What makes the top high calorie weight gain breakfast? Is it a specific food, or does it come from the balance of convenience and nutrition?
Look at it this way: what would you eat for breakfast if you knew you had to spend the day fighting with swords and shields – if it was life or death?
Armies have won or lost battles because of their breakfast (or lack of it). For you, it could be the difference between winning or losing the stubborn struggle for weight gain.
A high-calorie breakfast is one of the easiest and most important ways you can improve your diet to support better muscle, strength, and health gains.
Today, we’re discussing some high calorie breakfast ideas, why it’s important, what you should keep in mind, and some of the best breakfasts for gaining weight. We’re going to cover some classics and some new favorites and leave you with at least some new weight gain breakfast ideas.
Why is Breakfast Important for Gaining Weight?
Breakfast is important because it’s the first meal of the day.
That’s obvious, right?
Well it does represent a unique set of physical demands – or at least an intense version of them.
You’re eating at the end of the overnight fast. While your mind has rested, your body has been replacing old tissues, repairing damage, and building new muscle or tendon (1). This has been energy-expensive, and you need to get something back in.
Breakfast represents breaking the fast – eating again after a (hopefully long) sleep. But it also represents the first food choice you make in the day and the kind of standard you’re setting for yourself.
Why is a High-Calorie Breakfast Important?
Getting a great breakfast is going to replenish your body after sleep and recovery processes and set you up for the day.
When you make a good choice for breakfast, you’re doing two things. First, you’re providing the physical fuel and nutrients that your body needs. Secondly, you’re making a decision to push towards the lifestyle you need for better muscle growth and weight gain.
Physically, this means providing your body with nutrients to fuel the morning – and beyond. A good breakfast will be rich in nutrients that provide energy for the start of the day which, for most of us, is the most stressful and intensive part.
Emotionally, it’s a win. It’s starting the day right and reminding yourself that you’re in control of this diet and you’re making it happen. It also takes off a huge amount of stress throughout the day by relieving some of the calorie surplus, protein, and carb requirements you’re chasing.
When you’re trying to gain weight, eating a healthy and hearty breakfast means spreading the demands of eating across the day more evenly. This also means a consistent supply of both energy and protein for your body which can be a great way to support consistent muscle protein synthesis through the day (2).
Is Protein Important for Breakfast?
Even if you’re eating a light breakfast, it’s important to get plenty of protein in. Eating something – rather than nothing – is the best breakfast for weight gain!
This is a helping hand even if you’re not a morning person. Maybe you’re not eating a cooked breakfast, but a bowl of oatmeal with fruit is a great way to up that fiber and vitamin/mineral intake. Equally, a bowl of yoghurt with toppings can be a light, protein-filled way to get ahead of the day.
Every single meal helps during a bulking phase when 500 calories could be the difference between gaining mass this week or staring down at the scales and being disappointed. Even more importantly, it could be the difference between a good and bad training session…
Why Should You Eat Before a Morning Workout?
If you’re training any time before the evening, high calorie breakfast foods are a key factor in your fuel reserves.
Exercising on an empty stomach is okay for some types of activity, like running, but it’s a bad look for heavy lifting. You’re going to need carbs in reserve – in both your muscles and your liver – to get the best workouts.
Your body can tell how much you’ve eaten through the day and its measures of your energy availability impact exercise. They change your top-level performance, help you fight off fatigue, and even affect how stressful exercise is for both your body and mind.
Eating breakfast is part of the 12-24 hour fueling process that goes into a great workout. If you’re training early in the day, you’ll need a digestible and nutrient-packed breakfast to get you going. If you’re training in the afternoon, it’s going to be around 25-50% of your feeding on a training day.
You can’t take breakfast lightly when it’s such a huge player in your workout quality and long-term development.
What Makes a Top Weight Gain Breakfast?
Quick, Healthy Breakfasts for Busy People
A great weight-gain breakfast is best prepared quickly.
If you’re busy with work, studies, or family commitments then it’s important that your breakfast doesn’t eat up too much of your morning. A perfect weight-gain breakfast can be prepared within 15 minutes and is convenient.
Easy to Prepare
The last thing you want to do in a morning is think too much.
A great breakfast food is going to be simple to prepare – not just quick. The less conscious effort that goes into a breakfast, the less stressful it’s going to be and easier the habit will be to keep up.
