Milk Shakes to Gain Weight

Ice coffee with milk and whipped cream
Three milkshakes on a table. (Image: pilipphoto/iStock/Getty Images)

To gain weight, you need to consume a serious number of calories. Taking in 500 to 1,000 calories more than you burn daily yields a 1- to 2-pound gain per week. Milkshakes are an easy and tasty way to boost your calorie intake. Restaurant and fast-food versions are usually full of processed sugar and unhealthy fats that can still cause health problems in the underweight. Being skinny doesn't make you immune to heart disease, high cholesterol and blood sugar fluctuations. Make your own shakes with calorie-dense foods that offer nutrition to support healthy weight gain.

Build a Base

The base of a weight-gain milkshake is milk -- or an alternative milk, such as soy, almond or coconut milk. Boost the calorie density of milk without lots of added sugar by adding instant nonfat dry milk powder, which provides protein and calcium along with the calories. Adding instant breakfast drinks and weight-gain supplements is an option, but pay attention to the amounts of added sugar and saturated fats. Many of these contain processed ingredients and chemical additives that may not support your health goals.

Thick and Rich

When you think milkshake, ice cream probably comes to mind. Ice cream, however, is not a high-quality food. Consider alternative thickeners such as yogurt, frozen fruit -- particularly bananas and mangoes -- and even avocado. These foods deliver important nutrients while still providing the creamy texture that you associate with a milkshake.

Protein and Healthy Fats

Extra protein makes your weight-gain milkshake appropriate after a workout. Consuming lean protein before, during and after your workout enhances muscle development and gain -- and gaining muscle puts weight on your frame. Whey or soy protein powder blends easily into a milkshake. Read the ingredient list for the protein powder you choose so as to avoid added sugars or ingredients that may not serve your health goals. Peanut or almond butter are other high-quality sources of protein that add flavor and calories in the form of healthy unsaturated fats. Flax, chia and hemp seeds also add protein, omega-3 fats and fiber to your weight-gain smoothies too.

Putting It All Together

The flavors you put together in your weight-gain shake should appeal to your personal preferences. If you can barely choke down your shake, you're unlikely to consume it regularly enough to add pounds. Tasty combinations include almond butter, coconut water, frozen mango and banana, hemp protein, raw honey and vanilla extract; frozen strawberries, canned pineapple, frozen banana, honey, lemon juice and soy milk; milk, frozen peaches, yogurt, nonfat dry milk powder and ice cubes; or chocolate protein powder, frozen banana, peanut butter and a splash of coffee.

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