Want to know how to increase the calories in a smoothie? This high-calorie smoothie is a great whole food option if you want to gain weight or have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. Peanut butter, Medjool dates, avocado, and cocoa powder make this blender drink sweet and creamy without added sugar. Get the recipe for this avocado smoothie for weight gain and learn to make other weight gain smoothies here!
If you enjoy chocolate avocado pudding, don’t miss this peanut butter avocado smoothie with dark chocolate! The idea of an avocado smoothie for weight gain may sound strange, but reserve judgment until you try it!
High calorie smoothies can be a great tool for gaining weight and eating well. Drinking your calories versus eating them may help prevent early satiety (i.e., fullness).
This strategy is basically the opposite of what I’d recommend for fat loss. The approach that is “healthiest” often depends on what you need!
While I was creating this recipe, I was thinking about the groups of people who might want to put on weight. Most tend to think about weight loss when we talk about weight management. However, healthy weight gain and healthy weight maintenance are part of the picture too.
What’s cool about dietitians is that we work with you to create solutions to help you out, whatever your needs are. Some of us can benefit from high calorie drinks for weight gain. Others may have different goals and nutritional needs.
It would be so easy if we could just hand everyone the same meal plan and be set for the day. However, we all have different diet preferences, medical needs, budgets, and other factors that play into our food choices. Good nutrition advice is rarely one-size-fits-all!
- 📋 What are the calories, net carbs, and protein?
- ️👪 Who needs weight gain smoothies?
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make High Calorie Smoothies
- 🍨 Other High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain
- 🥤 Other Smoothies for Weight Gain
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other High-Calorie Snacks for Weight Gain
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
📋 What are the calories, net carbs, and protein?
One serving of this avocado smoothie for weight gain provides 688 calories, 65.9 grams net carbs, and 19.3 grams protein. This doesn’t include any smoothie toppings you choose to add, such as whipped cream and chopped nuts.
️👪 Who needs weight gain smoothies?
Here are a few of the groups who may benefit from high calorie smoothies for weight gain:
- People undergoing medical treatments that cause nausea: As a cancer survivor, stopping unintending weight loss during treatments was what was most optimal. Chemotherapy can definitely make eating enough more difficult.
- Individuals with certain medical conditions: There are a number of medical issues where a person may have trouble maintaining or gaining weight. Certain eating disorders, type 1 diabetes, hyperemesis gravidarum, certain GI disorders... always check in with your physician if you are struggling with unintentional weight loss. Sometimes just throwing some high-calorie snacks at the problem won’t cut it.
- The bodybuilding and fitness community: Bodybuilders often have specific energy and macronutrient targets to help them build muscle and lose body fat. In some cases, high-calorie and high-protein smoothies are a good fit for their diet plan. (This avocado smoothie recipe is likely not high enough in protein for this group.)
- Children and teens: Picky eating in younger children is extremely common and athletic teens have very high energy needs. Supporting healthy growth and development with healthy high-calorie snacks can be an important nutritional strategy for these groups. They may have difficulty eating enough to meet their energy needs with meals alone. It can be tough with certain picky eaters to ensure they are taking in enough calories without heavily relying on nutrient-poor foods.
- The elderly: As we age, we’re more likely to lose lean body mass or develop chronic diseases that lead to underweight status. Poor dentition can make eating a balanced diet of solid foods more challenging.
What are some of the nutrition benefits of this avocado smoothie for weight gain? Here you go:
- Healthy fats: This smoothie is packed with healthy plant-based fats from the avocado and peanut butter. Fats pack a lot of calories into a small weight, helpful when making high calorie smoothies. Compared to protein and carbs which each offer 4 calories per gram, fats offer 9 calories per gram.
- Protein: Milk and peanut butter are the main sources of protein here. Since protein tends to be a very filling macronutrient, I went lower on the protein (relative to calories) with this one. The idea is to prevent you from feeling full too early.
- Fiber: It’s not lovely to talk about in a recipe post, but poor eating habits can sometimes lead to uncomfortable digestive experiences. This smoothie is packed with fiber that may help to alleviate these issues. It’s the fruits here (the dates and avocado) that are the main sources of fiber.
- No Added Sugar: It can be quite easy to heavily rely on added sugar when trying to increase calories. This smoothie uses pureed dates for sweetness instead. The dates provide an assortment of essential vitamins and minerals, unlike table sugar (which provides calories but little else).
- Potassium: While this smoothie provides a variety of essential nutrients, it’s especially rich in potassium. Potassium can help you to maintain a healthy blood pressure. It’s critical for healthy heart and kidney function.
- Tastes good: When we’re trying to encourage someone to eat more, great taste becomes more important than ever. It doesn’t matter how many nutrients a food or recipe provides if no one is willing to eat it! This peanut butter avocado smoothie tastes like a decadent dessert.
