Finding some high-calorie low carb foods can be a little harder than you’d think.
When you’re living the low carb diet life then the indulgent high-calorie foods can seem to be non-existent. But have no fear because here I’m going to give you my list of the best high-calorie low carb foods.
If you’re limiting how many carbs you eat daily in your diet then you’ll know how easy it can be to reach your maximum. Sometimes it feels like the day is just getting started and you’re already hit your limit!
Going to the grocery store to find some high-calorie low carb foods can be just as hard. Food manufacturers make it difficult for you to see just how many hidden carbs are in the foods you’re buying.
And sometimes you just want to indulge a little bit with a high-calorie snack or meal without the blood sugar spiking carbs that usually come with it.
I’m sure you’ll agree finding some tasty high-calorie low carb foods can be hard but I’ll show you my list of the best choices so you can indulge a little without the carbs.
High-Calorie Low Carb Foods for Weight Loss
Now I’m writing this low carb high-calorie food list for those who are on a low carb or keto diet for weight loss. But that doesn’t mean you also can’t use it if you’re trying to add some muscle mass. Plain and simple if you’re wanting to add muscle mass all you have to do is eat more of it!
Low carb diets are without a doubt the best way for the average person who has trouble with their weight to drop pounds fast (1). Most people aren’t able to utilize the carbs they eat for energy so it’ll quickly be stored as fat in the body.
Then after the blood sugar and insulin spikes, your body will be left craving more and more of these carbs (2). I have a degree in Nutrition and have been a fitness coach for over 10 years no and haven’t seen a diet work better for most people than going low carb and calorie.
The only people who don’t have to go low carb are athletes, people who are naturally very thin and bodybuilders (3). The last one is possible to go low carb though if the person has diabetes or blood sugar problems.
One of the easiest tricks to get more high calories in your low carb meals is to add in the following foods…
One of my favorite high-calorie low carb foods is grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is generally better than other kinds of beef because studies have found grass-fed meats contain a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (4).
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your body as they help to lower inflammation and have been associated with numerous health benefits such as a reduction in heart disease (5).
It wasn’t very long ago that eating saturated fats in ground beef was viewed as being very bad for you. But more meta-analysis review studies have found eating a handful of higher saturated fatty meals doesn’t negatively impact heart disease (6).
But if you’re strapped for cash then you don’t necessarily have to buy grass-fed if you really can’t afford it. It also is much better to have some ground beef with higher fat content than it is to eat a bagel or tortilla.
Avocados are a delicious calorie and nutrient-dense snack that is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats (7). Monounsaturated fats are great for you in limited amounts as studies have found they’re beneficial for weight loss, lowering inflammation and reducing the risk of heart disease (8,9,10).
A study found those who ate an avocado for lunch ended up feeling much fuller longer than a traditional lunch (11). This satiety will help to keep you from eating more and thus gaining more weight. Eating more monounsaturated fats will help your body to burn off fat faster than eating other kinds of fats (12).
Now you don’t have to eat more omelets to get the benefits of eating more eggs. Contrary to popular belief eating some saturated fats and higher cholesterol foods like eggs aren’t bad for your health (13). In fact, in moderation eating eggs can benefit your health (14).
Plus eggs and omelets are higher calorie foods that are a complete protein and contain zero carbs. You can always add in some cheese and mushrooms to add to your omelets. Studies have found eggs will help you lose weight better than the traditional refined carb breakfast most Americans eat (15). Plus they contain a beneficial amount of antioxidants and studies have found they don’t have an impact on your cholesterol.
Eating more Alaskan wild-caught salmon is one of the best high-calorie low carb foods you can eat. Salmon is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Many upon many studies have found taking in more omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, help with weight loss and lower the risk of heart disease (16).
Since salmon doesn’t contain any carbs you don’t have to worry about your blood sugar or insulin spiking. It’s without a doubt one of the best fish for weight loss and is quite nutrient-dense to be eating regularly.
Eating a grass-fed steak here and there is going to give you a bountiful serving of omega-3 fairy acids, protein, and zero carbohydrates. Plus when you buy grass-fed steaks they’re not going to come from cows that have been fed omega-6 corn or soy feed or have been injected with antibiotics.
It’s best if you can purchase your grass-fed steak from a local farmer. But if you’re not able to or can’t afford it then a regular steak will be much healthier for you than eating pasta or a pizza.
Drinking coconut milk can help you lose more weight since it contains healthy MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides). Studies have found MCTs help to boost your metabolism so your body can burn off more calories and fat (19).
A study also found drinking coconut milk ended up lowering the amount of bad cholesterol LDL while increasing the amount of good cholesterol HDL (20). Plus drinking coconut oil and the MCTs will have some anti-aging effects on your body (21).
Now I’m not saying it’s healthy to eat bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but it’s going to be a lot healthier for you in the long run than eating a bagel for breakfast. Bacon doesn’t contain any of the harmful trans fats even though it does contain fat.
Bacon is about 50% monounsaturated fat which has been viewed as being the healthy fat. The rest is about 40% saturated fats which recently have been found in studies to not have any negative impact on the health of your heart (22). Just make sure the bacon you buy is free of nitrates and nitrites as these preservatives can harm your health (23).
Eating more cheese is one of my favorite ways to get more high-calorie low carb foods into your diet. Cheese is rich in protein as well as other nutrients such as bone-strengthening calcium. It’s best to buy grass-fed cheese as it contains more healthy omega-3 fatty acids (24).
Contrary to traditional beliefs eating more cheese isn’t bad for you. There are numerous health benefits associated with eating cheese such as lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of some cancers (25,26). But be careful as some cheese contains a lot of preservatives and can hurt your health.
One of my favorite snacks that are calorie-dense is nut butter. And almond butter is well known as being the king of the nuts. Almond butter contains a lot of nutrients and unless they’re added with sugar do not contain any carbs. Almond butter is rich in monounsaturated fats as well as antioxidants.
If you’re hungry for a snack it’s going to be much healthier for you to grab a spoonful of almond butter than potato chips. Studies have found those who eat more nuts ended up losing more weight as well as having less heart disease (27,28).
Eating more all-natural beef jerky is a great snack that’s high in protein and super low in carbs. I like to remind my clients to carry around some beef jerky with them if they’re feeling hungry as it’s quite convenient. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals in beef jerky such as zinc which is beneficial for your health. Make sure you stay away from the heavily processed beef jerky-like Slim Jim’s and find one that’s more naturally and minimally processed.
Can you gain weight without eating carbs?
Yes at the end of the day if you’re eating too many calories than your body is going to end up gaining weight. These high-calorie low carb foods will help you indulge a little bit while filling your stomach without spiking your blood sugar or insulin. But with that said you’re still going to have to watch how many calories you’re taking in daily if you don’t want to gain weight.
The Last Word
There are quite a lot of foods you can indulge in that contain a high amount of calories without the carbs.
Just because you’re following a low carb diet plan doesn’t mean you can’t eat some high-calorie tasty foods. Use the above list to keep your carbs low while being able to have some indulgent high-calorie foods that won’t pack on the pounds.
With that said you can still gain weight if you’re eating too many calories. It’s best to track and measure how many calories you’re eating daily to ensure you don’t unnecessarily add more pounds.
Now that you know the best high calories and zero carb foods it’s time to add them to your pantry and refrigerator so you can stay healthy and keep the pounds falling off.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.