Best High-Calorie Vegetables for a Survival Garden

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best high calorie vegetables survival gardening

High-calorie vegetables are an important part of a survival garden. As part of a survival food plan, fresh vegetables are a nutritious addition to any prepper diet. You need calories for the energy you need to deal with whatever challenges you may face. Here are the best high-calorie vegetables for your survival garden.

Top High-Calorie Vegetables

The top high-calorie vegetables are legumes, root vegetables, and corn. Not only are they easy to store, but they are also used as staple foods for people the world over. These vegetables are excellent additions to your vegetable garden.

What Are Legumes?

According to the Cambridge English dictionary, a legume is “a plant that has its seeds in a pod, such as the bean or pea.”

Legumes include beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts. A good source of protein, legumes are also high in fiber and micronutrients. They are easy to grow and store.

what are legumes

Different Types of Legumes

With all the different types of legumes, how do you tell them apart?


Generally, beans have an oval or elongated shape. They include pinto beans, black beans, pink and red beans, and kidney beans. White beans include navy, Great northern beans, lima beans, and cannellini beans.

Kidney Bean Precautions

Kidney beans and cannellini (white kidney beans) must be well cooked. Never eat them raw. According to Dr. Josh Axe, “Raw kidney beans contain a toxin, phytohaemagglutinin, that can cause liver damage.”

Soak kidney beans for eight hours or overnight and discard the soaking water.

Fill with fresh water and bring to a full boil for at least ten minutes to completely destroy the toxin. Then cook until tender.

For this reason, it’s better to cook kidney beans on the stove instead of in a low-temperature cooker.


Most peas are round and have fewer calories than beans. They include black-eyed peas, English peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, green and yellow peas, purple hull peas and field peas. Some, such as snow peas and snap peas, also have edible pods and can be eaten raw or cooked.


Lentils are round, flat disks. They include brown, green, red, and orange lentils. Lentils are very quick and easy to cook. They work well in soups and salads.

yams vs sweet potatoes

Root Vegetables

Yams vs Sweet Potatoes

How do you tell the difference between the two? According to the Library of Congress, “Yams are from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family while sweet potatoes are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family.”

A true yam is a starchy, edible root. Yams have a brown or darker scaly skin and light insides. They have more calories than sweet potatoes and are starchier and sweeter.

Yams grow well in tropical climates and can reach sizes of over six feet long and 150 pounds. They store well, too. Properly handled, they can be stored for up to six months.

Sweet Potatoes are popular dishes for holidays meals. They range in colors from golden to copper skins with orange or yellow flesh.

There are two main cooking varieties: firm and soft. Firm sweet potatoes are similar to white baking potatoes. They stay firmer when cooked. Soft sweet potatoes, when cooked, get softer and are easier to mash or puree.


Additional High-Calorie Root Vegetables

Taro root

Rich in vitamins and minerals, taro root is high in calories as well at over 180 calories in a cup. Taro is a tropical to subtropical plant. Both the leaves and the root is edible but must be cooked first. (Taro is toxic when raw.)


Though not as common today, parsnips are another high-calorie root vegetable. At 100 calories in a cup, they are just slightly less than sweet potatoes.


Potatoes are a versatile crop and can be prepared in a multitude of ways. By also eating the skins, you can increase their nutritional value.


Corn is another versatile crop. It can be eaten both as a vegetable and dried and ground into meal.

Winter Squash

Another good source of calories is winter squash. Popular winter squashes such as acorn and butternut squash are easy to grow and store.

winter squash butternut

High-Calorie Fruits

If you live in the right climate or have a greenhouse, add these high-calorie fruits to your survival garden.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit of any kind is generally higher in calories, being a condensed version of itself. It’s easy to store and pack. It provides a quick burst of energy while satisfying the sharpest sweet tooth.


While most people consider the avocado to be a vegetable, it’s also considered to be a fruit. The avocado is a good source of both calories and healthy fats.


While definitely a tropical plant, a coconut is a fruit, a nut, and a seed. High in calories, coconuts are also a good source of healthy fats.


Rich in potassium and fiber, bananas are more than just their insides. You can eat the peels, too. According to Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist, “[The skin] contains high amounts of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some fiber and protein.”

The riper the banana, the sweeter and thinner the peel will be. To cook, bake, broil or fry for ten minutes.



A good source of Vitamin C, mangoes also provide Vitamin A and fiber.

Fats Add Calories

While vegetables and fruits are nutritious, they are lower in calories. To increase your calories, add fats to your meals.

If you’re striving for food self-sufficiency, you will need sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Providing the necessary fats for a healthy diet can come from either animal or plant sources. Some of the best sources of plant-based fats come from nuts and seeds.

High-Calorie Nuts and Seeds

Nut Trees

Nut trees are a good investment for a survival garden. But they do take time to grow to maturity and produce a full crop. Popular nut trees include macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and chestnuts.


For a faster crop, try seeds. High calorie, high-fat seeds include sunflower seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.

Try out some of these high-calorie vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in your survival garden. With these few extra additions, you will be well on your way to food self-sufficiency.

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