This is why we prioritise things like toast, for example, that you can throw in a toaster while you continue with your morning preparations.
Equally, simple cooking like scrambled eggs are better than complicated multi-pan prep.
High-calorie Breakfast Foods for Weight Gain
Obviously, a high-calorie breakfast is perfect for weight gain.
If you have the time and the stomach for it, eating healthy high-calorie breakfast in a morning is a great way to improve your weight gain. It boosts your energy levels and also gives you a head start on the day’s eating.
However, even if you’re a light breakfaster, a small breakfast can still provide essential calories, protein, and micronutrients for the day.
Protein-Rich Breakfast Foods (To Build Muscle)
More protein makes for better weight gain and a consistent supply of basic resources for muscle gain through the day. That’s the role protein plays in the body and the more you get from diet, the easier it is to gain muscle.
Protein is great and weight-gain diets benefit from higher intakes. The first focus for protein is to get as much as reasonably possible.
Using breakfast to start this process and take some of the pressure off yourself is a priority. High protein breakfasts – including things like eggs, fish, or even yoghurt – are an amazing start to you day.
Carbohydrates for Fuel
Carbs are fuel and even more important for morning workouts.
Carbing up is a big player in your workout performance. Great weigh-gain breakfasts usually contain a slow-releasing, starchy or fibrous carb source to maintain digestive and metabolic regularity.
These can get a little more sugary and fast-release for a morning workout, where they will digest and be used faster. Make sure your carb choice matches the physical activity layout of your day – early workouts mean more simple carbs with breakfast.
Recommended: Here’s how carbs help you gain weight.
High-Quality Fats for Breakfast
The opposite of carbs, fats are better for slower mornings where you don’t need a boost but a sustained release.
Fats and complex carbs help provide lasting energy. High-fat foods like eggs are a great place to look for this, where they provide tons of nutrients as well as plenty of calories from fat.
Fat-rich breakfasts aren’t ideal for morning workouts, but they can be a great way to fuel up your morning with plenty of calories. Avocado and egg on toast is a classic.
High Calorie Breakfast Ideas for Bulking
1. Oats and Oatmeal
Porridge (and later Oatmeal) is a classic – stretching back thousands of years – for a reason; that it is a great high calorie breakfast to gain weight.
Armies have marched on porridge – sometimes from oats but sometimes from other wholegrains like wheat – since before recorded history. They’re a versatile place to start and even without any other ingredients oats are a fantastic carb source, packed with electrolytes like sodium and magnesium to support exercise.
You can add just about anything to oats. They’re a savoury or sweet food which means you can combine them with egg or honey just as well. Your toppings could range from fruit to cured meats and then any sauce you can think of.
Oats are about as versatile as sliced bread and they’re always going to provide a high-quality wholegrain to start your day off.
Rolled oats are a healthy high-calorie breakfast for weight gain.
2. Toast and Toasties
Speaking of sliced bread – we need to talk toast. Your ancestors lived on bread because it’s an easy and versatile food that can be milled out of pretty much any grain.
For most of us, too much bread can be an issue. However, when you’re trying to gain weight and want a quick, convenient breakfast, it’s the canvas for your new nutrition masterpiece.
Each slice of bread is likely to be around 70-120 calories, even before we get to toppings. These are all carbs and – with a good bread – will include a spread of important vitamins and minerals such as Thiamine (B1).
Just like oats, you can put almost anything on toast and get a great result. Eggs, peanut butter, avocado, almost any type of spreadable fats, and then just about anything else you can think of.
Toast is a classic because it works – both as a way to get calories into your breakfast and as a foundation for a wide range of toppings.
Something simple like scrambled eggs on toast is going to provide a mix of protein and carbs to fuel your day. It’s fast, simple, and effective enough that elite athletes across all sports are going to have their own favourite high-performance toast habit.
3. Eggs: A Classic Protein-Rich Breakfast
Eggs are the morning food.
They’re packed with high-quality fats and proteins, vitamins and minerals, and they’re easy to cook. You can make eggs scrambled, fried, or in an omelette with no real culinary skill and they’re still going to be delicious.
They’re also a great platform for other foods – mixing well with most vegetables and any form of meat. Whether it’s diced bell peppers or cubes of chorizo, cooked eggs are going to be an amazing source of protein in your breakfast.
Cook eggs and pair them with (at least) a carb source and you’re ready to start your day.
