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45 High-Calorie Foods for Low-Fat Diets (List)

weight management expert
Last updated on June 27, 2022

Given fat is the macronutrient that has the most calories, it stands at the core of many high-calorie foods, so you may have a hard time finding the foods that are both nutritious and low in fat, whether you want to gain weight or reduce the saturated fat in your diet.

To ease your search, we identified no less than 45 low-fat high-calorie foods and arranged them in a list, so you can find exactly the type of food you need to prepare lean daily meals, from snacks to fruits and vegetables.

Top 7 low-fat foods with highest calories

If you’re asking yourself what low-fat foods have the most calories, here are the best 7 healthy high-calorie foods with few to zero grams of fat that will help you gain weight:

  1. Smoothies (low-fat and high-calorie): 406-950 calories
  2. Shakes (low-fat and high-calorie): 842 calories
  3. Whole-grain snacks (low-fat): 254-427 calories
  4. Dried fruits (low-fat and high-calorie): 277-349 calories
  5. Vegetables (low-fat and high-calorie): 114-324 calories
  6. Sugary snacks: 280-304 calories
  7. Fresh fruits (low-fat and high-calorie): 89-239 calories
Top 7 high-calorie low-fat foods with the most calories.

High-calorie low-fat foods for weight gain (list)

You can find high-calorie foods that are low in fat in many food groups, and our list below covers them all, whether you’re looking for slurpable snacks like smoothies or shakes, whole grain products, carb-filled snacks, fruits, or vegetables.

High-calorie low-fat snacks

High-calorie low-fat snacks are generally very energizing and can be of tremendous help if you’re trying to gain healthy weight, respectively build muscle.

Below are the 4 categories of high-calorie snacks that are low in fat.

High-calorie low-fat foods: snacks.

1. High-calorie low-fat smoothies

  • Calories: 406-950 per smoothie
  • Fat: 8-31 g per smoothie

Low-fat smoothies are the high-calorie snacks with the most calories because they are rich in carbs and proteins.

Here are some of the healthy benefits of consuming smoothies:

  • They help you gain weight by conveniently increasing your daily calorie intake;
  • Smoothies load you with energy;
  • They help you build muscle easier.

Let’s not forget that smoothies are full of vitamins since they have fruits and vegetables at their core.

Here are the top 8 high-calorie smoothies that are also low in fat:

  1. Walnut Banana Berry Smoothie – 950 calories
  2. Muscle Building Smoothie – 862 calories
  3. Apple Banana Smoothie – 851 calories
  4. Mango Coconut Smoothie – 644 calories
  5. Chocolate Almond Smoothie – 433 calories
  6. Almond Banana Berry Smoothie – 417 calories
  7. Green Protein Smoothie – 411 calories
  8. Vanilla Banana Ice Cream Smoothie – 406 calories

If you want to learn how to make the above smoothies, their nutrition facts, and how to pick low-fat ingredients to create other non-fatty smoothies, head over to our comprehensive article about high-calorie smoothies.

You’ll also find high-fat smoothies in the article, so, if you're on a low-fat diet, just skip them.

2. High-calorie low-fat shakes

High-calorie low-fat foods: shakes.
  • Calories: 842 per shake
  • Fat: 22 g per shake

Although most high-calorie shakes are rich in fats because they are usually made with fatty dairy, there are still some weight gain shakes that are low in fat, like the Strawberry Oat Shake.

The Strawberry Oat Shake is a high-calorie shake that is rich in carbs but low in fats. The 22 g of fat in the shake come mainly from the saturated fats in whole milk and the healthy unsaturated fatty acids found in oats.

This shake is especially useful when you want to get energized before a workout or recover your muscles after a workout.

Find the recipe for this low-fat weight gain shake and learn how to pick lean shake ingredients in our thorough article about high-calorie shakes.

3. Low-fat whole grain snacks

High-calorie low-fat foods: whole grain snacks.
  • Calories: 254-427 per 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Fat: 4-14 g per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Some of the high-calorie whole grain snacks are low in fat, which means that you can enjoy their energizing properties without leveraging your fat intake too much.

Another benefit of adding low-fat whole grain snacks to your diet is that they contain mainly unsaturated fats, which are healthier than saturated fats.

