Best Nutrition Drinks for the Elderly

Best Nutrition Drinks for the Elderly

Are you looking for high-quality nutrition drinks for the elderly? There are a lot of choices on the market. And a lot of nutrition drinks you can make at home.

This article will break down what a nutrition drink is. Why nutrition drinks may benefit the elderly. And this Registered Dietitians top picks for the best nutrition drinks for the elderly.

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

What is a Nutrition Drink?

A nutrition drink is a high calorie drink. There are many types of health drinks on the market. Let’s look at the two most common types: nutrition drinks and protein drinks.

You may also see these labeled as nutrition shakes and protein shakes.

Nutrition Shake vs Protein Shake

Nutrition Shakes

A nutrition drink is high in calories. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.  Nutrition drinks contain protein, but that is not the primary focus. The focus is high quality calories and nutrition.

A couple of examples of nutrition drinks include Ensure* or Boost*.

Some nutrition drinks are specialized for medical conditions. For example, Glucerna* for those with diabetes. And Nepro* for those with kidney disease on dialysis.

Protein Shakes

A protein drink focuses on, you guessed it, protein. Protein drinks are often lower in calories. They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals.

A couple examples of protein drinks include Premier Protein* or Muscle Milk*.

Nutrition Drink vs Protein Drink

Nutrition Drink

  • Higher in calories
  • Focus= gaining weight
  • Meal replacement

Protein Drink

  • Higher in protein
  • Focus= building muscle
  • Lower in calories
nutrition drinks for the elderly

Why Choose Nutrition Drinks?

Why would the elderly benefit from choosing nutrition drinks?

There are several reasons to choose nutrition drinks. They can be used for a meal replacement or as a supplement to provide extra calories and nutrition.

Meal Replacement

Some seniors have a hard time making meals. Especially if they are ill or physically unable to cook a whole meal. Or maybe they just don’t feel like eating, but sipping on a drink feels manageable.

While we want to see the elderly eating 3 balanced meals per day, we know meals are sometimes skipped. Because they aren’t hungry. Or because they don’t feel well. Or a million other reasons.

By having nutrition drinks on hand, it can minimize the likelihood of skipped meals. Opening a premade nutrition drink is an easy way get some extra calories and nutrition. In this way, nutrition shakes are serving as a meal replacement.

Meals include a decent number of calories. Which is why we want to choose nutrition shakes (which are usually >300 calories) instead of protein shakes (which may be 150 calories of less).

Low calorie drinks used to replace meals can lead to unintended weight loss. Or worse, malnutrition.

Supplemental Drinks

Nutrition drinks can be used for a calorie supplement. A way to get even more calories into their day. This can help to stop unintended weight loss. And to promote weight gain.

If nutrition drinks are used as supplements, they are included in between meals.

For example, a senior eats 3 balanced meals per day and has 1-3 nutrition drinks in-between meals. This adds extra calories they need to stay well nourished.

Best Nutrition Drinks for Elderly

The best nutrition drinks for the elderly are the ones an individual enjoys and will actually drink. Having a box of nutrition drinks collecting dust in the corner doesn’t benefit anyone.

There are a wide variety of nutrition drinks on the market. And we all have different needs and taste preferences. Experiment with different brands and flavors to find the best nutrition drinks for seniors in your life.

But, without further ado, here are some of the best nutrition drinks for the elderly!

Premade Nutrition Drinks for Seniors

Premade nutrition drinks are easy. They can be stored for a decent amount of time. And can be used as needed.

Some people prefer to drink premade nutrition shakes for convenience. Others prefer homemade nutrition drinks, but like to keep a stash of premade drinks on hand… just in case they are needed.

Ensure Plus

Ensure Plus has even more calories than regular Ensure. So for the same volume, you are getting more “bang for your buck.”

Ensure Plus comes in a variety of fun flavors from vanilla to chocolate to butter pecan and more!

Ensure is made by Abbott Nutrition.

Vanilla Ensure Plus
Chocolate Ensure Plus
Butter Pecan Ensure Plus

Boost Plus

Boost Plus is similar to Ensure Plus. However, Boost is made by Nestle Nutrition.

Some people like Boost while others prefer Ensure. It’s like the old Coke or Pepsi debate. Some people will drink either cola. Others swear by one brand being superior.

We think you should choose the one that tastes best to you! That can include store brands too.

