How To Gain Weight as a Vegan?

Looking to put on a few extra pounds as a vegan? It’s totally possible!

This article offers evidence-based strategies to help you achieve your weight gain goals while following a vegan diet.

It addresses the challenges of gaining weight on a plant-based diet. On top of that, it provides practical tips on incorporating high-calorie plant foods into your meals.

Get ready to nourish your body, maximize your calorie intake, and enjoy the process of gaining weight on a vegan diet.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding caloric density is critical for gaining weight on a vegan diet.
  • Focus on consuming more calories than burned for the best effects.
  • Incorporate nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil for healthy fats and extra calories.
  • Use supplements, such as B12, vitamin D, and iodine, and create a meal plan focused on calorie-dense food groups.

Challenges of Gaining Weight on a Vegan Diet

Vegan diets are usually rich in protein and healthy fats. However, many vegans struggle with a negative caloric deficit. This is due to the high fiber and water content in plant-based foods that make you feel full quickly.

But don’t fret; there’s a way around this.

Here are some strategies to help you navigate this journey.

  1. First, consider your food choices. Opt for calorie-dense foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and cooked grains. Eating larger portions of these foods can help you increase your calorie intake without feeling too full.
  2. Next, pay attention to how often and when you eat. Spread your meals and snacks throughout the day to maintain a regular supply of calories.
  3. Protein plays a vital role in building muscle mass, which is crucial for weight gain. Make sure to include plenty of plant-based protein sources in your diet.
  4. Let’s not overlook the importance of cooking methods. Techniques like roasting, sautéing, and grilling enhance the taste and increase the calorie content of your meals. So, don’t hesitate to try out different recipes and cooking styles to make your meals more exciting and calorie-rich.
  5. Remember, consistency is key. Gaining weight doesn’t happen overnight. Stick to your meal plan, keep track of your progress, and trust the process. Celebrate your small wins along the way to stay motivated.
  6. Lastly, consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional. Their guidance can be invaluable in your journey to achieve vegan weight gain.

How To Gain Weight as a Vegan

If you’re looking to gain weight as a vegan, you should look for ways to add extra calories to your diet.

Yet, it’s the only one element of the whole process.

For instance, tracking your food intake is crucial to gaining weight in a healthy way. Otherwise, you will be guessing how many calories you need to consume in a day to see the results.

Here’s a list of the best weight gain tips to get your body in the shape you desire.

person's left hand wrapped by tape measure

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Track Your Food Intake

If you aim for healthy weight gain on a vegan diet, tracking your food intake is crucial. The key lies in understanding your body’s needs and aligning them with your dietary preferences and goals.

Determining your daily calorie goal is an excellent first step. You can do it by calculating your calorie intake and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

The BMR is the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions like breathing and digestion. Your daily calorie goal will be BMR plus the calories you burn through physical activities.

TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) = BMR + calories burned in routine activity + calories burned in deliberate exercise

Calorie Deficit or Surplus = TDEE – calories consumed

Next, let’s talk about what you should eat.

As a rule of thumb, you should prioritize calorically dense food groups. These include nuts, quinoa, tahini, dried fruit, legumes, sweet potatoes, smoothies, coconut milk, and whole grains.

All these foods aren’t only high in calories but are also packed with beneficial nutrients and essential amino acids.

Keeping track of your calorie intake is easier than ever with the help of technology. There are numerous calorie tracking apps available that can help you visualize your intake and ensure you’re hitting your targets.

Another aspect to consider is meal timing and portion sizes. You can maximize your calorie consumption by increasing your portion sizes and optimizing when you eat.

Learn About Calorie Density

Do you know about calorie density? Put simply, it represents the number of calories in each bite of food you take.

If you want to put on weight, you should eat foods rich in calories.

Take vegetables, for example. While broccoli and potatoes are rich in nutrients, they aren’t high in calories. Instead, you could consider foods like peanut butter. It’s high in calorie density, meaning you get more calories in each bite.

Cooking with oil is also a nice trick to increase your calorie intake.

Calorie Density Chart

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Decrease Fiber And Increase Fat

If you’re a vegan looking to gain weight, consider making a few tweaks to your diet.

It may sound unconventional, but reducing fiber intake could be the key.

We all know that fiber is good for us. It aids digestion and keeps us full, helping us avoid unnecessary snacking.

But if the goal is to gain weight, it can rather be a hindrance.

This is where healthy fats come in handy. They help you amplify your calorie intake effortlessly and offer several health benefits.

Avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils are excellent sources of healthy fat that can be incorporated into a vegan diet easily.

Replacing some of those fibrous veggies with nutrient-dense fatty foods can help you gain weight healthily without compromising the dietary preferences that matter to you.

Focus On Plant-Based Protein

Eating a balanced and varied diet is of utmost importance. It ensures your body gets all the necessary nutrients to function correctly.

While a vegan diet for weight gain may seem limiting, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of practical strategies that can help you overcome these challenges.

One vital tip is to up your intake of plant-based proteins.

Across the globe, legumes and quinoa are hailed for their high protein content. These will not only fill you up but also help you gain weight in a healthy way.

You could also add smoothies to your daily diet. Ingredients like nut butter, fruits, coconut milk, and vegan protein powder can help increase your calorie intake.

Don’t Drink Before You Eat

woman in black tank top drinking water

If you want to gain weight, you should rethink your beverage choices before meals.

Generally speaking, drinks like water and tea are hailed for their health benefits. However, they’re also calorie-free. It means they can fill you up before you’ve had the chance to consume any solid food.

Consequently, you end up eating less than what is necessary for healthy weight gain.

So, what should you do?

The answer is simple: drink after eating, not before. It will prevent you from feeling full and help you consume a few extra bites during the meal.

Also, don’t forget about portion sizes. It’s important to ensure you’re consuming enough calories. Increasing your portion sizes can help you do this.

7 High-Calorie Vegan Foods

vegetable salad on white ceramic plate

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Incorporating high-calorie vegan foods into your meals is one of the best ways to ensure your vegan weight gain diet bears fruit. Once you load up on these tasty options at every meal, you’ll have no difficulty gaining weight.

Some foods provide more calories per 100g than others. The best options include:

  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil
  • Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Dried Fruit
  • Rice
  • Legumes

Let’s go over these healthy foods in more detail below.


sliced avocado fruit on brown wooden table

Avocado is an incredible addition to your diet, especially if you’re pursuing a vegan lifestyle and aiming to gain weight. This fruit isn’t only delicious, but it’s also packed with calories, fiber, and essential micronutrients.

First of all, avocados are high in calories. This factor makes them an ideal food choice if you’re trying to put on some weight. The calorie-dense nature of avocados can help you meet your daily calorie intake goals easily.

Another great feature of avocados is their high fiber content. It aids in digestion, keeping your gut healthy.

Plus, the fiber in avocados can leave you feeling full, ensuring you don’t overeat other foods.

Avocados aren’t just about calories and fiber. They’re packed with vital vitamins and minerals, too. You can find vitamin C, folate, and potassium in avocados, which are all necessary for maintaining good health.

The versatility of avocados is another reason to include them in your diet. You can enjoy them in many ways.

Whether you prefer them spread on toast or tossed in salads, avocados can add a delicious twist to your meals. You can even blend them into smoothies for a nutritious drink.

Olive Oil

olive with olive oil bottle

Olive oil is more than just a delicious addition to your meals. It’s a calorie booster, perfect for those on a vegan diet aiming to gain weight.

Not to mention, it’s rich in antioxidants. These can help lower the risk of chronic diseases.

It’s hard to overstate the benefits of olive oil. It’s versatile, perfect for cooking or as a salad dressing. Cooking with olive oil is a healthy way to add a few more calories to your every meal.

Still, don’t go overboard. As in the case of other calorie-rich foods, moderation is key.

Nuts and Nut Butter

Nuts and Nut Butter

Adding nuts and nut butter into your weight gain meal plan is an excellent decision. They’re packed with protein, healthy fats, and a high-calorie content.

Let’s break down the benefits:

  1. Firstly, nuts are a powerhouse of protein. This plant-based source is critical for muscle growth and repair.
  2. Moving on to fats, nuts are rich in the healthy kind. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts play a crucial role in hormone production. More importantly, they contribute to your overall health, which is a bonus.
  3. Nuts and nut butter are also packed with calories but in a good way. They’re calorie-dense, meaning even a small serving size can provide a significant amount of calories.
  4. On top of that, nuts are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients boost your health and well-being. So, while you’re gaining weight, you also nourish your body.

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However, a word of caution — always opt for natural varieties. Avoid those with added sugar or oils. That way, you can maximize the nutritional benefits.


food grain beside onion

Quinoa is a mighty grain that can help those on a vegan diet gain weight. It’s a rich food loaded with calories, protein, fiber, and essential micronutrients.

In each cup of quinoa, you’ll find approximately 222 calories. Therefore, it’s a potent food for muscle building.