4. Yoghurt and High-Calorie Toppings
Yoghurt is one of the absolute best foods – making it a perfect healthy breakfast for weight gain.
As with the other foods on this list, it’s a versatile and powerful place to start any meal. It’s packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, rich in protein, and is a great gut-healthy food. It’s also available in lower fat variations that have an even higher protein count.
You can mix yoghurt with a protein powder, with fruit, nuts, seeds, or syrups. It’s a great foundation for a light breakfast if you’re in a rush or you don’t like feeling weighted down first thing in a morning.
If you’re not a breakfast person, a little Greek style yoghurt and some fruit may be the perfect gateway meal to better weight gain!
5. Meat and Veg
If you’ve got the time, a little cooked meat and some vegetables are the best high calorie breakfast. For any meal, but especially breakfast, where protein is going to provide some long-term energy and all the most important nutrients to start your day.
This is a great way to start clocking up protein, vitamins, and minerals (the main healthy components of a diet) before you even hit the day. It takes some of the burden off throughout the day so you can focus on higher-calorie foods with less pressure on these health factors.
Higher-fat meats, especially, are great for this. They provide slow-burning energy stores along with protein which makes for a great breakfast.
6. Breakfast Burritos
If you’re not gaining enough weight, eat more Mexican food. It’s a timeless approach to gaining weight because Mexican and related cuisines are packed with high-quality, high-calorie foods: beans, cheese, meats, and tortillas.
The breakfast burrito is a spin on Mexican food with all the right hallmarks. Rice, egg, cheese, meats, beans. These are all classic weight-gain foods and offer a great combination to fuel up your morning – especially if you’re able to prep them in advance.
7. Protein Pancakes
We’re not talking about the pre-mix. We’re talking about yoghurt and banana and oats, blended, and then fried up.
You throw these in a pan, and they take a few minutes to prepare. They’re also small, not over-filling, and they’re going to go great with all kinds of high calorie toppings. You could play it healthy with nuts, seeds, and some high calorie fruits.
But you could also throw ice cream or honey on top, or even a chocolate sauce. It all depends on how hard you need to eat and your whole day of eating.
Whichever route you go down, protein pancakes are an easy and speedy way of getting tons of protein and calories into your diet.
They also feel like a nice bit of normality amid a performance-focused diet, which can be nice if you’re struggling with the mundane side of bulking up.
8. High-Calorie Breakfast Shake
We don’t need to tell you every possible weight-gain shake. You can get a blender and start experimenting.
However, a simple breakfast smoothie that we do recommend is effortless and simple:
- Protein powder
These are the basics – blend them together. You can figure out the ratios yourself – start with half a banana and a ¼ cup of oats and adjust up to meet your texture needs. It can get pretty thick if you add too many dry ingredients so err on the side of thinner shakes.
You also have some strong optional ingredients for a blended breakfast protein shake. Add a shot of coffee for a smooth morning pick-me-up, try peanut butter if you’re a hardcore hardgainer, or even just a spoonful of ice cream for both calories and texture.
9. Breakfast Casserole
Anything that you can describe as casserole is probably going to help you gain quality weight. It drums up thoughts of hearty food packed with nutrients.
Morning or breakfast casserole is a combination of egg, potato, and other ingredients cooked together in a casserole dish. The point is simple: you can combine a range of foods into a simple, single food that you can scoop up, heat up, and eat in a pinch.
Our favourites are anything that include diced potato (or sweet potato), kale, and sausage. Fortunately, if you disagree, you can use just about any collection of ingredients as long as they’re rich in calories and you have a good protein source. Easy, nutritious, and satisfying every time.
There you have it, some great high calorie breakfast ideas. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but only when you get it right.
There are a ton of benefits to a high calorie, high protein breakfast for weight gain. Most importantly, it will fuel you up and it will ease the difficulty that so many hard-gainers and ectomorphs experience with eating enough through the day.
Spread those calories out – start eating early, and you’ll be able to eat more in total, perform better, and gain more high-quality weight. It’s a great way of supporting training and making sure that your weight-gain diet is adding quality muscle mass.
You don’t have to get it perfect right away. If you’re not a morning person then start small with light breakfasts and experiment with what works for you.
Remember: when you’re building dietary habits, you have to be able to stick with them – and that means finding things you enjoy.
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.