Are there any cheap high-calorie foods? Several cheap calorie-dense foods can help you gain weight on a tight budget. Oats, peanut butter, canola oil, whole grains, and sunflower seeds are a few examples. What matters is that you go for healthy and sustainable items; the price tag is unimportant.
What Are Cheap, High-Calorie Foods?
Maintaining a calorie surplus is a surefire recipe to gain weight. However, you don’t need empty calories via loads of pizza, soda, or ice cream. You'll end up abnormally increasing fat (not muscle) mass, which may threaten your cardiometabolic health even if total body weight is normal.
The way out is to gather those extra calories from nutrient-rich food. Such cheap calorie-dense foods are listed below, according to their content. Macronutrients (or macros) consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
These make up most of your diet's dry weight and energy supply. Since you’re looking to gain weight, carbs will be responsible for about 40-60% of total calorie intake. Keep proteins high at 20-35% with fats below 25%. Be extra attentive to your fat intake, as its one gram packs 9 kcal as opposed to 4 kcal by the other two.
The Cheapest Sources of Carbohydrates
- Calories per 100g: 381 (73.6% from carbs)
2. Pancake Mix
- Calories per 100g: 349 (84.6% from carbs)
3. Whole-grain Bread
- Calories per 100g: 265 (65.3% from carbs)
- Gluten-free Alternative: White Rice
4. Sweet Potato
- Calories per 100g: 90 (92.0% from carbs)
- Calories per 100g: 85 (94.5% from carbs)
The Cheapest Sources of Protein
1. Tuna (canned in oil)
- Calories per 100g: 198 (59% from protein)
2. Whole Chicken
- Calories per 100g: 158 (81.3% from protein)
- Vegan Alternative: Tofu
- Calories per 100g: 143 (34.6% from protein)
- Vegan Alternative: Lentils
4. Greek Yogurt
- Calories per 100g: 94 (37.4% from protein)
The Cheapest Sources of Fats
1. Peanut Butter
- Calories per 100g: 632 (15.3% from protein)
2. Canola Oil
- Calories per 100g: 884 (96.2% from fat)
3. Sunflower Seeds
- Calories per 100g: 584 (29.3% from protein)
4. Flax Seeds
- Calories per 100g: 534 (70.9% from fat)
- Calories per 100g: 160 (82.5% from fat)
3 Tips for Healthier Eating While Gaining Weight
1. Remember to Make Healthier Choices
2. Eat a Varied and Balanced Diet as Much as Possible
3. Combine Foods With the Highest Calorie Density
3 Tips for Gaining Lean Muscles
1. Think Lean Muscle Mass, Not Total Body Mass
Note: The table below about body fat percentage is the opinion of ACE Fitness and does not represent an accepted standard.
2. Don’t Go Down the Path of Dirty Bulking
3. Do Strength Training With Progressive Overload
Protein Powder We Recommend - Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Photo by @transparentlabs
You have two flavors in 4lb packaging: Milk chocolate and French vanilla. The latter contains more servings at the same price and nutritional value. Each scoop brings 28g of protein and 120 calories. The powder mixes well with water, milk, etc.
What Are Cheap Foods With High Calories?
- Dressing: Canola Oil
- Spread: Peanut Butter
- Grain: Oats, Whole-wheat Bread
- Seed: Sunflower
- Animal product: Chicken, Egg
- Dairy product: Greek Yogurt
- Dessert: Dark chocolate
- Fruit: Banana, Avocado
- Vegetable: Sweet Potato
Who Can Eat 3000 Calories a Day?
What Foods Add Up to 200 Calories?
There are no qualms about eating cheap, high-calorie foods as long as you make healthy choices. If you look, you can find foods that cost little, taste great, and provide many nutrients.
We've listed a few of them. Do you have something else in mind? Make sure to drop your suggestions in the comment section.
- Ji Young Kim et al., "Implication of high-body-fat percentage on cardiometabolic risk in middle-aged, healthy, normal-weight adults," Obesity, Volume 21, Issue 8 p. 1571-1577
- T. Nakamura, S. Kuranuki, "Nutrition—Macronutrients," Encyclopedia of Cardiovascular Research and Medicine, 2018, Pages 531-537
- Hoang V T Ho et al., "The effect of oat β-glucan on LDL-cholesterol, non-HDL-cholesterol and apoB for CVD risk reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials," Br J Nutr. 2016 Oct;116(8):1369-1382
- Qingtao Hou et al., "The Metabolic Effects of Oats Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," Nutrients. 2015 Dec; 7(12): 10369–10387
- Julio Mercader, "Mozambican grass seed consumption during the Middle Stone Age," Science. 2009 Dec 18;326(5960):1680-3
- Syed Saqib Ali et al., "Understanding oxidants and antioxidants: Classical team with new players," J Food Biochem. 2020 Mar;44(3):e13145.
- Huijun Gao et al., "Analysis of resistant starch degradation in postharvest ripening of two banana cultivars: Focus on starch structure and amylases," Postharvest Biology and Technology, Volume 119, September 2016, Pages 1-8
- John W. Carbone and Stefan M. Pasiakos, "Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit," Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 1136
- Shuangshuang Guo et al., "A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common sunflower seed and sprouts (Helianthus annuus L.)," Chem Cent J. 2017; 11: 95
- Matthew H Sharp et al., "The Effects of Beef, Chicken, or Whey Protein After Workout on Body Composition and Muscle Performance," J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Aug;32(8):2233-2242.
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