For some people, gaining weight can be just as challenging as losing weight is for others.
Fortunately, drinking protein shakes is a great way to deliver plenty of extra — and delicious — calories so you can pack on the pounds.
This article provides the recipe for the best protein shake for weight gain and discusses other helpful weight gain tips to pack on the pounds.
The best protein shake for weight gain recipe
Here is the recipe for the best protein shake for weight gain:
Creamy peanut butter and banana shake
- 1/2 cup (40 grams) of quick oats
- 1 cup (240 mL) whole milk
- one banana
- one package of Breakfast Essentials chocolate
- 2 tbsp (33 grams) of peanut butter
Directions: Blend quick oats into a powder first before adding the remaining ingredients. Add several cubes of ice and blend until smooth.
This shake provides:
- 735 calories
- 100 grams of carbs
- 28 grams of fat
- 26 grams of protein
This is the best protein shake for weight gain because you can easily swap or add ingredients to fit your needs, dietary preferences, and accommodate any food allergies or intolerances.
For example, if you follow a plant-based diet, you can swap the milk for soy milk and the Breakfast Essentials packet with a scoop of any plant-based protein powder.
These substitutions would also be suitable if you are lactose-intolerant. However, most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate a dose of 12 grams of lactose — equal to about 1 cup (240 mL) of milk — without problems (1).
If you have diabetes, you can eliminate some of the carbs by swapping the Breakfast Essentials packet with a scoop of basic chocolate-flavored whey protein powder and using half instead of a whole banana.
This will reduce the carbs from 100 grams to 64 grams while providing 20 more grams of protein, all without significantly affecting the total calories.
Tips for gaining weight
There may be several reasons why gaining weight could be beneficial.
Older adults may need to gain weight if they experience unintentional weight loss or malnutrition due to a condition that decreases appetite, increases calorie needs, or both.
Gaining weight for certain athletes could help them perform better at their sport.
In other instances, a person may just consider themselves too skinny and want to put on a few pounds.
Regardless of your reason, here are a few tips for gaining weight:
Emphasize healthy fats
Fats contain more than double the number of calories per gram than proteins or carbs.
For this reason, including a lot of fat in your diet is an efficient and effective way to increase your calories.
But not all fats are created equal.
Try to emphasize healthy fats such as:
- nuts and seeds
- nut butters
- extra virgin olive oil
- full-fat milk and yogurt
- fatty fish like salmon
- whole eggs
There can still be room for some of your favorite fried foods and desserts but aim to consume mostly healthy fats.
Eat more often
It can be difficult to eat the number of calories you need to gain weight in three square meals.
Instead, eat more frequently to make sure you’re getting the calories you need by including high-calorie snacks between each meal and before you go to bed.
Eating more often, however, does require some planning. Make sure you always have snacks on hand or premixed nutrition drinks like Ensure and that you have your meals planned in case something unexpected comes up that throws your eating schedule off balance.
Don’t be afraid of sugar
Sugar is often vilified as a cause for conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer.
While it’s no secret that eating too much sugar is unhealthy and can increase your risk for these diseases, you shouldn’t completely shun sugar from your diet if you want to gain weight.
Many sugary foods are considered sources of empty calories because they contain lots of calories but few nutrients.
Sugary foods can be especially helpful for helping older adults gain weight and should not be completely restricted from their diets, even if they have diabetes.
One of the best ways to gain weight is by increasing the calories of foods that you already commonly eat.
For example, you can saute or stir fry vegetables, meats, and fish in olive oil, or spread jelly, honey, and peanut butter on bread and crackers.
You can also include cream sauces on vegetables and pasta or use milk in place of water when making hot cereals and cream soups.
Switching to whole-fat versions of dairy products and choosing fattier cuts of meats over their leaner counterparts can also help increase calories for gaining weight.
Regular resistance training or weight lifting is important for promoting and maintaining good health — especially with aging.
But when you’re trying to gain weight, lifting weights becomes very important to ensure that most of the weight you do gain is in the form of muscle rather than body fat.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend doing muscle-strengthening exercises that involve all major muscle groups on two more days per week (2).
The bottom line
Gaining weight — whether for older adults, athletes, or people that consider themselves skinny — can be a challenge
The creamy butter and banana shake is the best protein shake for weight gain because you can easily customize it to your needs and dietary preferences, while also accommodating any food allergies or intolerances.
You can also gain weight by emphasizing healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and oils, eating more frequently, and keeping sugary foods on the menu.
Increasing the calories of the foods you already eat and regularly lifting weights can also help you pack on the pounds the right way.