Here are is a list of 4 high-calorie whole grain snacks that are low in fat:

  • Whole wheat crackers - 427 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 11 g of protein, 70 g of carbs, and 14 g of fats.[1]
  • Popcorn - 387 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 13 g of protein, 78 g of carbs, and 5 g of fats.[2]
  • Whole grain cereals - 376 calories/100 g (3.5 oz) or 4 cups
    • Macronutrients: 9 g of protein, 80 g of carbs, and 5 g of fats.[3]
  • Whole wheat bread - 254 calories/100 g (3.5 oz) or 2.3 slices
    • Macronutrients: 12 g of protein, 43 g of carbs, and 4 g of fats.[4]

Note: not all whole-grain snacks above meet the high-calorie criteria of having over 400 calories. Despite this, popcorn, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread, made the list because of their popularity and versatility, which make them convenient for people looking to gain weight without consuming too much fat.

Did you know that crackers are one of the most affordable high-calorie foods on the market? Head over to our list of cheap high-calorie foods to find more budget-friendly ideas for weight-gain diets.

4. Sugary snacks

High-calorie low-fat foods: sugary snacks.
  • Calories: 280-304 per 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Fat: 0 g per 100 g (3.5 oz)

If you want to gain weight following a low-fat diet, carbs are one of your best allies, and sugary snacks have plenty of them.

However, you don’t want to eat too many of these sugary snacks because, yes, you guessed it, they contain a lot of sugar.

Low-fat high-calorie sugary snacks for weight gain:

  • Honey - 304 calories/100 g (3.5 oz) or 5 tbsp
    • Macronutrients: 82 g of carbs.[5]
  • Jam – 280 calories/100 g (3.5 oz) or 5 tbsp
    • Macronutrients: 69 g of carbs.[6]

Note: neither honey nor jam meet the high-calorie criteria of having over 400 calories. However, both are popular foods closing in on the 400-calorie mark, so they still come in handy for persons struggling to gain weight.

You can find more nutritious snacks in our comprehensive article about high-calorie snacks.

High-calorie low-fat fruits

Because many dried and fresh high-calorie fruits are low in fat, they make for energizing sources of carbs and vitamins that can help you boost your daily calorie intake without leveraging the fat intake.

A downside of fruits is the fact they lack proteins.

High-calorie low-fat dried fruits

  • Calories: 277-349 per 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Fat: 0-3 g per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Dried fruits are high-calorie fruits with elevated carb levels owing to their dehydrated nature, which is why they will help you fulfill your calorie objectives way easier.

Most dried fruits have low-fat levels, but some of them, like desiccated coconut, contain a treasure of fats. So, you still need to pay attention to what fruits you eat, especially if you're on a low-fat diet.

Here are the top 3 low-fat dried fruits with the most calories:

  • Dried goji berries - 349 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 14 g of proteins and 77 g of carbs.[7]
  • Dehydrated bananas - 346 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 4 g of proteins, 88 g of carbs, and 2 g of fat.[8]
  • Dried mango - 319 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 2 g of proteins, 79 g of carbs, and 1 g of fat.[9]
Top 3 high-calorie low-fat dried fruits.

Note: the dried fruits above don’t meet the high-calorie criteria of having over 400 calories. However, since all of them count among the fruits with the most calories, they can be of tremendous help to people looking to gain weight.

Find more low-fat dried fruits in our comprehensive article about high-calorie fruits.

High-calorie low-fat fresh fruits

Top 3 high-calorie low-fat fresh fruits.
  • Calories: 89-239 per 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Fat: 0-1 g per 100 g (3.5 oz)

High-calorie fresh fruits that are also low in fat are helpful for anyone looking to boost their calories without leveraging their protein or fat intake. After all, fruits mainly contain carbs.

Here are the top 3 low-fat fresh fruits with the most calories:

  • Tamarinds - 239 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 3 g of proteins, 63 g of carbs, and 1 g of fat.[10]
  • Mamey sapote – 124 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 1 g of proteins and 32 g of carbs.[11]
  • Plantains – 122 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 1 g of proteins and 32 g of carbs.[12]

Note: none of the fresh fruits above meet the high-calorie criteria of having over 400 calories. However, since they all count among the fruits with the most calories, they can be of great help to people trying to gain weight.

