Creating High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain in Athletes

Creating High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain in Athletes

Creating High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain in Athletes

It is not uncommon for athletes to be looking for ways to add calories to their day to help them with gaining weight. High calorie smoothies can be a quick and easy option to support athletes with achieving their weight gain goals.

High calorie smoothies can be enjoyed for a quick breakfast on-the-go, following a workout, or as an evening snack before bed.

By changing the types of fruit and mix-in ingredients, athletes can enjoy a different smoothie flavor combination each time.

High-Calorie Smoothie for Weight Gain Recipe Download

High Calorie Ingredients for Smoothies to Support Weight Gain

When making a high calorie smoothie for weight gain, focus on adding nutritious calories that provide carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.  

Let’s take a look at a variety of high calorie ingredients athletes can add to their smoothies to support weight gain.

Avocados: Nutritious Addition to High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain

Avocados are a nutrient-dense fruit for athletes. They are a great way to add healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your smoothie.

One medium avocado (201 g) provides 322 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 14 grams of fiber (1). The majority of fat found in avocados is monounsaturated fat, a type of healthy, unsaturated fat. 

Avocados also provide B Vitamins, Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and magnesium, making them a nutritious addition to your smoothie (1).

Adding Avocados to High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain

Blending ½ an avocado into your smoothie is a great way to add-in nutritious calories.

Since avocados have a mild flavor, they will not alter the taste of your smoothie. However, avocados will give the smoothie a creamy texture, thus making it a great smoothie addition.

Try making the Avocado Banana Smoothie from Katie Dodd, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. This is a delicious high calorie smoothie recipe to support athlete weight gain.

Avocados in High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain

Nut Butters: Add Healthy Fats and Protein to High Calorie Smoothies

Nut butters contain protein, unsaturated fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Thus, they are a nutritious option to enjoy in your smoothie.

A 2-tablespoon serving of nut butter provides ~190 calories and ~7 grams of protein (2).

Adding Nut Butter to High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain

For athletes looking to gain weight, nut butters can easily increase the total calories in your shake.

Nut butters are also a fun way to change-up the flavor profile of your smoothies. Consider the following smoothie varieties that can be made with nut butter:

  • Peanut butter banana
  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Peanut butter and jelly (made with mixed berries)


If you have a good quality blender, nuts can also be blended into smoothies for added calories and flavor.

Pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts are all great options to add to your high calorie smoothie.

If you are worried your blender won’t be able to process the nuts, consider adding them as a garnish on top instead.

Seeds: Nutrient Dense Ingredient for High Calorie Smoothies

Seeds, such as chia seeds or ground flaxseeds, are a great addition to a high calorie smoothie for weight gain.

In addition to calories, nutrient-dense seeds provide protein, fiber, unsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (3). 

Thus. seeds are a convenient way to boost the nutrient profile of your smoothie.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have the ability to absorb water, which will give the smoothie a thicker texture. A 1-ounce serving of chia seeds provides 138 calories, 5 grams of protein along with 10 grams of fiber (4).

Chia seeds do not have much flavor. Therefore, putting a few tablespoons of chia seeds into your shake is great way to boost the nutrient profile. 

Try making this Triple-Berry Chia Seeds Smoothie from Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, for a healthy smoothie packed full of nutrients.

Ground Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are typically consumed ground, as it is easier for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients in the ground form. A 2-Tbsp serving of Bob’s Red Mill® Golden Flaxseed Meal provides 70 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.

Ground flaxseeds blend well into a smoothie, thus it’s an easy way to increase the nutrient profile of your smoothie.

Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds in High Calorie Smoothies

Tofu: Plant-Based Addition to High Calorie Smoothies

Tofu is an easy way to add plant-based protein (soy protein), vitamins, and minerals to your smoothie.

Unlike most sources of plant protein, soy protein is a complete protein. Complete proteins contain all 9 of the essential amino acids, which our bodies cannot produce (5).

Thus, for athletes following a a vegetarian or vegan diet, tofu can be a great smoothie addition.

There are a variety of types of tofu. However, silken or soft tofu is most often used for shakes or smoothies. 

Similar to avocado, tofu will take on the flavor of the smoothie and give the smoothie an extra creamy texture making it a delicious addition.

Cottage Cheese: High Protein Smoothie Addition

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, providing ~28 grams of protein per 1 cup serving (6). 

Even if you are not a fan of the texture of cottage cheese, it blends well into a smoothie and is a great way to add protein. 

Consider trying Good Culture® cottage cheese, which contains live and active cultures to support gut health. Good Culture® cottage cheese is thick and creamy and makes a delicious smoothie addition.

For those who are lactose intolerant, Good Culture® and Lactaid® both offer lactose-free varieties of cottage cheese that athletes can enjoy in their smoothies.

Cottage Cheese  High Portein Addition to Smoothies

Greek Yogurt: Add Protein and Calcium to High Calorie Smoothies

Greek yogurt is another great option for adding healthy calories and protein to your smoothie. 

In general, Greek yogurt tends to contain more protein than regular yogurt. For example, A 5.3 oz (150 g) individual container of Greek yogurt contains ~13 grams of protein (7). While a similar serving of regular yogurt provides ~6 grams of protein (8).

In addition to protein, Greek yogurt provides calcium and some brands are also fortified with Vitamin D.

Try using a vanilla flavored Greek yogurt in your smoothie for a rich, creamy flavor.

Whole Milk

When athletes are trying to gain weight, the use of whole milk is a great way to provide calories, protein, calcium, and Vitamin D (9).

I recommend that athletes consider trying an ultra-filtered, whole milk to use in their smoothies.Ultra-filtered, high-protein milks are filtered to remove the lactose and contain a concentrated protein and calcium content. 

To provide a comparison, a cup of ultra-filtered milk has ~13 grams of protein (10), while a cup of regular cow’s milk has 8 grams of protein (9).

Thus, using ultra-filtered, whole milk in your smoothie is a great way to add calories and help you meet your protein needs. 

Ultra Filtered Milk

Fruit Juice: Easy Addition to High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain

An easy way to add healthy calories, vitamins, and minerals to your weight gain smoothie is with the use of 100% fruit juice.

Consider trying 100% orange juice, pineapple juice, mango juice, or tart cherry juice to create unique flavor combinations.

Dates: Add Natural Sweetness to Your High Calorie Smoothie

Medjool dates are an easy, nutritious way to boost the calorie content of your favorite smoothie.

Dates will add natural sweetness, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your smoothie. Adding 2 pitted, Medjool dates to your smoothie will contribute 133 calories and 3 grams of fiber to your smoothie (11).

If you are interested in trying out a smoothie with dates, check out this Pumpkin Pie Vegan Smoothie from Kiran Campbell, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

HIgh Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain Ingredients

Creating High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain

Now that you have an idea of what ingredients can help increase the calorie content of your smoothie, you are ready to make your smoothie. 

Try some of the smoothie recipes included within this blog or download a free High Calorie Banana Berry Smoothie Recipe below.

For additional sports nutrition tips, check out my blog on nutrition strategies to support weight gain in high school athletes.

Join the Nutrition By Mandy Email List & Get a Free High Calorie Smoothie Recipe

Click HERE to join the Nutrition By Mandy e-mail list. When you join you will receive a free high calorie smoothie recipe to download and enjoy.

About the Author

Mandy Tyler is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine.  Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. 

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