Home Healthy Aging 5 High Calorie Breakfasts to Gain Weight

5 High Calorie Breakfasts to Gain Weight

by Donna Schwontkowski

Unintended weight loss can make it more difficult to regain strength unless you know how to properly put the pounds back on. Starting your day with high-calorie breakfasts is a solid way to begin regaining weight.

You can regain weight in a healthy way or in an unhealthy way. Everyone knows that holiday eating is a quick way to gain 10 pounds, and that notion is based on snacking continuously on all the wrong types of foods throughout the day, and then overindulging during holiday meals. This pattern of continuous snacking and overeating is an example of an unhealthy way to gain weight.

There are, however, healthy ways to up your caloric intake, which we’ll discuss below.

High calorie breakfast ideas feature image of two older adults enjoying a healthy breakfast together

The key is to gain muscle mass in a good way. Many websites and even health practitioners will tell you that the way to do it is to eat a high number of calories over the course of the day, period. They don’t go into what type of high-caloric foods should be consumed and why. However, that’s the information you need!

The Way People Typically Start the Day

In many countries around the world, especially the United States, starting the morning with a cup (or two) of coffee is standard. If you’re coffee obsessed like most, but are also looking to add some more calories to your morning routine, add milk, honey, nut milk or nut butter, or regular butter (in all seriousness butter coffee is a trend of the moment and might be worth trying)! Or, even turning your coffee into a coffee protein smoothie can be a great way to get some extra calories into your morning beverage.

two older adults enjoying their morning coffee together, but with added healthy fats such as coconut milk

Another great high-calorie beverage to drink at the start of your day is warmed milk, and many choose to add syrup, spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and/or cocoa powder or chocolate drinking powder to their drink to dress it up a bit. Cream can also be added to this beverage to boost the calorie count even more.

A Note About Water

While many suggest drinking water at the start of the day to help flush and hydrate your system, when you’re trying to gain weight, it is discouraged to drink large amounts of water at the start of the day as there’s a greater chance it’ll fill your stomach and make it harder to consume enough calories.

What Should the Macros Be to Gain Weight?

Do you tend to eat high-protein foods? High-fat foods? Or high-carb foods? The difference between all three is vast, and can have an enormous impact on the way you gain weight.

three hearty breakfast examples - a cinnamon quinoa breakfast bowl, a savory breakfast salad, whole grains mixed with complex carbs, and other calorie dense nutritious foods

Also, What Are Macros?

In diet and nutrition, “macros” is a shortened term for macronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients that provide energy in the form of calories and are required by the body in relatively large amounts to function throughout the day.

There are three primary macronutrients:

Proteins: Essential for the growth and repair of tissues.

Carbohydrates: The body’s primary source of energy.

Fats: Necessary for various bodily functions and energy storage.

People often track their macronutrient intake, commonly called ‘counting macros’, to manage their diet and achieve specific fitness or health goals – in the context of our article – gaining weight.

Protein Foods

High protein foods will increase your muscle mass and rebuild all the tissues of your body. Thus, protein is good to consume when you have lost weight all over, either due to the normal aging process or from diseases and their associated treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

an alternative to a fried egg - cheese and tomato quiche egg bites that are great for weight gain and also great on top of a savory breakfast bowl

Fat Foods

High fat foods are a good way to provide calories but the type of fat matters. Omega 3 foods are better than omega 6 because omega 3 foods decrease inflammation whereas omega 6 foods cause inflammation. Omega 6 foods are found in nuts (which may also contain some omega 3 but in much smaller amounts) and in oils such as vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower, canola, soy, and others).

Olive oil contains good fats, as does coconut oil.