Vanilla Boost Plus
Chocolate Boost Plus

Strawberry Boost Plus


Orgain is a great option for those who prefer an organic product. Additionally, Orgain has protein shakes, nutrition shakes, protein powders, and more!

This company also provides vegan products for those who do not eat animal products.

Chocolate Fudge
Smooth Chocolate
Vanilla Bean

Homemade Nutrition Drinks for Seniors

Home nutrition drinks are perfect because you can control the ingredients that go in them. If you have specific preferences or health needs, you can make the best nutrition drink for you.

Here are several types of nutrition drinks for seniors.

High Calorie Shakes

High calorie shakes are a sweet and tasty high calorie option to stop unintended weight loss and promote weight gain. Plus they are easy to make!

You can find some great high calorie shakes in our article:

3 Delicious High Calorie Shakes

High Calorie Shake Infographic

Or you can check out our High Calorie SHAKES e-cookbook for even more delicious recipes!

High Calorie Smoothies

High calorie smoothies are a perfect option for seniors looking to get some extra fruits and vegetables in their diet. Some may perceive smoothies as a healthier option. Some just prefer the taste of fruits to the sugar content often found in shakes.

Keep in mind high calorie diets are often temporary. Finding a high calorie drink a senior will drink and enjoy is more important than the overall nutrition profile of a drink. Especially if the unintended weight loss is so severe it’s leading to falls, hospitalizations, illness, or worse.

You can learn more about high calorie smoothies in our article:

High Calorie Smoothies for Weight Gain

How to Make High Calorie Smoothies Inforgraphic

High Calorie Drinks

In addition to homemade high calorie shakes and high calorie smoothies, there are a lot of other high calorie drinks for the elderly.

You can learn more about high calorie drinks in our article:

5 Best High Calorie Drinks

High Calorie Drinks for the Elderly Infographic

Conclusion: Nutrition Drinks for Elderly

There are many nutrition drinks for elderly available. Either store bought or homemade.

Nutrition drinks can be used as a meal replacement or as a supplement. They provide extra calories to prevent unintended weight loss and/or promote weight gain.

The most important consideration is to find nutrition drinks a senior will enjoy and actually drink. There is no one best nutrition drink for the elderly.

But luckily, there are many options available for an individual senior to find the best nutrition drink for them!

And if you would like to learn more about gaining weight, be sure to check out our signature course: Gaining Weight Made Easy.

Gaining Weight Made Easy Course

9 thoughts on “Best Nutrition Drinks for the Elderly”

  1. My husband has ALS and is beginning to lose too much weight even though he eats a good amount of healthy foods each day between meals and snacks. His dietician recommended he take Very High Calorie Boost nutritional drink. I would like to make him smoothies rather than use the Boost which has additives. I saw some of your recipes for smoothies, but wondering if you could tell me how to find out the amount of protein and vitamins and minerals that are in them and where to find more recipes like these.

    Thank you!

  2. I am severly underweight but not malnourished and have a good appetite. However I also have hypertension and have had a heart attack but insertion of 2 stents. My problem is gaining weight as my cardiologist request me to do but also keeping to an appropriate meal plan and living a healthy life style. Please help…

  3. I have been looking for meal replacement that is nutritional but not calorific. It’s for my mum who has little appetite for meals but now seems to eat lots of biscuits or sweet things. She seems to prefer these to a meal. She suffers with ME and at times seeks the energy from sweet things. I don’t want a high calorie nutrition drink because she’s not underweight. I do worry she is deprived of many vitamins and this likely adds to low energy. Any guidance on this would be appreciated. She would more likely have a milkshake type drink compared to vitamin tablets.
    Kind regards

    1. Check-in with her doctor to see what her healthcare team recommends based on her individual situation. And if they can refer her to a Registered Dietitian, that would be even better! Even if she is not underweight, poor appetite and low intake could lead to unintended weight loss. Drinks like Ensure or Boost provide ~250 calories (not a ton) and have a lot of vitamins and minerals added to them. Best of luck to you!

  4. I don’t know who sees this, but thanks for this website. I’m fairly young 41 F and struggle to keep weight on. Sooooo……. much useful information I never thought of. Just being on here I learned I’m a shake person, not a smoothie person. Basic stuff like that matters to be. I can go on forever. I was just looking for high calorie soup recipes (Iike soup)
    Just thanks 😊

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top