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A great way to increase your calories and promote weight gain is by eating high-calorie bars.

They’re convenient, transportable, and, of course, they pack a lot of calories and protein.

But with the dozens of options, and many being marketed as low-calorie or low-carb, trying to decide which one is the best for weight gain is no easy feat.

To make your decision easier, here are the 5 best high-calorie bars for weight gain that provide at least 300 calories and 20 grams of protein, plus 2 homemade high-calorie bars to try.

high-calorie bars for weight gain

1. MET-Rx Big 100 Bar

Packing around 400 calories and 30 grams of protein each, these are great bars for weight gain.

MET-Rx labels them as meal replacement bars, but they’re better eaten as a snack for gaining weight since they’re loaded with calories and protein.

Of the eight flavors they offer, the super cookie crunch is by far my favorite.

Here’s the nutrition breakdown:

  • Calories: 380–420
  • Fat: 10–14 grams
  • Carbs: 42–48 grams
  • Protein: 30–32 grams

These bars are also an excellent source of multiple vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, E, D, and B12, zinc, calcium, and iron.

MET-Rx Big 100 bars contain protein from soy and milk.

In addition to these bars, MET-Rx makes a protein powder that is also good for weight gain.

If you’re unsure what flavor you might like, their variety pack is a great place to start.

2. Detour Lean Muscle Bar

The Detour Lean Muscle bar is comparable to the Met-Rx Big 100 bars in that they provide around 400 calories and 30 grams of protein.

Here’s the nutrition breakdown:

  • Calories: 370–420
  • Fat: 12–18 grams
  • Carbs: 33 grams
  • Protein: 32 grams

They are also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and B12, and a good source of magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Detour Lean Muscle bars contain protein primarily from whey protein but also casein.

Both proteins are derived from milk, but whey protein digests at a much faster rate than casein.

Choose from two flavors online.

3. Robert Irvine’s FITCRUNCH Bar

Created by celebrity chef, Robert Irvine, the FITCRUNCH bar is an excellent high-calorie choice for weight gain.

FITCRUNCH bars come in a snack and a meal size.

The snack size provides about half the calories as the meal size, so opt for the latter for the extra calories.

Here’s the nutrition breakdown:

  • Calories: 380
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Carbs: 27 grams
  • Protein: 30 grams

FITCRUNCH Bars contain protein from both milk and soy.

Find FITCRUNCH bars online.

4. Gatorade Whey Protein Bar

While known primarily for its sports drinks, Gatorade also makes great high-calorie bars.

Their Whey Protein Bar was developed for athletes to help rebuild and refuel, but it’s perfect to eat as a snack for weight gain too.

Here’s the nutrition breakdown:

  • Calories: 330–350
  • Fat: 10–13 grams
  • Carbs: 40–43 grams
  • Protein: 20 grams

The Gatorade Whey Protein Bar is also a good source of calcium and iron.

As the name implies, these bars use whey as the protein source.

Find the variety pack online.

5. Vega Sport Protein Bar

If you’re looking for a vegan, plant-based high-calorie bar, the Vega Sport Protein Bar is a good choice.

Vega offers two flavors — crispy mint chocolate or crunchy peanut butter.

Delivering a good-tasting, high-protein plant-based bar is incredibly challenging, but Vega did a good job in masking the characteristic flavor notes of plant proteins.

Here’s the nutrition breakdown:

  • Calories: 300
  • Fats: 11 grams
  • Carbs: 27 grams
  • Protein: 20 grams

Vega Sports Protein Bars contain a blend of brown rice and pea protein.

While milk proteins are superior to plant-based proteins for promoting increased muscle size and strength, pea protein has demonstrated increases similar to whey protein (1, 2).

Find the Vega Sport Protein Bar online.

High-calorie bars comparison

Here’s a calorie breakdown and nutrition comparison of the five best high-calorie bars for weight gain:

CALORIES

FAT (grams)

CARBS (grams)

PROTEIN (grams)

MET-Rx Big 100 Bar

380–420

10–14

42–48

30–32

Detour Lean Muscle Bar

370–420

12–18

33

32

FITCRUNCH Bar

380

16

27

30

Gatorade Whey Protein Bar

330–350

10–13

40–43

20

Vega Sport Protein Bar

300

11

27

20

Homemade high-calorie bar recipes to try

The convenience of buying an individually wrapped, high-calorie bar is tough to beat.

But making your own has its advantages too.

You get to control what ingredients you use and the amounts you use them in, allowing you to tailor them to your tastes and health goals.

And although it requires some time upfront, making high-calorie bars can be significantly less expensive than buying branded alternatives, especially if you plan to frequently eat them for breakfast.

Though the thought of making high-calorie bars can seem daunting, they’re easier to make than you might think.

Here are two homemade high-calorie bars recipes to try that require no baking:

Chocolate peanut butter bar

This option yields 12 servings, each containing 360 calories and 28 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot, combine milk, peanut butter, and honey over low heat. Stir until all ingredients are well-combined. Remove from heat.
  2. Add protein powder and oats. Stir well to combine.
  3. Grease an 8 x 8 pan. Using firm pressure, press evenly into the pan.
  4. Allow bars to cool. Cut into 12 servings. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or for up to one week in the fridge.

Vegan double chocolate bar

This vegan option utilizes quality plant-based protein sources from peas, oats, and flaxseeds.

The recipe yields 12 servings, each containing 310 calories and 18 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Combine peanut butter, dates, and rolled oats in a blender and pulse several times. Add the flaxseed meal, protein powder, and almond milk. Pulse again until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Add more almond milk, 1 tbsp at a time, if the mixture is too try.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and stir using a spatula.
  3. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Transfer the dough to the pan and, using firm pressure, press evenly into the pan.
  4. Transfer to freezer for 15 minutes to firm. Cut into 12 servings. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or for up to one week in the fridge.

And before you put the blender away, try making one of these high-calorie protein shakes for weight gain.

The bottom line

Incorporating one of these high-calorie bars — each with at least 300 calories and 20 grams of protein — is a great way to increase your calories and promote weight gain.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, making homemade high-calorie bars is an excellent alternative to their branded counterparts for saving money and being able to tailor the ingredients to your tastes and preferences.


Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD
Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD is a registered dietitian with a master's of science in human nutrition and bioenergetics. Gavin specializes in nutrition for older adults and regulations surrounding long-term care as they relate to food and nutrition.