How to gain weight on a vegan diet 1

How To Gain Weight On A Vegan Diet? ǁ Vegan Guide to Build Your Physique

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One-click on any of the search engines and you’ll get thousands of pages worth of data to help you lose weight. Natural remedies to cosmetic treatments and everything in between help you shed some pounds gradually. But, what if your problem is exactly the opposite? You want to gain weight – mind you, some healthy weight – and look strong as you feel. Yes, there are a lot of ways to gain weight (but what if you don’t eat meat or dairy?). How to gain weight on a vegan diet?

Sick of being a skinny vegan?

Need to build a bunch of muscles on a vegan diet?

Is it a good time to hit the gym?

There are so many questions lingering around this situation. Though it is fairly easy to add calories to your diet and gain pounds quickly; what’s more important is staying at bay from the processed sugary delights and junk food to put on healthy weight. With proper foods and strategies, you can gain weight in a healthy way.

Read on below to know more about how to gain weight on a vegan diet (yes, just eating plant-based food) and some expert tips on the same.

Let’s get started!

Why Gain Healthy Weight?

There may be different reasons as to why an individual wants to gain weight. Perhaps there was a change in appetite due to stressful episode in your life, or an illness resulting in sudden weight loss, or you might be a runner wanting to build muscle mass, or you may be underweight and simply want to gain some pounds, or you may have recently transitioned to vegan diet and noticed an unintentional weight loss, wondering how to get things straight.

To maintain a healthy weight on a vegan diet you must take some extra care while planning your nutrition and fitness regimen. Ensure to add calories from healthy fats, proteins, and carbs in your diet.

Increase Your Food Intake

Reasonable deal isn’t it?

Eating more calories than spending them can push you towards weight gain easily. This doesn’t mean you have to eat uncontrollably and add unreasonable portions of food to your plate. Adding extra 500-600 calories per day will help you gain steady weight. Here are a few examples that show how to gain weight on a vegan diet (how to add extra calories to your plant-based meal plan).

  • 1 apple with 3 tablespoons of peanut butter + 1 cup of soy milk = 500 calories
  • 1/2 avocado mashed on 1 slice of toast + 1 banana = 500 calories
  • 1 cup edamame pods drizzled with olive oil or sesame oil +1 slice of toast  = 500 calories
  • 10 dried prunes as snack + banana almond milk smoothie = 600 calories
  • 1/4 cup hummus with 10 multiseed crackers + 1/2 cup dried fruits = 600 calories

Vegan Foods To Gain Weight

Nutrition is an important factor that helps to maintain ideal body mass. Choose foods that are calorie-dense and nutria-packed. Stay away from junk as it will develop bad eating habits in the long term and give you a belly pouch in future. Let’s look at some energy-dense vegan foods to gain weight.

1. Legumes

Protein = Building Block Of Muscle

Plant-based proteins are ideal to pep up your muscle mass. Various legumes and pulses give you the desired amount of protein required for bodybuilding. Lentils, to chickpeas to beans all of these are rich in protein content and are packed with essential vitamins and minerals to boost your nutrition.

How to add to your diet:

  • Add beans to your vegan salads or soups
  • Make mixed lentil soup with vegetables
  • Delicious Rajma chawal (kidney beans with rice cooked in coconut milk) can be the best vegan dinner ever.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Starchy foods are high in carbohydrates and fiber. Sweet potatoes are favored in many dishes due to their color, flavor and nutrient profile. They are rich in carbs, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

How to add to your diet:

  • Make some vegan sweet potato pancakes for breakfast
  • Try out the avocado sweet potato toast
  • Vegan sweet potato pudding or ice-cream can be a treat
  • Baked, roasted, mashed or grilled sweet potatoes on your dinner plates

3. Nuts And Nut Butters

If you want to add some healthy fats in your diet nuts and seeds are the best options. They also have reasonable amounts of proteins and calories. You may also consider having candied nuts to support your weight gain regimen.

How to add to your diet:

  • A handful of nuts like walnuts, cashews, almonds, or pecans as a mid-day snack
  • Add to your bowl of cereals
  • Opt for nut butters – peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, etc.
  • Prepare nut butter and fruit smoothies
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of tahini to your diet plan

4. Olives And Olive Oil

Olives are a wonderful addition to salads and snacks. They are loaded with healthy fatty acids essential for weight gain. These help regulate blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Olive oil has some effective antioxidant and healing properties. Load them in your plates to get an extra boost of calories.

How to add to your diet:

  • Drizzle the oil over vegetable salads or add it to your marinades
  • Add olives to your pizzas, sandwiches, and wraps

5. Avocados

Avocados are one of the calorie-dense foods that will answer your question if you’re wondering how to gain weight on a vegan diet. The delicious tropical fruit is known for its creamy texture and mild flavor. The fruit boasts an impressive nutrient profile that helps to gain weight.

How to add to your diet:

  • Make creamy avocado desserts or puddings
  • Add half an avocado to your glass of smoothie
  • Spread the pulp on toasts, salads or omelets

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is a healthy pseudo-grain – a carbohydrate with a bonus!

