the perfect grab-and-go snack.

They’re calorie-dense thanks to their high content of healthy fats and are naturally free of sodium.

However, if you don’t like the taste of natural or unsalted almonds, most salted varieties still provide less than 140 mg of sodium per serving, still making them a low-sodium choice.

One ounce (about 24 nuts) of almonds provides (1):

  • Calories: 170
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

Ways to enjoy unsalted almonds for weight gain:

  • enjoy as a snack alone
  • add to salads
  • combine them with unsalted seeds, popcorn, and dried fruit for a low-sodium trail mix

8. Whole milk

Milk is an excellent high-calorie, low-sodium drink.

Milk is a good option if you struggle to consume enough calories to gain weight.

This is because liquid calories tend to fill you up less easily than solid calories from food.

Similar to Greek Yogurt, opting for whole fat provides more of the calories you need to gain weight compared with reduced-fat options.

If you’re allergic or sensitive to dairy products like milk, soy milk is the best plant-based alternative.

Soy milk provides fewer calories than whole milk but provides the same amount of protein.

One cup (240 mL) of whole milk provides:

  • Calories: 150
  • Sodium: 120 mg
  • Carbs: 11 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams

Ways to enjoy whole milk for weight gain:

  • use as the base for shakes
  • use to make oatmeal
  • use to mix protein powder

9. Oats

Oats are a budget-friendly kitchen staple.

They are a whole grain and rich in heart-healthy fiber and other nutrients like vitamin E and iron.

What’s more, they are naturally sodium-free.

They are also naturally gluten-free, but they may come in contact with gluten-containing grains during manufacturing.

If you follow a gluten-free diet, look for certified gluten-free products, such as GF HarvestBakery on Main, and Montana Gluten Free.

One-half cup (40 grams) of quick oats provides (1):

  • Calories: 150
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Carbs: 27 grams
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

Ways to enjoy oats for weight gain:

  • make oatmeal using milk and mix in peanut butter
  • top oatmeal with fruit and nuts
  • blend in shakes

10. Olive oil

Olive oil is rich in healthy fats and compounds that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s naturally free of sodium and rich in calories, making it a great high-calorie, low-sodium choice.

Of the various types, extra virgin olive oil is the least processed and tends to be considered the healthiest type since it retains more of its nutrients.

One tablespoon (14 grams) of olive oil provides (1):

  • Calories: 120
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

Ways to enjoy olive oil for weight gain:

  • add to shakes
  • sear on salmon and other meats
  • use to roast veggies

The bottom line

These high-calorie, low-sodium foods are perfect if you need to gain weight but keep your sodium intake low.

There are various ways to enjoy the foods on this list, and you can even combine several for an added boost in calories.

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