There are a number of healthful, whole food options that can help if you are having trouble gaining weight. Here are some of the high-calorie foods I have used to make an avocado weight gain smoothie:
- Avocado (250-350 calories per avocado)
- Peanut Butter (180-200 calories per 2 tablespoons)
- Medjool Date Paste (140 calories per 2 fresh dates)
- Milk (Calories depend on fat content. I used 2% milk because it’s what I always have on hand. Use whole milk to increase the calories more.)
- Dark Cocoa Powder
The cinnamon and cocoa powder aren’t used in large enough quantities to be considered high in calories. Dark cocoa powder was the magic ingredient that managed to cover up both the green color and the taste of avocado. My family approved, and I think you will too.
My intention here was to create a recipe for a high-calorie smoothie that tastes like a dessert. Since this high-calorie recipe is supposed to help if you’re having trouble eating enough, it must be amazingly delicious. If you want an even more dessert-like smoothie, consider adding some toppings:
- Whipped cream
- Crushed nuts
Make the whipped cream in this Strawberry Shortcake recipe for a no added sugar whipped topping. It’s made with heavy cream (50 calories per tablespoon), so it will add a lot of calories to your smoothie.
As you can see, I wasn’t willing to compromise on the nutrition aspects of this healthy smoothie. I wanted it to be made with whole foods and no added sugar.
What you get is a very high calorie smoothie, with almost 700 calories per serving.
The main thing you need to make this avocado smoothie for weight gain is a food processor or a high-powered blender. Basically, you need something strong enough to completely puree the dates and avocado.
A good knife is handy for chopping dates and avocado, as well as any nut toppings you use. I also like to have large-width straws (boba straws or the straws used for bubble tea). This smoothie is really too thick to drink using a regular straw.
🔪 How to Make High Calorie Smoothies
If you think you’re game for a chocolatey smoothie with peanut butter and avocado, let’s do this. Freeze those slightly overripe avocados and break out the food processor. We’ll be snacking in no time!
By the way, did you forget to freeze your avocados? No worries! Peeled and chopped avocados are now readily available in the freezer section of many major supermarkets. So convenient!
Start this smoothie recipe by setting a small pot of water to boil. While the water heats up, pit and chop the Medjool dates. Pour a small amount of boiling water over the dates and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Put the dates and water into your food processor and blend it into a smooth date paste. You may need to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula several times if the dates are sticking to the sides.
Divide the smoothie into two tall glasses and top with whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and a maraschino cherry (if desired). Enjoy one of the best high-calorie peanut butter avocado weight gain smoothies around!
Note: As with many of my recipes, I made several versions of this avocado peanut butter smoothie before posting this recipe. An earlier version did not include the dark cocoa powder. The avocados turned the smoothie a pea-green color.
I liked the taste of this one. Unfortunately, my family really wasn’t having it. The unique color of the smoothie, along with the avocado taste, was not working for them. Still, I thought I’d mention it as an option for those who dislike chocolate.
You could also skip the cinnamon if you choose. (Personally, I love it in there!)
🍨 Other High Calorie Foods for Weight Gain
- Other nut and seed butters
- Other nuts and seeds (such as chia seeds or hemp hearts)
- Added fats such as coconut oil (added fats and oils are some of the highest calorie foods by volume)
- Full-fat coconut milk
- Heavy cream
- 6% Cottage cheese (Good Culture’s double cream cottage cheese might just be the best tasting cottage cheese ever IMVHO!)
I included a balance of macronutrients in this chocolate avocado smoothie recipe. Protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats are all represented here. The dates and milk are the main sources of carbs in this smoothie.
Some people find that sweetness helps with nausea or helps them to eat in general. (I always find this true for myself after a surgery.) If you don’t mind the added sugars, here are some sugary options for increasing calories in smoothies:
- Ice cream
- Fruit concentrates
- Juice concentrates
- Maple syrup
Most fruits and vegetables aren’t very high in calories (e.g., strawberries, kale, etc.). Banana, thickened applesauce or pear sauce, or potato flakes can add more body to a smoothie and more calories.
Here are a few more ideas for protein in a high calorie smoothie:
Depending on the strength of your blender or food processor, you could also use add-ins such as quinoa flakes and oatmeal. Make sure to balance your dry ingredients with enough liquid to make it a drinkable consistency.
What are some of your favorite high-energy smoothie additions? You can let me know by leaving a comment below.
🥤 Other Smoothies for Weight Gain
Are you looking for weight gain shakes you can buy from a store? Check out Raw Generation’s Protein Smoothie Variety Pack.
These smoothies are in the same spirit as my homemade weight gain smoothie. They use a combination of nuts, plus dates and other fruits for smoothies with no sugar added. Please note that these are NOT complete meal replacement shakes; they’re meant to be snacks only.
