Q:I was recently surfing the web looking for lower-carb, calorie-rich foods to help me meet my daily caloric needs (I'm coming up short now that I'm eating so many veggies!). I came across a suggestion to switch out chicken breast for chicken thighs. I do prefer dark meat, so I like this idea. However, I'm concerned about the higher fat content. Is trading out breasts for thighs a good idea to boost caloric intake without boosting carb count? Why or why not?


Eating too few calories is actually a more common problem than most people think, however, filling in with lean calories is still a better option. Adding animal fat is not the best way to go when trying to add calories, but adding fat from nuts and vegetables is a great idea and actually helps to boost the metabolism. It is important to remember that weight loss is not just about calories, but about quality of food. Remember that people who eat clean, whole foods maintain lower body weight than those who eat more processed foods, even when they eat the same amount of protein, calories, and carbs. If you need to, increase calories with cleaner foods.

Here is a list of foods that you can use to increase calories and boost the metabolism:

  • Walnuts, almonds, pistachios (or any other nuts)
  • Guacamole or avocado – great heart-healthy fats that increase calories easily. Just watch portions.
  • Hummus – 100 calorie packs come in many flavors
  • Boiled eggs – Egg yolks contain B6, folate, a B vitamin, B-12, A, D, E and K. Of those, vitamins A, D, E and K (not found in whites). The occasional whole egg is a great idea and is also a fantastic source of choline.
  • Low fat cheese sticks
  • Beef jerky or turkey jerky – just make sure to choose MSG and nitrite free versions or make it yourself.