It is a complete plant-based protein with essential amino acids, carbs, fiber, and micronutrients. Add quinoa to your meals and stay clean from the tempting vegan junk foods.

How to add to your diet:

  • Make a healthy quinoa bowl for breakfast
  • Add to savory soups, stews, and salads
  • Prepare Indian style quinoa pulao

7. Granola

Granola is another healthy breakfast cereal that will fill you up with those extra calories you need. Granola is a calorie-dense protein with vitamins and minerals. Think healthy when you think granola energy bars!

How to add to your diet:

  • Homemade energy bars
  • Breakfast cereal bowl with dried fruits, nuts, and cinnamon
  • Add some granola to a smoothie bowl

8. Dried Fruits

Want to add some bite in your diet? How about adding the crunch with a load of calories, antioxidants, fiber, and other essential micronutrients? From prunes to cashews to raisins the dried fruits have varying calorific value. Dried fruits are high in natural sugars so it’s best to combine them with proteins.

How to add to your diet:

  • Mix dried fruit in yogurt or top it on your smoothie bowl
  • Make high-calorie oatmeal dried fruit mix
  • Add it to your protein shakes or desserts
dried fruits vegan foods to gain weight

9. Rice

Rice is the staple food for many people. It’s a versatile food full of calories. It can definitely add to the list of vegan foods for weight gain. It provides a lot of fiber and minerals like magnesium, manganese, selenium, and niacin. You can choose brown rice as a healthier option than refined white rice.

How to add to your diet:

  • Combine rice with a healthy serving of protein for a meal
  • Make rice puddings and other desserts

10. Healthy Fats

Adding fats to your meals is an easy way to boost your calorie intake on a vegan diet. These are calorie-dense foods that will help you gain a healthy weight.

How to add to your diet:

  • Add to your sauces or salad dressings
  • Drizzle coconut, sesame, or olive oil on your salads and baked goodies
  • Try out the vegan fat shake (the recipe is listed below)

The vegan fat shake: This yummylicious fat shake is a boost of protein and fat all in a vegan combo. This shake will add roughly 1000 calories to your meal chart. Have it about 2 hours post your workout and gain a bundle of extra muscle very quickly.

How to make:


  • 12 ounces almond milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 2 scoops vegan protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon wheatgrass powder


  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy the delicious vegan protein fat shake.

11. Plant-based Milk

Dairy items are good for weight gain. Veganism offers some delicious and healthy dairy alternatives to aim for. Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, etc. are plant-based dairy products you can use to increase your calorie intake.

How to add to your diet:

  • Add full cream coconut milk to your soups and curries
  • Make tasty smoothies with almond milk and fruits
  • Savor on delicious homemade vegan desserts and ice-creams
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons nut cheese to your dinner

Check this video for some tips and tricks on how to gain weight on a vegan diet.

The Lifting Regimen

Working out daily is equally important as adding more calories to your diet if you’re looking for building body mass.

Recommended lifting routine:

  • Two sets of exercises in each session including squats and deadlifts, performed at a very slow rhythm (5 seconds up and down each).
  • 7 or 8 repetitions of this set of exercises daily keep you amped up for muscle gain.
How to gain weight on vegan diet?

Veganic India Tips

  • A combination of weight lifts and nutrition can help you achieve the desired results.
  • How to gain weight on a vegan diet is no more a challenge if you follow simple measures and a healthy calorie-dense diet plan.
  • Oils are calorie-dense foods but consume them in moderation.
  • Sleep well. Your muscles find it difficult to repair and grow if sleep quality is disturbed.
  • Avoid drugs that suppress appetite and impact your sleep patterns. Even coffee at the wrong hours can hamper your sleep quality.
  • Steer clear from smoking and alcohol.

Being vegan can help you gain or lose weight. All you have to do is plan your calorie intake and amount of workouts at the gym. Focus on your lifestyle choices to get the healthy weight that you desire.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you gain weight as a vegan?

Replacing a good chunk of animal proteins and fats with vegan food can definitely help you gain weight. You have to do it the right way. Include plant-based proteins like legumes and nuts; fruits and vegetables; healthy fats from nuts and seeds; and healthy carbs from quinoa to gain weight while on a vegan diet. Avoid eating unhealthy or processed vegan junk!

How do vegans get fat in their diet?

Diets containing meat are abundant in saturated and unsaturated fats. Vegans should add fat-rich plant foods in their diet to pep up the calorie content in their meals. Vegan foods like avocados, dried fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds have both saturated and unsaturated fats that help in weight gain. Make friends with these healthy fats to add some pounds to the scale.

How can I gain weight on a dairy-free diet?

If you are lactose intolerant or going vegan you should not include any kinds of animal-based dairy products. Choose from a variety of plant-based milk products, smoothies, vegetables and fruits, nuts and nut butters to add some calories to your diet plan.

How can I gain weight on a clean diet?

Gaining weight has to be healthy overall. As part of a clean diet, one should choose to eat lean protein sources; nuts and seeds; whole-grain breads, pasta and cereals; fruits and vegetables; and dairy products. Include healthy calories and fats in your vegan diet. Try smoothies and shakes. Avoid gulping down diet soda, coffee and other beverages with few empty calories and no nutritional value.

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