Learn how to make high calorie popsicles! Get all the tips you need to make popsicles for gaining weight, including modifications for special diets. You’ll love these creamy mango popsicles that are dairy free, vegan, and gluten free. We'll also talk about adding protein to high cal popsicles, what happens when you eat a lot of ice pops, and more!
For a refreshing snack that brings on the sweet and the heat, try these mango popsicles for weight gain! These dairy-free mango ice pops are made with coconut milk and curry powder. It's a surprising combination for dessert that provides a cooldown with a little spice and a beautiful golden color.
We like to enjoy these healthy summer pops year-round. Lucky for us, since the sweet tropical fruits I use in high-calorie ice pops tend to be at their best in winter.
The full-fat coconut milk here is a great option for those with dairy allergy or who avoid dairy for other reasons. For others, you could also add heavy cream to make this high calorie snack.
Important! If you have a medical condition that is impeding healthy weight gain, please reach out to your physician. This recipe and article are geared more towards healthy folks who would like to gain a little weight. This may include some children who are mildly picky in their food choices.
Full disclosure here: if your goal is weight gain, I recommend smoothies over ice pops for a cooling treat. I’m going to talk more about why in the dietitian tips section. For a smoothie with similar flavors to these pops, check out my Mango Lassi Smoothie recipe.
📋 How many calories are in a popsicle?
Regular ice pops (the ones with water, sugar, food coloring, and flavoring) are only around 50 calories each. Ice cream pops dipped in chocolate (and maybe with crunchies) are typically 100-200 calories or more.
One of these high calorie popsicles has 101 calories, 17 grams net carbs, and 0.7 grams protein. The exact nutrition information will depend on the size of your pop molds. This info reflects a recipe yield of 9 high cal popsicles.
⭐ High Calorie Popsicle Benefits
The best popsicles for weight gain depends on the person. If a person has low energy (due to illness) in addition to needing to gain weight, we want things to be EASY. If store-bought ice pops are all the person can manage at the moment, that is OK.
You can make a pureed date paste for these pops to add sweetness without added sugar from maple syrup. That would be a little more nutritious, but it takes more work. If using some added sugar helps you eat more with less effort, I would not feel guilty about it.
What is “better” or “healthier” in food and nutrition always hinges on what an individual needs. Here are some other reasons to try this high calorie popsicle recipe:
- Meal prep: If your energy waxes and wanes, you can make these pops when you’re feeling high energy. Then you can enjoy some immediate mango goodness whenever you want it!
- Waste less food: This recipe for high calorie popsicles uses up over-ripe mango that might be too mushy for eating. You can also make high-calorie popsicles with leftover smoothies.
- No artificial stuff: You control the ingredients in your homemade high calorie popsicles. There’s no artificial sugar, no artificial color, and no corn syrup.
- Gluten free popsicles: In some cases, it can be tough to eat enough calories if you’re on a special diet. These ice lollies are naturally plant based, dairy free, gluten free, and vegan.
- Real fruit: Using whole fruits in this recipe offers a smidge more fiber than your typical juice popsicle. You’re also getting plenty of provitamin A and vitamin C.
- Easy: If you use fresh or frozen chopped mango, this recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make. Simply blend everything in a food processor and freeze.
🥘 High Calorie Popsicles Ingredients
What do you need to make popsicles for weight gain? Here's your simple shopping list:
- 3 cups over-ripe mango
- 0.75 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 0.25 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
You want the ripest mangoes possible for this recipe. The mango provides a lot of sweetness, making these ice pops extra tasty. The riper your mangoes are, the better.
Since this is a weight gain recipe, don't use light coconut milk and sugar free syrup. We need to use high calorie ingredients to make a high calorie recipe. This isn’t the right time for light, low fat, or “skinny” substitutions.
The curry powder adds a beautiful color to these pops, making them more visually appealing. This may help you eat more, since most of us eat with our eyes in addition to our taste buds. However, if the spice doesn’t sound appealing, feel free to omit it.
Here’s the kitchen equipment you need to make high cal popsicles:
- A good knife
- Food processor
- Popsicle molds (with popsicle sticks)
If you get frozen or fresh mango that has already been peeled and cut, you don’t need the knife and peeler. So simple!
Silicone popsicle molds are my favorite moulds, because the pops release so easily. Here are the pop molds I use. Get yourself some and never struggle to release ice pops from hard plastic molds again!
