The Best Foods for Hard Gainers

Food choices matter a lot and they can massively effect your ability to 1) hit your calories and 2) hit your macros. In this blog post I’m going to talk about the best foods for hard gainers. I’m going to split it up by macro nutrient for ease of understanding so you know what are the best carbs, fats and proteins to eat every day. Lets get into it…


Before I outline the best carbs, fats and proteins it’s important to identify what the number one most important goal is for hard gainers like you when it comes to your nutrition. The number one most important goal for you is to try and get the most amount of calories possible from the least amount/lowest volume of food. Another way of saying this is you want to be avoiding high volume, highly satiating, low calorie foods. This is because when you consume these foods they take up a lot of “space” which expands your stomach and signals to your brain that you are full/satiated and no more food is required. On the other hand, low volume high calorie foods don’t take up a lot of space (since they’re low in volume) which means you can eat more of these kinds of foods before you start to feel full/satiated.


Now that we’ve covered this, lets consider an exhaustive list of protein sources you need in your diet. Below I have listed the best protein sources in descending order from highest to lowest calories per 100g:


+ Mackerel

+ Minced meat (15% fat)

+ Rump steak

+ Chicken thighs 

+ Chicken drumsticks

+ Salmon fillets

+ Sirlion steak

+ Fillet steak

+ Minced meat 5% fat

+ Chicken breast

+ Tuna steak

+ Turkey breast

+ Cod

+ Prawns

+ Eggs


Now from that list you want to be focusing on the top 5 or 6 (include fish for some variety in your diet) as the staple protein sources. The others are great too however ideally if you want to get the best “bang for your buck” then these foods need to be in your weekly shopping list. Not only are they high in protein, but they contain a lot more calories than the other protein sources lower down the list. This is because meats like chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks contain more fat than chicken breast and turkey breast. Remember, you don’t just want protein when choosing your protein sources, you want calories too so you can hit your calorie surplus effortlessly every day. This means the fattier the meat the better. Don’t shy away from fat. If you want to consume the calories your body needs for weight gain consuming fat makes it a lot easier. If you avoid it you’ll have a hard time building muscle and gaining weight. Now lets move on to the best fat sources ranging from highest calories per 100g to lowest calories per 100g:


+ Olive oil

+ Coconut oil

+ Butter

+ Pecans

+ Walnuts

+ Peanut butter

+ Almonds

+ Flax seed

+ Chai seeds

+ Cheese

+ Cream

+ Avocado

+ Eggs


Again just like with the protein sources above, you want to be focusing on consuming the fats that contain the most amount of calories per 100g. One of the best and easiest ways to do this would be to not only cook every meal with olive oil or coconut oil, but also put olive oil all over your vegetables, rice and potatoes. They will not only taste a lot better, but it’s a very easy way to get another 100-300 kcals (depends how generous your servings are) in your meals every day. Another weird yet very effective way of consuming more calories would be to have shots of olive oil between your meals. You could have olive oil throughout the day between meals and this would be a very effective solution if you struggle to hit your calories. It sounds strange but if it means you can build muscle, get stronger and gain some size then it’s worth it.


Lets now consider carbs. Seeing as there’s so many I’m going to split this up into two sections: firstly dried fruits and secondly grains and vegetables. Below is a list of dried fruits ranging from highest to lowest amount of calories per 100g:


+ Dried peach

+ Coconut

+ Dried cranberries

+ Dates

+ Dried apricot

+ Banana

+ Grape

+ Mango

+ Blueberry

+ Apple

+ Raspberry

+ Pineapple

+ Cranberries

+ Oranges

+ Blackberries


The top five fruits in this list are dried fruits, which are basically your calorie goldmines. These fruits contain a lot of calories for a minimum amount of volume. Just 5 dates contain around 250-300 calories which is crazy in comparison to how many apples (for example) you would need to get the same number of calories. You’d probably need about 5 or 6 apples to hit 250-300 calories and it’s guaranteed that you’d feel very satiated and full after just 1 or 2 apples. Go crazy with these. If there’s a food market nearby then stock up on dried fruits every week. They can be a little more expensive in supermarkets so don’t be lazy and make up excuses saying you can’t afford them. There’s bound to be a food market or outdoor stalls in your town or city that sell dried fruits at a much cheaper price. Regardless, this is your health we’re talking about here so it should be your number one priority. Now lets move onto grains and vegetables. Below I’ve outlined a list of carbohydrates ranging from highest to lowest number of calories per 100g:


+ Granola

+ Rice cake

+ Wholemeal bread

+ Kidney beans

+ Quinoa

+ Chickpeas

+ Rice

+ Cous Cous

+ Sweet potato

+ Sweetcorn

+ Oatmeal

+ Beetroot

+ Broccoli

+ Green beans

+ Mushrooms

+ Asparagus

+ Tomato


Again just like with the other lists the top 5 here are the foods you need to be including in your shopping list every week since they contain the highest number of calories per 100g. Now you’re probably thinking, “But aren’t vegetables like beetroot, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes really healthy for me?” and yes you’re correct they are. However, eating 100g of dried fruit will provide you with more calories compared to eating 100g of broccoli. 100g broccoli is a lot of volume too which means it’s far more filling/satiating and it will take up a lot more space on your plate compared to dried fruits such as apricots. This means that dried fruits like dates, peaches, apricots, cranberries and coconut should be prioritized in your weekly shopping list ahead of broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, green beans and beetroot.


From each of these macro nutrient specific lists focus on including the top 5 in your weekly shopping list. This will make calorie consumption a lot easier and muscle building effortless whilst also having a varied diet. Anything else you buy will be a bonus or is included because certain foods are typically associated with certain meals in general.


It’s not as simple as just knowing what foods you need to be eating to build muscle. You need to know how many calories your body needs and the specific amounts of these foods required so you hit your specific calorie and macro nutrient requirements every day. All of this is done for you when you buy my Meal Plans. Get yours here:



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