If you’re trying to eat healthy and watch your waistline, calories may seem like the enemy. It’s a well-known fact that some of the unhealthiest foods are absolutely full of empty calories. But not all calories are bad. In fact, they’re crucial for your health and survival.
Check out this list of nutritious foods that are surprisingly high in calories, and you’ll see firsthand that you can achieve optimum health by including quality high-calorie foods in your diet. Just make sure you eat them sparingly, because any high-calorie food can make you gain weight if you eat too much of it.
1. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of the most versatile high-calorie foods out there. You can find it in everything from Asian cuisine sauces to candy bars. It also happens to be good for you. This delectable nut butter provides a decent amount of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium and potassium.
Unfortunately, you won’t reap the health benefits of peanut butter if your daily serving comes from a candy bar or cookie dough batter. Instead, try smearing a tablespoon of smooth and creamy peanut butter into the crevices of fresh celery stalks. The peanut butter will help satiate you and the celery will delivery a powerful punch of vitamins and minerals (plus, it has an incredible crunch).
Nuts are amazing snack foods because they fill you up so effectively. This is partially because of their high calorie content (which tops at a 190 calories per ounce for some varieties). But don’t let that scare you away.
Nuts are rich in protein, fiber and various essential nutrients. Try substituting a small handful of nuts for your favorite unhealthy crunchy foods, such as chips or cookies.
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a funny-looking grain that hasn’t yet become popular in many American dishes. But if people realized how nutritious this little grain is, they’d want to eat more of it every day! Quinoa is one of the few complete proteins in this world (which means it contains 9 essential amino acids). It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which are both great for controlling diabetes. Be careful to eat it in moderation, though, since a single cup of the cooked stuff contains 222 calories.
4. Olive Oil
There are some types of oil that have a bad reputation for a reason. Low-quality oils such as vegetable oil or canola oil are full of omega-6 fatty acids, which can be harmful for your body if consumed in large amounts. Olive oil, on the other hand, has a much healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. It also has strong ant-inflammatory properties and may help you manage your blood pressure. Who knew?
Olive oil has just under 120 calories per tablespoon, so try not to go crazy with it. Just a teaspoon here and there will do you good. Try drizzling a bit on a fresh salad or using it to cook your vegetables and meats.