🔪 How to Make High Calorie Popsicles
Time to make high calorie ice pops! Begin by peeling your mangoes and chopping them into ½-1 inch dice (1.27-2.54 cm).
Place the mango, coconut milk, maple syrup, and curry powder in a food processor. Blend it into a smooth puree. If ingredients are sticking, stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula before you continue blending.
You can taste the popsicle “batter” at this point and decide if it needs adjustments. Add more spice or syrup if desired and blend again. Extra sweetness may help you to eat more.
After blending, pour the mixture into ice pop molds and add the lids and sticks. Freeze them until solid, for several hours or overnight. Enjoy!
🥭 High Calorie Popsicle Add-Ins
If you don’t like the flavors I’m using here, try mixing things up! You can make high cal pops using whatever flavors you like.
For example, try making popsicles with this Peanut Butter Avocado Smoothie for Weight Gain. The blended avocado, peanut butter, and Medjool dates used are all high calorie foods good for weight gain.
Here is a high calorie food list of some things you could add to popsicles:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Coconut cream
- Ice cream
- Fruit juice
- Fruit concentrates
- Chopped bananas
- Soaked dried fruit
- Almond butter, sunbutter, or other nut butter or seed butter
- Dry milk powder
- Peanut powder
- Date syrup
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Do popsicles make you gain weight? Can you get fat from eating popsicles?
In general, I wouldn’t say popsicles are fattening. In fact, I would consider healthy popsicles made with whole food ingredients to be good for weight loss.
Even though these popsicles are packed with full-fat coconut milk and high carb mango, they’re only about 100 calories each. To gain weight, you need to maintain a calorie excess, which can be harder with low calorie, high volume foods.
Plus, you generally have to slow down a bit when eating popsicles. It tends to be easier to guzzle a cool drink, which is why I recommend shakes instead of popsicles for weight gain.
That said, there are some advantages to using this recipe as part of your weight gain strategy. You can often use popsicles for nausea, when you’re having trouble keeping anything down. Ice pops provide hydration, vitamins, and minerals you may not be getting elsewhere.
However, keep in mind this high calorie popsicle recipe is a snack, not a complete meal. In terms of macros, you’re getting a fat and carb combo that’s low protein.
Protein is considered the most filling macronutrient. As a result, some find it’s easiest to eat more calories when a food is high in fats and carbs but lower protein. However, you do still need to get adequate protein regardless of your weight and calorie goals.
If you find popsicles are displacing meals in your diet, you will need to add some protein. I have tips on making protein-packed popsicles in the FAQ section of this post.
If popsicles play a large part in your diet, you need to add protein. Some options for protein pop add-ins include Greek yogurt, whey protein powder, plant-based protein powder, and kefir. Fruit juice can add sweetness to unsweetened protein powders. You could also make Ensure popsicles or Breeze protein pops.
If you’re trying to gain weight, I don’t generally recommend complicating things further with a special diet (unless medically necessary). That said, you can make high calorie popsicles keto by using high fat ingredients and low carb sweetener. For example, you can use heavy cream, low carb berries, and Swerve to make low carb ice pops.
In general, you can’t make a complete, nutritionally balanced diet of just (or mostly) popsicles. You don’t want popsicles to completely displace the nutrient-dense foods in your diet. If you’re eating a lot of high sugar popsicles at once, you also run the risk of dumping syndrome (i.e., unpleasant GI symptoms that I won’t detail on this food site).
As always, “healthier” depends on what you’re looking for. In general, icy (not creamy) popsicles tend to be lower in calories than ice cream. On the other hand, ice cream usually contains more vitamins and minerals than icy popsicles. This is due to the dairy milk in the ice cream, which offers calcium, vitamin B12, protein, and many other nutrients.
In terms of general nutrition, I’d recommend an ice pop with no added sugar (maple syrup, honey, white sugar, etc.). I’d also want the popsicle to have no food coloring and to use whole food ingredients.
👩🍳 More Healthy Popsicle Recipes
Want more recipes for healthy popsicles? Here are a few ideas for you:
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
High Calorie Popsicles (Mango Popsicles for Weight Gain)
- 3 cups ripe mangoes
- ¾ cup full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
- Peel the mangoes and chop them into ½-1 inch dice (1.27-2.54 cm).
- Place the mango, coconut milk, maple syrup, and curry powder in a food processor. Blend it into a smooth puree. If ingredients are sticking, stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula before you continue blending.
- Pour the mixture into ice pop molds and freeze for several hours (or overnight). So easy!