Find more low-fat fresh fruits that can help you boost your daily calories in our thorough article about high-calorie fruits.

High-calorie low-fat vegetables

  • Calories: 114-324 per 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Fat: 0-8 g per 100 g (3.5 oz)

If you’re on a low-fat diet, you can add versatility to your daily menus with high-calorie vegetables because most of these foods have just a few grams of fat.

Here are the top 5 low-fat vegetables with the most calories:

  • Carrots (dehydrated) - 341 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 8 g of proteins, 80 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats.[13]
  • Hot chile peppers (sun-dried) – 324 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 11 g of proteins, 70 g of carbs, and 6 g of fat.[14]
  • Chives (dried) – 311 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 21 g of proteins, 64 g of carbs, and 4 g of fats.[15]
  • Shiitake mushrooms (dried) - 296 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 10 g of proteins, 75 g of carbs, and 1 g of fats.[16]
  • Ancho peppers – 281 calories/100 g (3.5 oz)
    • Macronutrients: 12 g of proteins, 51 g of carbs, and 8 g of fat.[17]
Top 5 high-calorie low-fat vegetables.

Note: none of the vegetables above meet the high-calorie criteria of having over 400 calories. However, since they all count among the vegetables with the most calories, they are very handy for anyone trying to gain weight without consuming too much fat.

Head over to our complete list of high-calorie vegetables to find more nutritious low-fat veggies.

What are high-calorie low-fat foods

Considering that:

  • High-calorie foods provide at least 400 calories per 100 g (3.5 oz) of ingested food;
  • Foods that have less than 30% of their calories coming from fat are considered low-fat.[18]

Here is the definition of low-fat high-calorie foods:

High-calorie foods that are low in fat have at least 400 calories and less than 30% of those calories come from fat.

Remember that 1 g of fat has 9 calories while 1 g of carbs or protein has just 4 calories.

Benefits of eating high-calorie low-fat foods

In the next paragraphs, we’ll explore the benefits of following a diet focused on high-calorie low-fat foods.

Benefits of eating high-calorie low-fat foods.

Weight gain

Eating high-calorie foods that are low in fats will help you gain healthy weight in a leaner way by significantly boosting your calories while increasing your protein and carb intake.

Proteins and carbs are macronutrients that are essential for the building and the recovery of your muscles.

How can you gain weight on a low-fat diet?

To gain weight on a low-fat diet, you need to eat high-calorie foods that contain scarce amounts of fat.

How can you increase your calories without fat?

If you want to stay away from fat, you can easily increase your daily calories and reach a caloric surplus, which will enable you to gain weight, by consuming low-fat high-calorie foods.

Here are some tips you can use to increase your calories without resorting to fatty products:

  • Stay away from fatty meat and dairy
  • Choose plant-based products, like dried fruits and nutritious veggies
  • Drink low-fat shakes and smoothies
  • Check every nutrition label for fat and calories

Weight loss

If you are on a daily caloric deficit, you can use high-calorie foods that are low in fat to accomplish weight loss goals because these foods can keep the fat intake down while filling you up.

However, people who want to lose weight must be wary of the number of portions of these highly caloric but low-fat foods they eat per day.

After all, these foods are still rich in calories and can easily cause one to eat too many calories.

Pancreatitis diet

The American Gastroenterological Association recommended low-fat foods among the dietary alternatives to liquid foods in the case of acute pancreatitis patients.[19]

Therefore, high-calorie foods that contain few to no grams of fat can benefit people suffering from pancreatitis.

After all, registered dietitian nutritionist Kelly McCullough categorized low-fat foods among the easiest to digest foods.

Lower risk of heart disease

If you adopt a high-calorie low-fat diet, you will keep your intake of saturated fats down, which will decrease your chances of developing heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your saturated fat intake because science has proved it can raise “bad” cholesterol, and so, increase the risk of heart disease.[20]

High-calorie low-fat foods sorted by nutrients

Low-fat high-calorie foods sorted by nutrients.

Since people have different diets, besides knowing what high-calorie foods are low in fat, you may want to know which of these lean edibles are also rich in proteins and low or high in carbs.

