Protein Shakes for Weight Gain

Are you interested in protein shakes for weight gain? Protein shakes can be an excellent way to add additional calories to your diet. This article dives deep into the benefits of protein shakes and ideas for premade and homemade shakes.

*This article includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Why Protein Shakes for Weight Gain?

I have worked as a geriatric dietitian for over 12 years. Helping people gain weight has been a big part of what I do. I have found that even when someone can’t take another bite of food, they can still sip on a high calorie drink.

Protein shakes are a useful option for weight gain. They contain calories and protein, two nutrients that can help promote weight gain and prevent the loss of muscle (when combined with exercise, of course!).

Protein Shakes for Weight Gain with scale

Calories for Weight Gain

Calories are important when it comes to gaining weight. When our bodies don’t get the calories they need, weight loss occurs. To gain weight, you need to eat even more calories!

To find out how many calories are in any given food, you just need to read the food label. The nutrition facts label will list the serving size and calories per serving on a food product. When it comes to weight gain, look for the foods that are highest in calories.

You can learn more about calories and weight gain in our high calorie articles.

Protein for Weight Gain

Protein is an important nutrient for maintaining muscle mass and preventing muscle wasting. Older adults are more likely to lose muscle due to sarcopenia. Therefore, their protein needs may be higher than in younger adults.

Protein paired with resistance exercise (think weights, exercise bands, etc.) helps to protect muscle. A protein shake that is high in calories and protein can help to gain weight and muscle. Additionally, it can help to prevent the loss of weight and muscle.

Protein Shakes vs Nutrition Shakes

Protein shakes and nutrition shakes sounds similar, but they are both quite different. You can learn more about the differences in my video here:

Protein Shakes

The primary function of a protein shake is to provide more protein. However, there are 4 calories in every gram of protein, so a protein shake does provide extra calories. And any amount of added calories can help promote weight gain.

Nutrition Shakes

The Primary function of a nutrition shake is to provide more calories. There will be protein in this drink, but usually less than a protein drink itself. A nutrition shake also has a lot more calories, because that is the focus of this drink.

If you are looking for a shake that is high in both protein and calories, look for a nutrition shake in the labeled with the words “Plus”. This nutrition shake is high beneficial for those needing the most calories per serving.

A nutrition shake PLUS variety usually will have 350 calories per 8 ounce serving. That’s a lot of calories for such a small drink. Examples of this shake include Ensure Plus*, Boost Plus*, or a Plus variety of any generic store brand nutrition shake.


Best Premade Protein Shakes

blankWhen it comes to premade protein shakes there are plenty of options in the aisles of your local grocery store or online.

Premade protein shakes add convenience and ease to your day. You don’t have to dirty dishes or have shake ingredients on hand. You just open a bottle.

Even if you choose to make homemade protein shakes, having a few premade shakes on hand is nice for the days you don’t feel like making a shake. We all have those days we aren’t up for cooking!

So, what makes the best premade protein shake? Well, that’s up to you.

The best premade protein shake for you may depend on the protein content, calorie content, flavor options available, brand taste, or other factors.  I believe the best protein shake is the one you will drink. And enjoy. There are enough options out there, so go find a favorite!

Protein Shake Options

There are name many brand and generic protein shake options to choose from. Some brands put a lot of money into marketing to make sure you know their names. Other brands, particularly store brands, vary by region and stores near you.

Some brands offer vegan protein shake options. Some offer organic options. And others offer a wide variety of flavors. Here are some protein shake options by brand. It is not meant to be an all-inclusive list.

Protein Shake Options:

Our Favorites

I don’t usually pick favorites, because again… what you like might be different than what I like. It’s the reason Coke and Pepsi exist. They are both colas, but each side seems to have some die hard fans.

You really need to find what works best for you. But, if you’re looking for an honest suggestion, here are a couple of my favorites. I have no affiliations with these brands.

Premier Protein Shake

This is the protein shake that I drink. I like it because it tastes good. No funky flavors or after taste. An 8-ounce bottle provides 160 calories and 30 grams of protein. That’s a lot of protein!