Eating fat is a little tricky as you don’t want to suddenly overwhelm your body with, say 100 grams of fat in a meal. That would turn off your immune system because it’s too much fat in a short period of time and your body’s free radical quenchers have to be diverted from immunity to the free radicals produced from the fat.

two older adults discussing their weight gain goals over a high calorie breakfast such as breakfast buckwheat bowls, scrambled eggs, and orange juice

Carbohydrate Foods

High-carbohydrate foods are often recommended and it’s not uncommon to have 200 or 300 grams of carbs per day recommended to someone who is trying to gain weight. Be wary of this!

Most of these calories come from sugar, and sugar is the ultimate destroyer of the entire body, skeleton, brain, muscles, and more. It causes glycation, which combines with red blood cells and proteins (especially in the brain).

If you can keep your carbohydrate levels lower than 150 grams a day while you gain weight, you’ll make the best progress and not interfere with healthy body functions.

high calorie breakfast ideas on a table, such as tex mex breakfast bowls, generously stuffed cream cheese rolls, ripe bananas, and a high calorie smoothie

The Key is Muscle Mass

Keeping this in mind, let’s look at some sample breakfast menus that will help you put weight on. But first, there’s one more thing to consider: what does science say about this matter?

In one study, scientists wanted to create a protein supplement that actually improved muscle gains – and did it in the elderly, a more difficult feat. They found it was possible.

two older adults hugging, smiling, and working towards a balanced diet that starts with a satisfying breakfast every morning!

Tony Horton, an established and popular exercise guru ended up with a muscle-wasting disease, went to the research to see what was scientifically verified to work against it, and then experimented using the same principles. He was able to finally regain all the muscles he had lost – even though he had an actual muscle-wasting disease.

The point here is that if you use a formula that is scientifically verified to put muscle mass on – not just weight and a lot of body fat – then you will be the happiest. The solution is to use the protein powder formula he suggests at least one time during the day to gain 70% more muscle mass. With the muscle mass increase naturally comes your increase in body weight.

5 High-Calorie Breakfasts to Go With Your Protein Powder

Note that these five high-calorie breakfasts are substantive. To gain weight you need to consume food, healthy food. These meals are quite unlike my previous article on weight gain shakes for women, but hopefully equally as helpful if you’re looking to eat substantive meals as a means to gain weight.

1. Breakfast in a Muffin for Weight Gain

a peanut butter muffin, ripe banana, apple, black coffee, and bowl of cottage cheese

This recipe is more like a health food recipe for healthy muffins, but it’s packed with nutrients, protein, fat, and calories. The fiber in it helps you handle the carbs.

¾ cup buckwheat flour¾ cup almond flour
1/3 cup rolled oats½ cup acacia fiber
2 tablespoons psyllium fiber2 cups whole milk
3 servings protein powder½ cup blackstrap molasses
¼ cup maple syrup½ cup roasted carob
2/3 cup chopped almonds½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup applesauce¼ cup green powder
1 teaspoon baking soda½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon3 large eggs
¼ cup olive oil1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a muffin pan with olive oil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: buckwheat flour, almond flour, rolled oats, acacia fiber, psyllium fiber, protein powder, carob, green powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  4. Then in another large bowl, add your wet ingredients: milk, molasses, maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla extract, and olive oil. Mix with a small beater or in the blender.
  5. Beat eggs for three minutes and then add to liquid ingredients. Stir to mix. You may need to add another ½ cup water or so to get the consistency correct (fiber changes the way muffin ingredients usually act and needs more fluid to be absorbed).
  6. Then pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones, stirring to mix. Do not overbeat.
  7. Finally, add chocolate chips, carrots, and almonds.
  8. The final batter before baking should be moist – not thin like milk, but more of a smoothie consistency.
  9. Pour batter into muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Serve with nut butter or regular butter and a glass of whole milk.

