Weight on A Vegan Diet

Can Gain Weight on A Vegan Diet? And How (Know The Secrets)

You hear a lot about people adopting a vegan diet to lose weight. But you may never have heard about people adopting a vegan diet to gain weight.

You will be surprised to know that the vegan diet has caught the fancy of people who want to gain weight healthfully.

So, is it possible to gain weight on a vegan diet? The answer is yes. You can gain weight on a vegan diet.

The vegan diet has gained tremendous popularity over the past decade. People switch to the vegan diet for ethical, environmental, and health reasons, and it is an ideal diet for people who want to lose weight.

But a vegan diet is also a healthier way to gain weight. It is believed that the only way a person can gain muscle is by eating meat, dairy, and eggs. However, the truth is that you can eat vegan and still gain muscle and get bulky.

Why Gain Weight?

There are several reasons why some people want to gain weight.  A person may be underweight and intends to increase weight. A person who has lost weight during an illness may want to consider gaining weight.

An athlete may be looking to gain weight to gain muscle mass. A teenager inspired by bodybuilders may yearn to bulk up and look more muscular.

While the reasons to gain weight could vary among individuals, one thing is certain that a vegan diet is an effective and healthful way to gain weight.

Gaining weight on a vegan diet may seem tough initially, but with proper planning and some extra attention and care you can gain weight healthily.

So, let us tell you about how to gain weight on a vegan diet, some weight gain foods, 3000 calorie vegan meal plan, 4000 calorie vegan diet, and give you a list of high-calorie foods to gain weight.

How to Gain Weight on A Vegan Diet

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for gaining weight. Each individual is different, and it’s essential to understand that several factors will influence how and when you can gain weight.

Factors like your current and expected calorie intake, metabolism, and body type will play a major role in your weight gain.

Like weight loss, weight gain is about how much calories you eat and how much calories you expend; however, while weight loss requires eating fewer calories, weight gain requires excess calories.

But a high-calorie diet doesn’t mean gorging on processed vegan foods and eating ludicrous amounts of food. Adding an extra 500-700 calories per day to your regular diet can be sufficient for you to gain weight slowly and steadily. Including healthy vegan weight gain foods to your diet is the right step in that direction.

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) also plays a part in you gaining or losing weight. If you want to gain weight, you need to take in enough calories to account for your BMR, plus the calories you burn during exercise. This will lead to a positive caloric balance and healthy weight gain.

If you are not sure how much calories you are eating and don’t know how to calculate BMR, use an app or a journal. The right app will help you figure out how many calories you actually need to consume to add some pounds to your frame.

Here are the things you can do to add some pounds –

Get enough calories

Consider foods that are calorically dense. Eating large portions of only salad or veggies won’t give you the calories you need to gain weight. But get your extra calories from healthy foods only. Have high-calorie vegan weight gain foods like avocados, nuts & nut butters, walnuts, dried plums, olive oil, coconut cream, and agave.

Cashews, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts pack a punch of protein and fat. They are also calorically dense. Also have foods with carbs but make sure they are coming in from healthy sources, such as fruits and whole grains.

Increase your food intake

Eating more calories than you are shedding can steer you towards weight gain. But again, this doesn’t mean having unreasonable amounts of food and gulping pizzas.

Add healthy fats and proteins like tofu, avocados, beans, and raw nuts, carb-loaded veg like sweet potato and olive oil.

Eat more often

Have five or six smaller meals rather than three large meals. Eat every 2-3 hours. Your eating plan should include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 3-4 snacks in between. This will allow you to consume more calories and nutrients.

Eat energy dense foods

Pack your meals with energy dense and calorie rich foods. Energy bars that are rich in nuts, seeds and dried fruits, peanut butter, avocados, olives and dark chocolate are energy dense and weight gain foods.

Train your appetite

Train your appetite to eat more foods. Regular physical activity will also help in increasing your appetite.

High-Calorie Vegan Meal Plans

There are several vegan meal plans that can help you to increase your calorie intake and gain weight. Let’s take a look at some of them.

3000 Calorie Vegan Meal Plan

On average daily calorie needs of adult males range from 2,000–3,000 calories per day and 1,600–2,400 calories per day for females.

A 3000 calorie vegan meal plan may be more than necessary for an average person. Mostly, highly active people such as athletes, bodybuilders, farm laborers, and construction workers opt for a 3000 calorie vegan meal plan as they need these calories to build muscles and enhance their performance.

But if weight gain is your goal, a 3000 calorie vegan meal plan is perfect for you. If you eat 3000 calories per day and consume more calories than you burn each day, you may start gaining weight.

Carbs, fat, and protein are three primary sources of calories. Though vegans don’t eat meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products like butter, cream, and cheese, vegans can achieve the goal of 3000 calories through their vegan meal plan. Initially, executing a 3000 calorie vegan meal plan may seem challenging, but things will become easier once you get the hang of it.

