Backyard gardens provide a sustainable and enjoyable way to grow your own food, ensuring access to fresh, healthy, and nutrient-rich produce, either as part of your every day living, or as something you are preparing for so that you can plant in an emergency.
Maximizing the caloric value of your harvest can help you make the most of the available space and increase your garden’s overall yield. By focusing on calorie-dense crops, you can grow a diverse range of foods that provide essential energy and nutrients for a balanced diet.
Now, not all crops are suitable for all types of ground. So you will want to be sure that the crops you want to grow are suitable for your property and land type you will be growing on, as well as the weather conditions in your area.
Here is a list of 10 calorie-dense crops, along with their approximate caloric content per cooked cup:
Potatoes (white or sweet)
Potatoes are a versatile, calorie-rich crop that can be grown in most climates. One cup of cooked white potatoes contains approximately 134 calories, while one cup of cooked sweet potatoes has around 180 calories.
Corn is an energy-rich staple crop that can be eaten fresh, dried, or ground into flour. One cup of cooked corn kernels contains about 177 calories.
Beans (e.g., black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans)
Beans are protein-rich and calorie-dense, making them an excellent addition to your garden. One cup of cooked beans typically contains around 210-250 calories, depending on the variety. Plus you can dry them for longer term storage too.
Winter squash (e.g., butternut, acorn, pumpkin):
Winter squash varieties are high in calories and nutrients. One cup of cooked winter squash contains approximately 75-100 calories, depending on the type. Squash is typically one of the easiest crops to grow.
Green peas are not only calorie-dense but also high in protein and fiber. One cup of cooked green peas contains around 125 calories.
Quinoa is a complete protein and calorie-dense grain that is relatively easy to grow. One cup of cooked quinoa contains approximately 222 calories.
Amaranth is an ancient grain that is high in protein and calories. One cup of cooked amaranth contains about 251 calories.
Beets are a calorie-rich root vegetable that can be used in various dishes. One cup of cooked beets contains around 75 calories.
Carrots are a calorie-dense and nutrient-rich root vegetable that is easy to grow in a backyard garden. One cup of cooked carrots contains about 55 calories.
Sunflowers are not only beautiful but also provide calorie-dense seeds that can be eaten raw or roasted. One cup of shelled, roasted sunflower seeds contains approximately 818 calories. Also, sunflowers tend to grow easily in many ground and weather types. Also, because not many associate happy looking sunflowers as food, if space is a factor, sunflowers can be grown in front yards too, if you want to maximize your backyard or secured garden areas for crops that are more likely to be stolen.
Growing calorie-dense crops in your backyard garden is an effective way to optimize your harvest and provide a bountiful supply of nutritious food for your household. By selecting a variety of calorie-rich crops, you can enjoy a diverse range of flavors, textures, and nutrients while maximizing the energy content of your homegrown produce.
Consider incorporating these calorie-dense crops into your garden plan, either by planting or ensuring you have enough seeds for long term emergencies, to make the most of your available space and reap the benefits of sustainable, home-grown food. With proper care and attention, your backyard garden can become a valuable source of nourishment and enjoyment for years to come.