High-calorie low-fat high-protein foods

Here are the high-calorie low-fat foods that are also high in proteins:

  • Protein smoothies (high-calorie low-fat), like the Muscle Building Smoothie
  • Vegetables (high-calorie and low-fat), like dried chives and parsley

High-calorie low-fat low-carb foods

We couldn’t find any high-calorie low-fat foods that are also low in carbs.

High-calorie low-fat high-carb foods

Here are the high-calorie low-fat foods that are also high in carbs:

  • Shakes (high-calorie and low-fat), like the Strawberry Oat Shake
  • Smoothies (high-calorie and low-fat)
  • Whole grain snacks (low-fat)
  • Sugary snacks
  • Dried fruits (high-calorie and low-fat)
  • Fresh fruits (high-calorie and low-fat)
  • Vegetables (high-calorie and low-fat)

High-calorie foods low in saturated fats

The high-calorie foods that are low in saturated fats have 1 g or less of saturated fat per 100 g and not more than 10% of their calories come from saturated fatty acids, according to the FDA.[21]

Here are the high-calorie foods that are low in saturated fats:

  • Smoothies (high-calorie and low-fat)
  • Whole-grain snacks, like popcorn, cereals, and bread
  • Sugary snacks
  • Dried fruits (high-calorie and low-fat)
  • Fresh fruits (high-calorie and low-fat)
  • Vegetables (high-calorie and low-fat)

How to keep a high-calorie low-fat diet

The best way to start and also keep a high-calorie low-fat diet is to prepare meal plans focusing on lean but calorie-dense foods and drinks.

Luckily, you have plenty of such foods to choose from in this article.

And to help you even more, here is a sample daily meal plan built mostly with high-calorie low-fat foods that you can follow or modify as you please.

Pre-workout breakfast snack: 471 calories

  • 300 g (10.6 oz) low-fat Greek yogurt – 219 calories
    • Proteins: 30 g
    • Carbs: 12 g
    • Fat: 6 g (3.7 g saturated).[22]
  • 3 slices (100 g) whole wheat bread – 252 calories
    • Proteins: 12 g
    • Carbs: 43 g
    • Fat: 3.5 g (0.7 g saturated).[23]

Post-workout snack: 431 calories

Daytime snack: 431 calories

  • Half of a Muscle-Building Smoothie – 431 calories
    • Proteins: 32 g
    • Carbs: 67 g
    • Fat: 14 g (2.3 g saturated).

Lunch: 652 calories

  • 150 g (5.3 oz) roasted turkey breast (without skin) – 223 calories
    • Proteins: 45 g
    • Carbs: 0 g
    • Fat: 3 g (0.89 g saturated).[24]
  • 300 g (1 ¾ cups) boiled pinto beans – 429 calories
    • Proteins: 27 g
    • Carbs: 78 g
    • Fat: 1.95 g (0.3 g saturated).[25]

Dinner: 548 calories

  • 25 (100 g or 3.5 oz) dried shiitake mushrooms – 296 calories
    • Proteins: 10 g
    • Carbs: 75 g
    • Fat: 1 g (0.23 g saturated).[26]
  • 3 slices (100 g) whole wheat bread – 252 calories
    • Proteins: 12 g
    • Carbs: 43 g
    • Fat: 3.5 g (0.7 g saturated).

Pre-bed snack – 248 calories

  • 1 large (136 g) banana – 121 calories
    • Proteins: 1 g
    • Carbs: 31 g
    • Fat: 0.45 g (0.15 g saturated).[27]
  • ¼ cup (40 g) dried blueberries – 127 calories
    • Proteins: 1 g
    • Carbs: 32 g
    • Fat: 1 g (0.1 g saturated).[28]

Daily meal plan: total calories and nutrients

  • Calories: 2781
  • Proteins: 202 g
  • Carbs: 448 g
  • Fat: 48.4 g (11.4 g saturated)

Conclusion

Now, as you learned the low-fat foods with the highest calories and what calorie-dense snacks, fruits, and vegetables can help you keep a lean diet, you can use them to craft meal plans that will ensure you enjoy the benefits of a high-calorie low-fat diet, all while getting closer to your goals, whether you want to gain weight or reduce saturated fat from your diet.

Sources

Unfold Today has rigorous sourcing principles adhering to the top journalistic standards, so our writers always look for official, experienced, and first-hand sources. Read more about how we keep our content trustworthy and updated by reading our editorial process.

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