Quinoa is versatile and can be added to a range of meals. Curry, chili, and salads are just a few dishes that can benefit from its inclusion. In this way, it serves as a calorie-dense source of nutrients.

To give you a clearer picture of quinoa’s nutritional value, let’s look at a table of its key nutrients:

NutrientAmount per Cup (185g)
Carbohydrates39 g
Manganese58% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
Magnesium30% of the RDI
Phosphorus28% of the RDI
Copper21% of the RDI
Folate19% of the RDI
Iron15% of the RDI

Adding quinoa to your diet can be a practical way to gain weight if you’re following a vegan diet. It’s important to remember, though, that everyone’s dietary needs are different.

Your personal goals, as well as the unique challenges and constraints of a vegan diet, should be taken into account.

Dried Fruit


Dried fruits have become an everyday staple in many diets today. These delicious food items are enjoyed across the globe for their rich flavors and numerous health benefits.

Of all the dried fruits available, raisins take the prize as the most popular. They represent nearly half of all dried fruit sales. Their sweet, versatile nature makes them a favored choice for snacking and cooking alike.

But raisins aren’t the only dried fruit making waves. Other loved varieties include dates and prunes. These nutrient-packed gems are not only tasty but also offer great nutritional benefits.

Figs, apricots, and peaches form another category of dried fruits enjoyed by many. Their unique flavors add depth to dishes and brighten up snack times.

Finally, there are apples and pears. In the dried form, these familiar fruits become snackable delights that can be enjoyed year-round. 

Here are four compelling reasons why dried fruit should be a staple in your diet.

  1. It’s packed with fiber and antioxidants. These elements are crucial for gut health and protection against chronic diseases.
  2. Dried fruit carries a concentrated dose of micronutrients. Compared to fresh fruit, it contains 3-5 times more vitamins and minerals.
  3. Dried fruit can be effortlessly added to your meals and snacks. It pairs nicely with yogurt, oatmeal, nuts, and seeds. It can even be an exciting addition to your protein shakes.
  4. Dried fruit is a natural source of sugars. Although it’s rich in natural sugars, pairing it with a healthy protein source can help manage its impact on your blood sugar levels.


rice in bowl

Rice is a versatile food that can be used in numerous ways. Combine it with a portion of protein, and you have a convenient meal ready to go. It’s also easy to prepare in advance, cool, and store in your fridge for use throughout the week.

Rice isn’t only cost-effective but also rich in calories, making it a great option for gradual weight gain. This humble grain is loaded with extra protein and fiber. It also has essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy diet.

In a single cup of cooked brown rice, you’ll find 216 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fiber.

It’s also packed with minerals like manganese, selenium, and phosphorus.

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Legumes are a food group you should consider when planning a vegan diet for weight gain. This category includes lentils, beans, and chickpeas. They’re all excellent foods that can help you gain weight.

Take black beans as an example. Just one cooked cup of these beans contains 227 calories. The same serving also provides 15 grams each of protein and fiber.

Other options are just as enticing. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs, like folate, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.

You can add legumes to a variety of dishes. Try them in vegan meatballs or burgers. They can even be used in salads, soups, and casseroles.

You can also make them into dips and spreads.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can gain a few extra pounds. It’s all about understanding caloric density, incorporating calorie-dense foods, and making strategic dietary choices.

Focus on creating a dietary plan that works for you. If you combine it with weight training, it’s a straightforward way to gain muscle mass.

Conversely, if you only want to gain a little weight for other reasons, the list of caloric foods provided above will help you achieve this goal.

Good luck!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can a vegan diet provide enough protein for weight gain?

Yes, it can! Focus on plant-based protein sources like legumes, tofu, tempeh, and seitan.

How can I increase my calorie intake without feeling overly full?

The best method is to focus on incorporating calorie-dense foods into your diet. Opt for nuts, nut butter, avocados, quinoa, tahini, olive oil, dried fruit, legumes, sweet potatoes, smoothies, coconut milk, and whole grains.

Are there any supplements that can help with weight gain on a vegan diet?

Yes, there are. Some of these supplements include B12, vitamin D, and iodine supplements. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Can I still engage in cardio exercise while trying to gain weight as a Vegan?

Yes, you can. Just make sure to adjust your calorie intake to account for the additional calories burned during your workouts.

How long does it take to see the results?

Typically, it takes 4-6 weeks to see results from following a weight-gain plan on a vegan diet. Consistency and adherence to the program, along with proper calorie intake, are vital for achieving desired outcomes.