2. Homemade Breakfast on the Range

a homemade breakfast of keto eggs, avocado, and diced ham to help encourage a healthy weight
Meal Plan:
Small steak, 4-5 ounces
Fried potatoes, 3/4 cup (add onions, garlic, fennel)
Vegetable omelet with 3 eggs, tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, dandelion greens, and broccoli
Avocado salsa on top of omelet
Small 4-ounce glass of tomato juice

This breakfast is definitely one to eat when you feel famished! It’s a lot of food and may even be divided into two portions; half you eat for breakfast, and the other half you eat for lunch or a snack mid-afternoon. This meal is about 1200 calories, and even splitting it into two portions is plenty of calories to help you gain weight.

3. Nutrient Packed Oatmeal

a bowl of oatmeal resting on a wooden trivet, a cup of black coffee, a spoon, and a glass of orange juice

This recipe starts by mixing ½ cup of rolled oats with ½ cup of coconut milk, a few tablespoons of maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add a pinch of salt as well. Then place the mix into a mason jar and refrigerate it overnight.

In the morning heat the mixture for a few minutes on your stove on low, stirring frequently.

Add a handful of nuts, ½ cup whole milk, ½ cup of your favorite dried fruit, and even a few squares of chocolate or a tablespoon of chocolate syrup if that sounds enticing.

4. Same Meal Sally

This meal will be composed of one of your favorite meals for breakfast – the highest caloric one – and then you will modify it a little bit.

Let’s say it’s pancakes. Pancakes are a great way to put weight on because of their high carb content. But if you add whole milk to them (and also make the pancakes with milk), then you add about 200 calories to the meal.

If you add a little melted butter on top of the pancakes, you can add another 100 calories. And if you add a half cup of raspberries, you can add a lot of flavor and a few more calories.

5. Lazy Larry Breakfast

a high calorie breakfast of eggs, bacon, overnight oats, coffee with cream, and toast with peanut butter

Larry is the kind of guy that doesn’t have much time for breakfast. What would he do to get in a hefty amount of protein, fat, and calories for breakfast?

He’d add a tablespoon of MCT oil to his coffee. Ideally, he might have a latte with his breakfast and use whole milk and add the MCT oil to that as well (see more on MCT oil).

Sports Research Keto MCT Oil from Organic Coconuts - Fatty Acid Fuel for Body + Brain Triple Ingredient C8, C10, C12 MCTs Perfect in Coffee, Tea, & More Non-GMO Vegan Unflavored (32 Oz)
  • BRAIN & BODY FUEL: Sports Research MCT Oil is packed with c8, c10 & c12 fatty acids that may help keep the body in a state of ketosis (when your body uses fat as its main fuel source) while providing valuable brain-boosting energy support*
  • NEVER PALM OIL: Our organic MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil is only made from sustainably-sourced 100% organic coconut oil. This means, unlike other MCT oils, we don’t use refined palm oil or contribute to the degradation of palm forests

Then he’d eat a bowl of cereal (preferably the oats that were fixed the night before (see previously mentioned recipe) and add sausage links or bacon and a few soft-boiled eggs to the breakfast.

About an hour later, he would have a muscle mass-building protein smoothie.

3 High-Calorie Breakfast ‘Snacks’ to Eat if You Can’t Stomach a Full Meal

Sometimes, it’s just not doable to eat a full, well-balanced breakfast in the morning. You may have a busy day and have woken up late, or have just not woken up with much of an appetite. In these cases, it’s still important to eat something, and we’ve listed out a few healthy, high-calorie options below.

two older adults enjoying a high calorie breakfast of peanut butter overnight oats

1. Peanut Butter

One tablespoon of peanut butter contains around 100 calories, making this an excellent and easy way to get some calories in your body in ten seconds or less. Grab a spoonful on your way out the door and you’ve at least put something in your body, even if it’s just one bite!

2. Protein Bar

There are many excellent options available at almost every grocery store and gas station, oftentimes with fun flavors such as cinnamon french toast, brownie batter or pancake batter, or peanut butter. These can be a great high-calorie breakfast option that’s quick, encourages weight gain, and avoids the need for meal prep. Make sure to find one that excites your taste buds so you’re more likely to grab it, and you can’t go wrong having these lying around your pantry or car as a high-protein snack!

