High calorie snacks can help a person gain weight. Drinking calories in the form of smoothies, using high calorie toppings, and choosing full-fat dairy products can add additional calories to a person’s diet.

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Losing excessive weight or being underweight can be harmful to a person’s health. People with certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, and those who are very active may have difficulty gaining weight.

Gaining weight can be a challenge. Some people find it hard to consume enough calories without feeling too full. To gain weight, a person must consume more calories than they expend each day. Eating calorie- and nutrient-dense snacks between meals is a useful way for a person to increase energy intake without causing excessive fullness.

Read more to learn about 10 high calorie snacks that can help a person gain weight.

Whole milk Greek yogurt is high in protein and provides a moderate amount of calories. It is a nutritious, tasty snack that requires little preparation and is easy to eat.

Snack ideas

People can add flavor to Greek yogurt with fruit and other toppings. They can also try:

  • blending Greek yogurt in a fruit smoothie
  • combining Greek yogurt with berries, granola, and nuts
  • using Greek yogurt in overnight oats

Nutrition facts

A 100-gram (g) serving of fruit-flavored Greek yogurt contains:

NutrientAmount
Energy106 kilocalories (kcal)
Protein7.3 g
Fat3 g
Carbohydrate12.3 g

Granola can add a satisfying crunch to salads, sweet snacks, yogurt, and oatmeal. Although granola nutrition facts vary by manufacturer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that a 100 g serving contains 451 calories.

Snack ideas

A person can try:

  • eating granola cereal with whole milk
  • topping yogurt with granola and fruit
  • mixing nuts with granola for a sweet and savory trail mix

Nutrition facts

A 100 g serving of granola contains:

NutrientAmount
Energy451 kcal
Protein7.2 g
Fat17.5 g
Carbohydrate66.3 g

In addition to being high in vitamin D and calcium, whole milk is relatively high in calories. Vitamin D and calcium are important nutrients for bone health, and dairy milk is a great source of protein.

Many people trying to gain weight find that drinking their calories is an effective way to increase their daily energy intake.

Snack ideas

A person can try:

  • replacing one or two glasses of water with milk
  • blending milk in smoothies or protein shakes
  • using milk in oatmeal or cereal

Nutrition facts

One cup (249 g) of whole milk contains:

NutrientAmount
Energy152 kcal
Protein8.1 g
Fat8 g
Carbohydrate11.5 g

Nuts are relatively high in heart-healthy fat and calories. Macadamia nuts and pecans are among the highest calorie nuts, containing 204 calories and 196 calories per 1 ounce (oz) serving respectively.

For people who do not like nuts, nut butters can be a good alternative. Peanut butter contains 94.4 calories per 1 tablespoon (tbsp) serving.

Snack ideas

Nuts and nut butters are calorie-dense snack options, making them ideal for those looking to gain weight without feeling too full. Some snacks to try include:

  • spreading nut butter on toast
  • adding nut butter to smoothies and oatmeal
  • snacking on mixed nut trail mix
  • adding nuts to salads and stir frys

Nutrition facts

Per 1 oz serving, the following nuts contain:

NutrientMacadamia nutsPecansPistachiosPeanutsAlmonds
Energy204 kcal196 kcal159 kcal161 kcal164 kcal
Protein2.2 g2.6 g5.7 g7.3 g6 g
Fat21.5 g20.4 g12.8 g13.9 g14.1 g
Carbohydrate3.9 g3.9 g7.7 g4.6 g6.1 g

Cottage and ricotta cheese are both high in protein and calories, and they are easy snacks that pair well with other foods. Choose full-fat varieties for the most calories.

Snack ideas

People can try:

  • topping toast with cottage or ricotta cheese
  • adding ricotta cheese to eggs
  • pairing cottage cheese and fruit with nuts, seeds, or granola

Nutrition facts

NutrientLarge curd cottage cheese (1 cup)Whole milk ricotta cheese (1 cup)
Energy206 kcal369 kcal
Protein23.3 g18.5 g
Fat9 g25.1 g
Carbohydrate7.1 g17. 9 g

Dried fruit is calorie-dense and convenient to eat on the go. A person can easily add dried fruit to other foods, like trail mix and granola, for additional flavor and calories.