It also comes in a wide variety of flavors. Though depending on where you live, some are easier to find than others. My favorite is classic chocolate. Followed by caramel.


Premier Protein flavors include:

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Caramel
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Café Latte
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Strawberries and Cream
  • Bananas and Cream
  • Peaches and Cream

You can find this brand at a variety of locations. We buy them in bulk at Costco, but you can also get them sent straight to your front door with Amazon: Premier Protein*.

Orgain Protein Shake

I don’t personally drink this product, but I know of a lot of people who are a fan. I like Orgain because it provides options for people looking for organic, grass-fed, non-GMO, or plant-based shake options.

This doesn’t make the product healthier or more superior. But these are important to some people. And I like that Orgain fills this need for consumers.

Orgain’s Clean Protein Shake has 130 calories and 20 grams of protein. It comes in two flavor options: chocolate and vanilla. And their Plant-Based Protein shake is completely vegan.

You can find out more about these products at or order them on Amazon: Orgain Shakes*.

Protein Powder Options

While you can buy premade protein shakes, you can also buy protein powders. Protein powders can be mixed with liquid to make your own protein shake at home. You can usually save a bit of money by purchasing the powder over the premade drink.

Protein powders are nice because they can be used for shakes or mixed in to other foods you are eating. Protein powder can be added to oatmeal, pancakes, pudding, or really any food you can think of.

Protein Powders

Types of Protein Powder

There are many different types of protein powders on the market. The source of the protein is the primary difference. Whey is a popular protein powder. However, plant-based protein powders are becoming more available.

Types of Protein Powder:

We have written several articles on protein where you can learn even more.

What to Mix in with Protein Powder

Protein Shakes to Gain WeightProtein powders should be mixed with liquids that contain calories. Water has no calories and if you are trying to gain weight, then you probably want all the calories you can get.

You can mix protein powder with:

  • Regular milk
  • Chocolate milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Soy milk
  • Oat milk
  • Rice milk
  • Almond milk
  • Or even juice

You can add ice and blend for a frozen treat. Switching up the flavor of protein powder or type of liquid can add more variety when protein shakes are consumed daily.

Homemade Protein Shakes

We’ve talked a lot about store purchase protein shakes. However, you can make your own at home too. You can add in your favorite protein powder to make your shake even higher in protein.

Below is delicious homemade protein shake recipe. You can add different flavored syrups and high calorie add-ins to switch up the variety and taste.

Flavored syrup options:

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Strawberry syrup
  • Caramel syrup
  • Butterscotch syrup

Add in fruit like bananas or nut butter for even more calories and flavor.

Homemade Protein Shake Recipe

Our Peanut Butter Bliss Protein Shake is super high in calories and protein. The peanut butter adds a boost of heart healthy calories. The half and half and ice-cream add the extra calories.

Peanut Butter Bliss Protein Shake

Peanut Butter Bliss Protein Shake


  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup vanilla ice-cream
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • Whipped cream, if desired


  • Add half-and-half, ice-cream, and peanut butter into a blender.
  • Blend ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour into a glass and garnish with whipped cream, if desired.


  • 875 calories
  • 25 grams protein

With over 800 calories, this protein shake will certainly help with weight gain. You can add chocolate syrup and/or banana to add variety to this recipe. And if you have a peanut allergy, you can swap this for almond butter.


High Calorie Shakes e-Cookbook

High Calorie Shakes CookbookIf you want more shake ideas to promote weight gain, be sure to check out our High Calorie SHAKES e-Cookbook.

This cookbook contains 25 delicious and create recipes to promote weight gain.

In addition to the recipes there is information high calorie foods, tips on maximizing intake, and extra tips with each yummy recipe.

Other Weight Gain Articles

The Geriatric Dietitian features a variety of other articles on how to gain weight and follow a high calorie diet. Here is a list of some of our other weight gain articles.

We hope you find some valuable information within these pages to help you on your weight gain journey.


Protein Shakes can help with weight gain. They can prevent unintended weight loss and promote muscle health. Always be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any supplements or increasing your protein intake.

Best of luck on your weight gain journey. We hope this article provided ideas and inspiration to get started!

Peanut Butter Bliss Protein Shake Infographic

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