Here’s a secret: smoothies are better for a weight-gain diet than a weight-loss diet.
Today we’re looking through the best weight gain smoothies recipes for building muscle and supporting a calorie surplus diet.
We’ll be looking at what great smoothies for weight gain need, some of the best examples to get started with, and the real-world stuff you need to remember to make them work for you.
Let’s take a look at what goes into making great high calorie smoothies for weight gain and how you can get the best out of them…
How Do You Make Great Smoothies for Weight Gain?
A great weight-gain smoothie covers everything from your calorie needs to great taste (or at least acceptable), as well as providing the right balance of carbs and protein.
The idea is that it should not only be a nutritionally complete approach to extra weight-gain, but also a convenient and palatable choice. You want to enjoy the weight-gain process as much as possible, even though that can be a real challenge sometimes.
Let’s go step-by-step through the things that a weight gain smoothie needs to bring to the table.
Strong Base: What Liquid Should I Make High Calorie Smoothies With?
Your smoothie doesn’t work without liquids – they’re the basis for any good smoothie. You can start out with a number of liquids that each have their own benefits and drawbacks: water, coconut water, milk, coconut milk, other forms of plant milk (though these aren’t ideal), or even a juice.
The idea is that you should really be matching your goals to the base of your smoothie – as well as keeping in mind what you’re going to put in it. There are some things you might be comfortable blending, like bananas and milk, while others (like orange and milk) don’t quite work.
Smoothie bases have their own pros and cons, but having variety is a good thing:
Water: the universal solvent! A great place to start for any smoothie – but without any nutrients.
Coconut water: like water but sweeter and contains important electrolytes.
Milk: a nutrient-rich source but doesn’t pair well with citrus or some other ingredients.
Coconut milk: somewhere between milk and coconut water – some vitamins and electrolytes.
Other plant milks: some calories but relatively limited nutrient-content, pair better than milk.
Juice: high sugar, can bring too much acidity, probably not as healthy as you think.
Good Protein Source: Providing Essential Muscle Growth for Homemade Protein Smoothies
There’s no point focusing on a smoothie for weight gain if you’re not considering a protein source in there. It’s a ton of calories, carbs, and sugars that really need an “active ingredient” for better quality weight gain and muscle growth.
A simple protein powder – plant or animal source – is going to add some real benefits to a pre- or post-workout weight gain smoothie. We generally recommend neutral flavors like a mellow vanilla or something you know will work with your smoothie plans.
You can also use other liquid and semi-liquid sources like low-fat Greek yoghurt to boost the protein intake. This is a natural source of protein that blends pretty well, adds ‘creaminess’ to your smoothie, and pairs well with all kinds of different fruits and other ingredients.
Keep it simple – it’s just here to fluff the protein content and drive muscle protein synthesis.
Calorie-dense Carbs: Starches, Sugars, and Bulking Up
Carbs are going to make up most of any homemade protein smoothie for weight gain. They’re the basis for most calories from fruit and the sweetness of a smoothie is usually the point – even more-savory smoothies (like kale, spirulina, and cucumber types) will require some sweetness.
Carbs from fruit are pretty much the point of a smoothie and make them perfect for pre- and post-workout use where you need more sugars. These fast-absorbing carbs are great for replacing lost muscle glycogen exhausted during a workout.
These are the basis for the flavor, too, so these should be carefully selected. Don’t just think about the carbs or flavor, but also the texture of the fruits you’re blending and how they play together. The last thing you want is an unstrained berry smoothie full of pips and rind.
Micronutrient Sources: Keeping Yourself Healthy and Fueling the Body
Speaking of kale and spirulina, you should try and get a specific nutrient-dense vegetable or other source into your smoothies to gain weight fast.
These kinds of deep greens and other plant foods are a great choice to sneak some nutrients into your smoothie. These are an important part of any diet and – when you’re gaining weight – it’s important to pair them with your calorie intake wherever possible.
The last thing you want is “empty” calories that don’t come with nutrients. That’s a rapid route to overlooking the important health functions of your diet – healthy weight gain is based on these weight gain foods.
Kale, spinach, and spirulina are three of the easiest choices and should be on-hand if you’re thinking of picking up a weight gain smoothie habit – but you’re free to experiment!
Smoothie Consistency: Balancing Wet and Dry Ingredients
There is nothing worse than making a weight-gain smoothie or shake only to realize that it’s too thick and you’re going to be chewing it.
This is what happens when we get the liquid and dry ingredient balance wrong. Start with fewer solids as you blend, just to make sure you’re not ruining the texture. Blending one ingredient at a time might take some more time, but it does save you the frustration of starting fresh or not enjoying your smoothie.
Remember: you can always add more solids, but you can’t take them out of the smoothie once they’re blended in there. For your own sake, be patient and add a little at a time until you get the right consistency.
Frequency: More Often is Better than More-intense
This is an eternal truth about managing a weight-gain diet: it’s usually smarter to go for “more often” rather than just “more”.
This applies to weight gain smoothies – it’s going to be easier to drink two 500ml smoothies than one 800ml. Spacing out your intake will make these heavier between-meal snacks more palatable and support better overall energy levels.
Consider splitting your weight-gain meals and drinks throughout the day to reduce the burden on your digestive system and time. Especially around workouts, where you want to make sure you’re well-fueled but not carrying around too much “fullness” and feeling uncomfortable.