Snack ideas

A person can try:

  • mixing dried fruit with a nut-based trail mix
  • snacking on raisins, dried apricots, and dried figs
  • making energy bites with dates and nuts
  • adding dried fruit to salads, grain bowls, and oatmeal

Nutrition facts

A 100 g serving of the following dried fruits contains:

NutrientRaisinsDried apricotsDried figsDates
Energy296 kcal241 kcal249 kcal277 kcal
Protein2.5 g3.4 g3.3 g1.81 g
Fat0.5 g0.5 g0.9 g0.2 g
Carbohydrate78.5 g62.6 g63.9 g75 g

Protein powders are an easy way to add protein and calories to a person’s diet. The specific nutritional contents of protein powders vary depending on the contents, so people should check the label before consuming.

Snack ideas

People can try:

  • mixing protein powder into smoothies
  • combining protein powder with milk
  • adding protein powder to oatmeal with whole milk
  • adding protein powder to energy bites, along with ingredients such as nut butter, oats, dried fruit, and nuts

Nutrition facts

Approximately one scoop (32 g) of whey protein powder contains:

NutrientAmount
Energy113 kcal
Protein25 g
Fat0.5 g
Carbohydrate2 g

Cheese is a calorie-dense, flavorful food that is rich in calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients are important for bone health. Cheese is also a good source of protein.

Snack ideas

People can try:

  • snacking on cheese and crackers
  • eating cheese with nuts
  • eating string cheese
  • adding cheese to salads, eggs, and sandwiches

Nutrition facts

A 100 g serving of cheddar cheese contains:

NutrientAmount
Energy393 kcal
Protein25 g
Fat32.1 g
Carbohydrate3.6 g

Eggs are a versatile and affordable source of protein. They also contain the essential nutrients choline and selenium. For the full calorie and nutrient benefits, people should eat the whole egg, not just the white. Egg yolks are a valuable source of nutrients.

Snack ideas

People can try:

  • eating scrambled eggs on plain toast or avocado toast
  • snacking on hard boiled eggs
  • adding a fried egg to a sandwich
  • adding hard boiled eggs to salads

Nutrition facts

One large egg contains:

NutrientAmount
Energy71.9 kcal
Protein6.2 g
Fat4.4 g
Carbohydrate0.5 g

The right spreads and toppings can add calories and flavor to food. People may want to choose full-fat options for the most calories.

For example, 100 g of cream cheese offers 350 kcal and 6 g of protein.

Snack ideas

People can try:

  • using cream cheese as a topping on toast or bagels
  • adding hummus to chips and salsa for more calories and protein
  • putting cream cheese on crackers or rice cakes
  • eating guacamole along with chips

Nutrition facts

A 100 g serving of cream cheese spread contains:

NutrientAmount
Energy350 kcal
Protein6.2 g
Fat34.4 g
Carbohydrate5.5 g

A cultural focus on obesity and weight loss means some people do not know the risks of being underweight. However, being underweight can carry significant health implications.

Some risks of being underweight include:

  • infertility and pregnancy loss
  • loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis
  • hormonal risks for men, such as low testosterone and reduced sex drive
  • depression
  • physical weakness
  • vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Learn more about the risks of being underweight.

Gaining weight can be difficult. Some people who have difficulty gaining weight feel nauseous or uncomfortably full when adding more calories to their diet, so increasing their food intake can take some getting used to.

Some useful tips include:

  • prioritizing nutrient-dense, high-calorie foods like nuts, dried fruits, and whole milk dairy products
  • adding one new snack per day
  • using full-fat versions of foods like milk and cheese
  • adding more calories to existing meals with nuts, granola, and spreads
  • drinking calorie-rich beverages, such as protein shakes with whole milk

Read more about nutrition in our dedicated hub.

People who are underweight or cannot maintain their weight may benefit from eating high calorie snacks. They can try dried fruit, nuts, whole milk dairy products, and other calorie- and nutrient-dense foods.

If a person is unable to maintain a moderate weight despite eating more calories, they should contact a doctor to rule out underlying medical causes.