Quest Nutrition Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, High Protein, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Keto Friendly, - 12 Count
  • YOU DESERVE A SPECIAL TREAT: The Quest Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars taste like an indulgent chocolate and peanut butter treat. Only our bar has 20g protein, 5g net carbs and 1g of sugar per bar
  • UNWRAP COMPLETE PROTEINS: The Quest Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars are made with complete, dairy-based proteins to provide your body with 9 essential amino acids

3. Cheese

A quick slice of cheese as you walk out the door can be a decent way to get some calories, fat, and protein in you. String cheese or other already packaged cheeses can make it extra easy to grab and go and are sold in most grocery stores making them an easy-to-find, fairly inexpensive option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can you share some additional high-calorie breakfast ideas for weight gain?

Absolutely! If you’re looking for high-calorie breakfast options, we recommend looking for appealing recipes online for Mexican quinoa breakfast bowls, coconut milk chia pudding or cacao chia pudding, stuffed french toast, crispy bacon, breakfast enchiladas such as a beef enchilada breakfast recipe, a healthy carrot cake smoothie, sweet potato breakfast bowls, honey pecan granola, greek yogurt bowls, a tofu scramble, cottage cheese bowl with a poached egg, sweet potatoes, and creamy avocado, overnight oats, healthy hash browns, chickpea avocado toast, and keto options such as a keto breakfast sandwich, keto breakfast burrito, keto avocado toast, or a keto egg casserole topped with shredded cheese.

a great idea for a breakfast while on a weight gain diet - chia seed yogurt with nutritious seeds, berries, and jam

2. What does a 700-calorie breakfast look like?

Breakfast foods can contain a surprising amount of calories if you choose the right foods! While a brussels sprouts tofu scramble with soy milk won’t easily get you to 700 calories, a breakfast sandwich composed of one English muffin topped with two scrambled eggs and two slices of bacon is about 650 calories. Peanut butter or almond butter stuffed french toast is right around 700 calories.

3. What are some easy additions to a standard Greek yogurt breakfast that will help increase the calorie count?

There are plenty of easy items that can be added to yogurt to make it a healthier and more well-rounded breakfast that encourages weight gain! Some ideas include healthy fats such as nuts, nut butter such as peanut butter or almond butter, milks such as soy milk or almond milk, cottage cheese, fresh berries, seeds such as chia seeds, flax seeds, or pumpkin seeds, and fresh herbs which add some bright, fresh flavor.

high calorie breakfast ideas of a greek yogurt bowl topped with berries, granola, nuts, and fresh herbs


For some people, gaining weight is easy, and losing weight is hard. For others, it’s just the opposite. The important thing to gaining weight is to do it in a healthy way that does not compromise your body in other ways.

Resist the urge to reach for convenience foods that may be high in calorie count but will compromise the health of your body. If speed is what you need to supplement your dietary intake during the day, consider some healthy foods to eat on the run so you are not tempted by fast food or other unhealthy choices.

We’re excited for you to try these meals, and would love for you to let us know what happens! And of course, remember that you will have to give them a fair trial of at least 2 months before expecting to see noteworthy results.

four older adults bundled up outside, laughing together while drinking warm beverages

About the Author’s

Dr. Donna Schwontkowski earned her doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine as well as a master’s degree in Nutrition and another in Herbology. She’s worked with thousands of patients to improve their nutrition. She was also a journalist for health and fitness magazines for 15 years and an editor of a top health magazine in Sacramento for 12 years. She is now a freelance writer and author.

Leona Small is a freelance writer and former caregiver. She has experience working with people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and has spent years working alongside both patients and caregivers in Hospice. Additionally, she’s worked as a Professional Organizer helping people and families to purge, organize, manage, and prepare for various life transitions such as moving, downsizing, and the passing of loved ones. Her passions include writing about healthy aging, innovative resources to help older adults and caregivers, and traveling.

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