Vegans do not eat any animal products. They eschew meat, such as beef, poultry and seafood, as well as dairy products and eggs. Approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population considers themselves vegans. Because of the diet's limitations, some vegans may have a difficult time gaining weight. Changing the amounts of foods you eat, however, should help you gain weight. Consult your physician or a registered dietician for specific weight gain strategies.
Increase the calories you consume. Eat healthy foods that are also high in calories, such as nuts and soy products. For instance, a 1-ounce serving size of dry roasted almonds contains 169 calories. Veggie crumbles, made from soy, have 80 calories per 2/3-cup serving size.
Add more protein to your diet. Because plant-based proteins may not be complete proteins -- containing all nine essential amino acids -- you may need more protein than the recommended dietary allowance. Eat nuts, seeds, beans and legumes to help you reach your necessary protein intake for the day. High-protein foods are also substantial sources of calories and can help you gain weight.
Include more healthy fats in your diet. Healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, should make up 25 to 40 percent of your overall food intake. These types of fat are present in nuts and oils. Eating more fat in your diet adds calories, which will cause you to gain weight.
Drink smoothies with protein powder to increase both protein and calories. You can make a vegan smoothie with soy milk or fruit juice. You can also add almond butter or peanut butter to make your smoothie even higher in calories. The calories vary depending on your exact ingredients. A smoothie with berries, bananas, coconut water and protein powder gives you 250 calories per serving. If you add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, you increase the calories by 188.
Incorporate more grains into your diet, such as brown rice and pasta. These foods are high in calories and will help you gain weight. A 1-cup serving of long-grain brown rice has 216 calories. Spaghetti has 221 calories per 1-cup serving size.
Increase the amount of food you eat. This is an easy way to increase your calories without changing your diet. Eat larger portion sizes at each meal. This may be difficult to do at first, but if you slowly increase the amount of food you eat, your body will adjust.
- Harvard Medical School: Becoming a Vegetarian
- VeganHealth.org: Protein
- No Meat Athlete: The Skinny Vegan’s Guide to Gaining Muscle
- USDA Nutrient Database: Nuts, Almonds, Dry Roasted, Without Salt Added
- USDA Nutrient Database: Spaghetti, Cooked, Enriched, Without Added Salt
- USDA Nutrient Database: Rice, Brown, Long-Grain, Cooked
- USDA Nutrient Database: Peanut Butter, Smooth Style, with Salt
- Consult your doctor if you are losing weight, to rule out any medical condition that could be affecting weight gain.
Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.