Fuel Your Golden Years With the Best Nutrition Drinks

Key Points

  • The best nutrition drinks for seniors add protein and nutrients to support good health.

  • Nutrition drinks are convenient, good-tasting, and easy to swallow. 

  • Choose the best nutrition drink for seniors that is designed for your health conditions.

  • Seniors live longer and feel better when they consume a nutritious diet.

Are you looking for the best nutrition drinks for seniors? It might be hard to choose from all of the options on supermarket shelves.

The best nutrition drinks for seniors fill in nutritional gaps and provide an easy, on-the-go option for balanced eating. Consider your diet and existing health conditions when choosing a nutritional drink.

Why Do Seniors Need a Nutritious Diet?

You’ll feel better and live longer if you eat a nutritious diet. Seniors who consume a balanced diet have a better quality of life, improved mental health, and increased longevity. 

Good nutrition is crucial for seniors to maintain:

  • Healthy immune function: Seniors have weaker immune systems than younger adults, making them more susceptible to infections and illnesses. A nutritious diet can provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to support immune function and help prevent illness. 

  • Muscle mass: You begin to lose muscle mass and strength starting at age 40, which can affect your mobility and increase your risk of falls and injuries. Adequate protein intake helps to maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle wasting.

  • Bone health: Calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium work together to build and maintain strong bones. Protein is important for building and maintaining muscle mass, which is also important for bone health. 

  • Cognitive function: Many nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin D, and zinc help to support cognitive function in older adults.

  • Quality of life: Eating a nutritious diet can help you maintain your independence, improve your mood and energy levels, and enhance your overall quality of life.

A healthy diet can also help prevent chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. The good news is that it’s never too late to reap these benefits.

Senior drinking nutrition drink

How To Boost Your Weight and Nutrition

Many people spend their entire lives trying not to gain weight. You may have to shift your thinking as you get older, though, since many seniors experience weight loss or malnutrition as they age. 

If you experience weight loss, now is the time to eat what you like! Don’t be afraid to eat eggs, cheese, peanut butter, and even treats like ice cream. If liquids are easier for you to consume, try making your own healthy smoothies or shakes with nutrient-dense ingredients. 

Seniors often prefer sweets as their senses of taste and smell dull, but it is easy to pack high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods into sweet and delicious smoothies. Add a spoonful of nut butter, half an avocado, or a handful of spinach to a blended drink for a boost of nutrients.

If you still have trouble consuming a balanced diet that meets all of your needs, drinks packed with nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals can help you get the nourishment you need.

How Can Nutrition Drinks Help You Stay Healthy?

As you age, you face some real dietary challenges. Nutrition drinks can fill the nutritional gap for you when you have difficulty chewing or swallowing solid foods, experience loss of appetite or weight loss, or have nutrient deficiencies. 

Seniors who have chronic illnesses or medical conditions or who are recovering from surgery can also benefit from extra nutrients. 

It’s best to get your nutrients from eating regular, balanced meals of whole foods, but that can be difficult. If you have limited access to healthy meals or struggle to prepare them, nutrition drinks are a convenient and easy way to boost your nutrition and calories. 

Prevention of Unintentional Weight Loss

If you need to gain weight and stop unintended weight loss, it’s time to add some extra calories. Increasing your caloric intake can even improve your mood and energy levels.

Increased Protein Intake

Loss of muscle mass is common in older adults — even those who appear to be maintaining a healthy weight — and it’s associated with physical disability, poor quality of life, and even death. Adding an easy-to-consume source of protein supports your muscle mass and strength.

Convenience and Effectiveness

If you have trouble swallowing or no longer find eating pleasurable, it’s hard to get enough calories and nutrients. Nutrition drinks are easy to find, and they boost your calories and nutrition with appetizing flavors. 

Choose the Right Nutrition Drink

Nutrition drinks are not created equal. Some aim to provide well-rounded nutrition and supplemental calories, while others are intended to pack a hefty dose of protein. Some are even designed for people with medical conditions like diabetes or kidney disease. 

Consider your own health conditions and calorie needs when you choose a drink. 

Each drink has its own taste and texture, so sample a few different brands and flavors to find the ones you like. Nutrition drinks often come in vanilla, chocolate, or even fruit flavors.

Drawbacks of Prepared Nutrition Drinks

Nutrition drinks can help you consume the nutrients you need. However, like any food, they are just one part of a healthy diet. Consider the following when you choose a product.