The Raw Generation smoothies are entirely plant-based and at 200-400 calories per serving, relatively high calorie smoothies without protein powder. The Cacao Hemp flavor appears to be the best choice for protein, with 16 grams per 12-ounce bottle.
You could also make protein shakes for weight gain using protein powder. Whole Foods Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a good unsweetened protein powder that is NSF certified. (Unflavored, with 25 grams protein per 28.5 gram serving.)
Naked Pea is an unsweetened vegan protein powder made from yellow pea protein. (27 grams protein per 30 gram serving.) The nutrient values of this product have been verified by third party testing.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Both low calorie and high calorie recipes can be healthiest, depending on your goals. I hope I’ve shown you here how a smoothie with healthy ingredients can be a good choice for gaining weight.
When someone who is overweight tells me they primarily eat healthily, I believe them. It's not too difficult to maintain a calorie excess by including a lot of the energy-dense healthy food choices. Focusing on these same foods can help someone who wants to gain weight.
One serving of this healthy smoothie has more calories than a decent-sized meal. It’s a super avocado smoothie recipe for weight gain.
To bump the calories up even more, garnish the smoothie with the optional peanuts and whipped cream. You can also swap the 2% milk for whole milk.
One more thing: this smoothie is super thick! I recommend serving it with either a spoon or extra-wide smoothie straws. I’ve linked to the straws I use in the equipment section above.
It is the consistent consumption of excess calories that makes you gain weight, not a specific food. At 90-100 calories per tablespoon, peanut butter is a very energy dense food. This attribute can help to add a lot of calories to meals without a lot of volume if you want weight gain.
Again, it is eating calories in excess of your maintenance needs that helps you gain weight, not one food. Some people eat avocado daily with their low carb or keto lifestyle, and they lose weight. That said, avocado is one of the highest calorie fruits. Its high fat content can help you create high calorie, low volume meals for weight gain.
The answer to this question depends on what is in your smoothie and what your needs and health goals are. Some smoothies are loaded with added sugars and artificial ingredients; I would not call these nutritionally optimal choices. On the other hand, I would call this no added sugar smoothie a healthy and energy-dense food.
To make this avocado smoothie keto, swap the dates for a low carb sugar substitute. You’ll also need to use heavy cream or coconut cream instead of the milk. Using cream instead of milk will decrease the protein and increase the fat. Add in some protein powder to bring the protein content of your keto weight gain smoothie back up.
You can make this avocado weight gain smoothie vegan with a small tweak to the recipe. Simply swap the dairy milk for calcium-fortified unsweetened soymilk. Almond milk and oat milk are lower in protein.
👩🏻🍳 Other High-Calorie Snacks for Weight Gain
Want more weight gain snacks? Here are some other dessert and snack recipes you may enjoy after making weight gain smoothies:
- Chocolate Hazelnut Granola with Raspberries
- Nut Free Trail Mix
- Pink Hummus with Roasted Beets
- Sugar-Free Apple Crisp
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 Smoothie: Peanut Butter Avocado Smoothie for Weight Gain
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (fresh dates, not the ones in the baking aisle)
- 6 tablespoons boiling water
- 1¼ cups frozen chopped avocado
- 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 2 cups milk, 2%
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- chopped peanuts, whipped cream, maraschino cherries (optional toppings)
- Pour the boiling water over the Medjool dates. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Put the dates and water into a food processor and blend into a smooth date paste. You will need to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula several times because the dates will stick to the sides. (Watch the recipe video!)
- Tip: I almost always make extra date paste because it is easier to blend a larger batch of dates. The extra date puree is a great way to naturally sweeten recipes without added sugar.
- Chill the date puree before continuing with the recipe if it is still hot.
- Place all ingredients (except the optional toppings), in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Pour into two glasses and enjoy! Garnish with the whipped cream, peanuts, and cherries, if desired.
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Both low calorie and high calorie recipes can be healthiest, depending on your goals. I hope I’ve shown here how a smoothie with healthy ingredients can be a good choice for gaining weight. When someone who is overweight tells me they primarily eat healthily, I believe them. It's not too difficult to maintain a calorie excess by including a lot of the energy-dense healthy food choices. Focusing on these same foods can help someone who wants to gain weight. One serving of this healthy smoothie has more calories than a decent-sized meal. It’s a super smoothie recipe for weight gain. To bump the calories up even more, garnish the smoothie with the optional peanuts and whipped cream. You can also swap the 2% milk for whole milk. One more thing: this smoothie is super thick! I recommend serving it with either a spoon or extra-wide smoothie straws. I’ve linked to the straws I use in the equipment section above. Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe.
This avocado smoothie for weight gain recipe has been updated from 2020 with new photos and more nutrition information! Enjoy!