8 High Calorie Weight Gain Smoothie Recipes
1: Simple Banana PB Smoothie
- ¾ cup plain yoghurt
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
- ½ banana
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- ½ cup ice
- Optional: handful of chocolate chips
2: Cinnamon Protein Smoothie
- 1/2 cup plain full fat Greek yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 2 tablespoons old fashioned oats (soaked beforehand)
- ½ cup of your chosen milk
- 2tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon butter extract (or vanilla extract)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5-10 ice cubes (by consistency and thickness – add one at a time)
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon clove
3: Classic Banana-Strawberry Smoothie
- 2 cups strawberries
- 1 medium banana
- 1 cup whole milk (or plant milk)
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp chia seed
- 1 Tbsp honey
4: Banana-Strawberry with Avocado
- ¼ Cup milk
- ¾ Cup plain yogurt
- 1 Whole banana
- 1 ½ Cup frozen strawberries
- ¼ avocado
- ¼ tsp Vanilla extract
- Optional: Half teaspoon of Maca or cocoa powder
5: Tropical Pineapple Smoothie
- 1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder (added at the end for consistency)
- 1-1.5 cup milk of your choice (ideally plant milk)
- 3/4 cup pineapple
- 1/2 cup mango
- 1/4 cup canned Coconut Milk
- 1.5 TBSP cashew or almond butter
- 1 TBSP flax Seeds Ground
6: Blueberry-Spinach Smoothie
- 2 cups of blueberries
- 1/2 cup milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
7: Weight-Gain Green Smoothie
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 cup spinach
- ½ bananas
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 12 ounces water
- 1 tablespoon flaxseeds or appropriate flax seed oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut flakes
- 2 scoops protein powder
8; Light Avocado-Kale Smoothie
- ½ avocados
- 2 small heads of kale
- 1 cup grapes
- ½ cup diced mango
- 8 ounces water or coconut water
Frequently Asked Questions
How to make weight gain smoothies?
A great weight gain smoothie uses the right base liquid, a protein source, and a variety of fruits and veg that help both your calorie count and your nutrient intake.
The best weight gain smoothies also strike the right balance for consistency without too much dry ingredient. It’s all about fitting the right amounts and finding flavors that complement each other (like orange and mango).
Make sure to strain the bits, too, if you’re really looking for the best experience. Some texture is good but “bits” in homemade smoothies tend not to be great.
What high calorie foods can I put in a smoothie?
Smoothies take almost any fruit, which tends to be a high-calorie solution. The sugars of fruits are calorie-rich while other sources – like oils and protein sources – can also help increase the calorie count.
Smoothies tend to be lower-calorie than shakes, which are more dairy- and grain-based (e.g. oats in a protein shake). Smoothies are better for nutrient-intake and smaller bursts of carbs from fruit, like pre- and post-workout smoothies.
What to add to fruit smoothies to gain weight?
Berries, bananas, and pineapple are great examples of fruits that can be used in high calorie weight gain smoothies.
The hard part is that fruits that fit together are more important than single fruits. The pairings make the flavor, and most fruits are going to offer up extra calories when they’re blended into a smoothie due to the sugar content.
Bananas and other starchy fruits are difficult to balance for texture but offer a combination of starches and sugars that can bump up the calorie content of a smoothie.
Do smoothies make you gain weight?
High protein smoothies can help with weight gain due to the calories they provide – mostly from fruit sugars.
These are a short-term energy source and should be matched up with workouts and physical activity.
The best approach is to use them more often, rather than simply making bigger smoothies, and even pair them with other food to slow down the metabolism of sugars and provide more sustainable energy.
Are smoothies healthy?
Some smoothies for weight gain are healthy – it depends entirely on what you put in them.
Smoothies tend to be high-sugar which can be a problem if you’re not moving enough to justify the sugar intake. They can, however, be rich in important nutrients from fruit and veg – especially if you’re blending in kale or spinach with your green smoothies.
Smoothies are only healthy if they make up a part of a well-balanced diet and don’t just increase sugar and calorie intake!
Can you make vegan weight gain smoothies?
Vegan weight gain smoothies are easy to make and work just fine – using a base liquid of water, coconut water, or any plant milk.
Most of the ingredients in a smoothie are going to be vegan de facto as they’re simply fruits and vegetables. Protein powders and other additives will need to be controlled for animal products but things like Oryzatein powder (brown rice protein) can work just fine in a vegan weight-gain smoothie!
Conclusion - Best Smoothies to Gain Weight
Weight gain smoothies are just one more way of conveniently bumping up your calorie intake without just making you full. They are similar to weight-gain shakes in this regard but tend to be thinner and less of a chore to get through – and with more focus on micronutrients.
Healthy weight gain smoothies work best when they’re either combined with other foods as part of a whole meal or as a burst of energy for physical activity.
Pair your smoothies with meals or use them pre- or post-workout to replenish your carb stores and provide the energy you need for performance, recovery, and growth.
Weight gain comes from the whole diet and high calorie smoothies are just one way to increase your overall intake of calories, carbs, micronutrients, and even protein if you’re adding powders to them.
They’re a versatile choice that you can have a lot of fun with and drive healthy weight gain!