High Sugar Content

When you have a poor appetite and have lost some sense of taste, sweeter foods may be more appealing. Too much sugar, though, has its own health risks. Check nutrition labels for both total and added sugars, and skim ingredient lists to be sure a type of protein or fruit is listed first instead of sugar or corn syrup. 

Digestive Problems

Consuming nutrition drinks to the exclusion of whole foods can cause digestive issues like diarrhea. Lactose intolerance is increasingly common as you age, so a nutrition drink made from milk proteins may cause flatulence, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea. 

Medication Interactions

Meal replacement drinks may contain amounts of vitamins and minerals that interact with your medications. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about taking supplements along with your medications.

Senior with drink

Inferior Nutrition

Drinks that are fortified with minerals, vitamins, and supplements still won’t contain all the micronutrients, dietary fiber, and antioxidants that whole food sources provide. According to geriatrician Dr. Suzanne Salamon, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, “People see a lot of vitamins and minerals and think more is always better.” Eating real foods as the majority of your diet is the best source of nutrition.

Homemade Nutrition Drink Recipes

It’s easy to make nutrition-packed drinks and smoothies at home and incorporate your favorite ingredients.

You’ll need a blender with at least a four-cup capacity. Fresh or frozen banana is a great base ingredient because it makes your smoothie sweet and creamy. Add your favorite fruits and vegetables, a thickener rich in healthy fats like nut butter or avocado, and a supplement like protein or fiber powder. 

Blend it all together until smooth, and enjoy for a quick breakfast or healthy pick-me-up. Try these recipes for homemade smoothies or create your own!

Peanut butter banana smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup milk

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp protein powder

½ cup ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

Blueberry almond smoothie

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 cup frozen blueberries

2 Tbsp creamy almond butter

1 handful fresh spinach

Optional: 1 Tbsp honey

Blend until smooth.

Spinach and kale smoothie

½ cup milk or nut milk

½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

½ cup frozen spinach

½ cup frozen mango

1 ripe frozen banana

1 Tbsp peanut butter or protein powder

Blend until smooth.

Ready-To-Drink Nutrition Drinks

Ready-to-drink nutrition drinks are a convenient way to boost your calories and nutrition. Skip the prep, and take one with you when you’re on the go. 

There is a nutrition drink to meet a variety of dietary needs, from weight gain to diabetes control to cancer recovery.

Balanced Nutrition

BOOST Original Nutritional Drink is designed to provide nutritional energy with 240 nutrient-rich calories and B vitamins to help convert food to energy. Additionally, this drink offers 10 grams of protein and 27 vitamins and minerals for balanced nutrition. BOOST nutritional drink comes in rich chocolate flavor and gives your body protein, vitamins, and calories to support normal energy.

BOOST Original Nutritional Drink

Photo source: Amazon.com

Glucose Control

BOOST Glucose Control comes packed with extra nutrients in very vanilla flavor. This nutrient support drink is clinically shown to produce a lower blood sugar response versus a standard nutritional drink in people with type 2 diabetes. Each serving provides 16 grams of high-quality protein to help manage hunger and support muscle health. The inclusion of vitamins C and D, zinc, iron, and selenium provide nutrients for immune support.

BOOST Glucose Control

Photo source: Amazon.com

Extra Protein

Ensure COMPLETE Nutrition Shake is designed as a meal replacement drink. Ensure provides nutrients for immune health and has complete balanced nutrition with 30 grams of protein. Ensure COMPLETE comes in chocolate flavor and contains zinc, vitamin A, and antioxidants, including vitamins C and E for immune system support.

Ensure COMPLETE Nutrition Shake Photo source: Amazon.com

Glucose Control + Extra Protein

BOOST Glucose Control Max also provides 30g of protein and is specially formulated for people with diabetes to help manage blood sugar levels as part of a balanced diet. This rich chocolate nutritional drink is a great choice if you’re managing your carb intake because it contains only four to six grams of carbs, including one gram of sugar. Plus, the supplement drink's 30 grams of high-quality protein help manage hunger and support lean muscle.

BOOST Glucose Control Max

Photo source: Amazon.com

Nutrition Drinks Offer a Convenient Nutrient Boost for Seniors

Nutrition drinks are just one part of a well-rounded diet for seniors, but they can be a lifesaver when you have trouble eating or a poor appetite.

With so many flavors and nutritional profiles available, you’re sure to find an enjoyable nutrition drink that meets your dietary needs.

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