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Gaining weight can be beneficial for many people.

Older adults with unintentional weight loss, athletes who want to perform better at their sport, or underweight females trying to conceive may all benefit from gaining weight.

Unfortunately, consistently eating enough calories to gain weight — whether due to decreased appetite, early satiety, or a medical condition — isn’t always easy.

This can make trying to gain weight difficult and frustrating for many people.

However, separating your meals with high-calorie snacks can make it easier to eat more calories and gain weight.

Here are 12 high-calorie snacks that contain at least 300 calories and around 10 grams of protein to help you gain weight.

high-calorie snacks for weight gain

1. Peanut butter and honey sandwich

Peanut butter is the perfect food for weight gain — it’s calorie-dense and cost-effective.

Spread peanut butter over a slice of bread or toast and drizzle with honey for added sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 slice of white bread (plain or toasted)
  • 1 drizzle of honey (1 tbsp)

Nutrition:

  • 335 calories
  • 9 grams of protein

2. Whole-fat Greek yogurt and granola

Greek yogurt is regular yogurt’s protein-rich cousin.

Now, choose the whole-fat version of Greek yogurt and you have a high-calorie, protein-rich snack.

Add granola for a crunch and some extra calories.

Ingredients:

Nutrition:

  • 360 calories
  • 26 grams of protein

3. High-calorie protein bar

Whether you’re on the go or in a pinch, a high-calorie bar can fit the bill.

There are a variety of different options available and some are better than others for gaining weight.

Look for ones that contain around 300 calories and 20 grams of protein.

Here are a few good options:

4. Full-fat cottage cheese and almonds

Cottage cheese is generally a low-calorie, protein-rich food, so opt for the full-fat version for a calorie boost.

Serve with a handful of almonds for some extra calories and healthy fats.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of full-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 oz (handful) of almonds

Nutrition:

  • 380 calories
  • 34 grams of protein

5. Orange-vanilla twist smoothie

Shakes and smoothies are the perfect choices for gaining weight because you can load them with calories and protein. They’re also quick and easy to make.

Try this orange-vanilla twist smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) of frozen mango chunks
  • 2/3 cup (170 grams) of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 package of vanilla Carnation Breakfast Essentials
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) of half and half
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition:

  • 533 calories
  • 27 grams of protein

Don’t like this recipe? Try one of these other protein shakes and smoothies for weight gain.

6. High-protein trail mix

Like protein bars, trail mix is the perfect grab-and-go snack.

But not all trail mix is created equal, especially the type you find at the store.

Instead, try making your own. This helps save on costs and allows you to add more high-protein ingredients like nuts and seeds that some store-bought trail mixes may be lacking.

Try this simple high-protein trail mix:

Ingredients:

  • 10 almonds
  • 10 cashews
  • 10 peanuts
  • 1 tbsp dried coconut, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients and enjoy.

You can also easily scale this recipe to make more — just multiple each ingredient by the number of servings you want to make. Portion and store in individual bags for an easy grab-and-go snack.

Nutrition:

  • 490 calories
  • 14 grams of protein

7. High-calorie whey protein shake

While most people believe protein shakes are only beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders, they can be very helpful for gaining weight.

However, by themselves, they are generally low in calories since they contain mostly protein with limited amounts of carbs and fats.

But mixing protein powder with whole-fat milk is an easy way to add more calories and protein.

You also don’t need a blender — just a cup and a stirring utensil or you can use a blender bottle.

Ingredients:

For a plant-based alternative, you can use pea protein powder or a blend of different plant proteins with soy milk.

Nutrition:

  • 280 calories
  • 33 grams of protein

8. No-bake protein bars

Making your own high-calorie protein bars isn’t as difficult as you might expect. You don’t even need to use an oven.

Try this no-bake protein bar recipe (makes 8 servings):

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, combine the milk, peanut butter, and maple syrup over low heat. Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat.
  2. Add protein powder and oats. Still well to combine.
  3. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan and scoop the mixture into the pan. Press evenly to compress into your desired thickness.
  4. Allow bars to cool. Cut into 8 equal-sized pieces and enjoy. Put in an airtight container and store for up to three days.

Nutrition:

  • 360 calories
  • 16 grams of protein

9. Peanut butter and banana wrap

If you haven’t noticed by now, peanut butter is really good for gaining weight.

For another easy-to-make high-calorie snack, try this peanut butter and banana wrap:

Ingredients:

Spread the peanut butter on the tortilla wrap and place the banana slices across the tortilla. Then, just roll and enjoy.

For variety, you can substitute peanut butter with almond butter.

Nutrition:

  • 365 calories
  • 15 grams of protein

10. Avocado-egg toast

Avocados, while technically a fruit, are nutritionally considered a fat.

Their rich content of heart-healthy fats makes them perfect for adding extra calories.

Avocados offer a smooth and creamy texture, which makes them easy — when ripe — to spread across warm toast.

Add a fried egg on top for a protein boost.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 slice of white bread (toasted)
  • 1 large egg, fried

Nutrition:

  • 290 calories
  • 10 grams of protein

11. Italian pinwheel sandwich

While sandwiches are typically eaten as meals, they can be great snack options for gaining weight.

Similar to a shake or smoothie, you can load sandwiches with a variety of ingredients to increase their calorie and protein content.

Try this Italian sandwich pinwheel recipe (serves two):

Ingredients:

  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • 1 oz salami slice
  • 1 oz pepperoni slices
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • green lettuce leaf

Cream cheese spread:

Combine all ingredients and mix until well combined.

Directions:

  1. Spread 2 tbsp of the cream cheese spread onto the tortilla.
  2. Line the provolone cheese down the center of the tortilla.
  3. Make a single layer of green leaf lettuce to cover the tortilla.
  4. Layer the salami and pepperoni.
  5. Roll tightly and refrigerate for one hour.
  6. Slice roll into 1-inch thick pinwheels.

Nutrition:

  • 340 calories
  • 16 grams of protein

12. Ensure Plus

Ensure is a brand of pre-mixed nutrition drinks.

They come in a reclosable container so you can easily grab one when you’re on the go and they’re great to keep your fridge stocked with them.

Ensure is especially useful when you don’t feel like making a homemade high-calorie shake.

Ensure Original is the nutritional formula that the other Ensure products are based upon, and while it’s great for getting in more calories, the Ensure Plus product is a better option for weight gain.

Ensure Plus provides 350 nutritious calories — 40% more than Ensure Original — and 16 grams of protein.

You can find Ensure Plus online.

There are a variety of flavors and pack sizes to choose from.

The bottom line

It can be challenging to eat enough calories throughout the day to gain weight.

However, separating your meals with these high-calorie snacks can help you pack in the calories and pack on the pounds.

If you’re physically capable, incorporating some exercise, especially weight training, can help encourage weight gain from muscle rather than fat.


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.