A one-day sample 3000 calorie vegan meal plan will look like this –

  • Breakfast

Maple, banana, peanut butter, chocolate smoothie – 2 servings

746 calories

  • Snack

1 Apple, 1 banana and almond butter

396 calories

  • Lunch

1 peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Red bell pepper and hummus – 1 serving

754 calories

  • Snack

Hummus and veggies sandwich

1 orange

353 calories

  • Dinner

Peanut noodles – 2 serving

849 calories

You can get a total of 3098 calories with this high-calorie nutrient-dense meal plan and meet your 3000 calories per day goal.

4000 calorie vegan diet

When it comes to gaining weight, the usual intake of calories is not enough. If you are a bodybuilder or a high endurance athlete, a 2000 calorie intake will never be sufficient for you. For increasing mass and gaining strength, bodybuilders and high endurance athletes need a 4000 calorie vegan diet.

Several studies have shown that a 4000 calorie vegan diet is actually really good for people who want to gain muscle and pile on the pounds.

However, merely eating 4,000 calories per day isn’t enough. Your caloric intake should primarily come from meals low in fat, sugar, and salt and packed with lean protein, whole grains, veggies, and fruits. You will have to find the right balance between different food groups, and correct portioning is also vital.

You may face problems when attempting to build muscle without fat. Moreover, the traditional three meals per day might not be sufficient to fulfill your quota of 4000 calories per day. If you divide your food intake into five meals per day, with each meal comprising 1000 calories or so, you will easily reach your goal.

High-calorie foods should form a significant part of your 4000 calorie vegan diet. Several high-calorie vegan foods can help you reach your goal of 4000 calories per day without feeling too full or overwhelmed by the quantity of food.

Have foods that have higher fat or carbohydrate content. Nuts, oats, avocados, peanut butter, olive oil, and whole grain pasta and bread are calorie-dense foods that can help you reach your daily goal easily.

A one-day sample 4000 calorie vegan diet plan will look like this –

  • Breakfast

Scrambled tofu on toast – 2 serving

1 apple

946 calories

  • Snack

35 grams Protein powder
2 cups soymilk
2 cups Raspberries
1 1/2 tbsp Barley
1 2/3 tsp Olive, Flax, Hemp or Salmon Oils

583 calories

  • Lunch

2 Strawberry protein smoothies

1 banana

874 calories

  • Snack

Peanut butter & celery

418 calories

  • Dinner

Vegan pad Thai – 2 serving

847 calories

  • Snack

1 Apple and almond butter

1 banana

396 calories

The above-mentioned plan gives you a total 4064 calories in a day. With such a meal plan you can meet your goal of 4000 calories per day. This meal plan also takes care of the essential macros. There should be a three-hour difference between each meal. Start early morning so that when you go to bed, you have digested the calories.

List of High-Calorie Foods to Gain Weight

You need to know and choose the healthy vegan high-calorie foods to gain weight. With meat and dairy out of contention, it can be quite tricky for vegans to find suitable replacements. But not to worry. There are ample of healthy vegan foods that can help you gain weight.

Here is the list of high-calorie foods to gain weight –

  • Fruits – pineapple, berries, grapefruit, apple, banana, pear, and mangoes
  • Vegetables – squash, sweet potatoes, peas, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, and cauliflower
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Dark leafy greens – lettuce, Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, and Brussels sprouts
  • Nuts and seeds – Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and more;
  • Plant-based proteins – tempeh, tofu, edamame, peas, and chickpeas
  • Grains – oats, rice, and quinoa
  • Plant-based milk alternatives – soymilk, cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk
  • Fats and oils – from almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, olive oil, and peanut
  • Dressing – Tahini made with ground sesame seeds provides high calories with healthy fats
  • Noodles and pasta – cook these with plenty of fresh veggies and sauces and pile on the calories
  • Breads and tortillas – whole grain breads and tortillas with numerous different fillings are the best way to pack calories in your meals
  • Dark chocolate – Although dark chocolate contains sugar and fat in the form of cocoa butter, it is a great option as a high-calorie food.

Furthermore, you can add protein powders such as whey, casein, and plant-based powders like soy, rice or pea to smoothies or shakes to increase you nutrient and calorie intake.

Don’t fall for processed vegan foods such as French fries, onion rings, sports drinks, sugary baked goods, cookies, and chips. Focus on eating clean and healthy food to gain weight.


As you can see, gaining weight on a vegan diet is not as challenging as it is made out to be.

There may be challenges initially, but you can gain weight with ease once you get used to it. You have the option of many calorie-rich and nutritious plant-based foods to maximize weight gain.

You need to understand your calorie needs and metabolism and make sure that you eat more calories than you burn.

Prioritize calorie-dense foods like nuts and seeds, avocados, whole grains, tofu, and soy products. Don’t get tempted to eat processed food for an easy weight gain. Do your exercises regularly. Any physical activity will not only help build muscle but also enhance your appetite. 

Keep track of every meal, snack, and beverage you consume. Take the help of calorie apps to know your calorie intake.

Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you’re feeling too stressed when planning your meals. Dietitians can guide you to a stress-free, healthy vegan diet for weight gain. 


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