Nutritional drinks for seniors can be greatly helpful, but they’re not without their issues. This means that you need to choose carefully. In particular, nutritional drinks can help seniors who suffer from a loss of appetite, add vitamins and nutrients to their daily diet, and help recover from illness or surgery. Nutritional drinks can be used as a meal replacement or snack, depending on your needs.
Like with all things, caution needs to be exercised when adding nutritional drinks to your daily diet. There are a few things seniors need to be aware of before buying health drinks.
Before adding any supplement to your diet, be sure to discuss it with your doctor first. Not all vitamins and minerals interact well with prescription drugs. For example, grapefruit juice, which blocks a specific enzyme, CYP3A4, can impact some medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. Vitamin K is another one seniors should watch for since consuming too large a quantity can interfere with specific blood thinners.
Additionally, some of the various health drinks for seniors contain a significant amount of sugar which can be problematic for diabetics and cause obesity, which comes with its own risks. The risk of weight gain is one of the biggest concerns for seniors when adding nutritional drinks to their diets since many drinks are high in sugar, calories, and fat.
If seniors are using nutritional drinks to boost protein or nutrition but are not using them as a meal replacement, the drink can cause considerable weight gain, which is why it is essential to choose the right drink for your needs. According to Harvard Health, seniors should look for nutritional drinks that aren’t more than 400 calories for meal replacements and not more than 200 calories for in-between meals.
Also, nutritional drinks are not equal to whole foods when it comes to nutrition. For those who can consume whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, it is better to eat those in addition to healthy drinks. You could even turn to meal delivery programs. And though nutritional drinks are packed with vitamins, too much of a good thing can have an opposite result.
An excellent alternative to buying nutritional drinks is making them ourselves. Though it is more work making your own nutritional drinks, it also gives you greater control of how much sugar, protein, calories, and fat go into them. Plus, making healthy drinks at home will allow you to consume the ingredients at their peak, giving you the full benefit.
There are a few different types of nutritional drinks:
- Shakes – Shakes are often used for meal replacements and increase body weight; they are usually packed with protein. But they are also higher in fat, calories, and sugar.
- Rehydration drinks – Best for getting over an illness or avoid dehydration.
- Smoothies – Homemade or store-bought, can be made with fruit, vegetables, enhancements, and dairy products like yogurt.
- Juice – Can be more nutritious than other options, though you have to keep an eye on the amount of sugar. The drawback to natural juices is they often do not have a long shelf life.
Top Nutritional Drinks
- Glucerna Shake
- Raw Generation
- Smoothie – Homemade
Glucerna Shake – Best Nutritional Drink for Diabetics
- Protein: 10 g
- Sugar: 4 g
- Calories: 180 kcal
Glucerna Shake is low in sugar and calories, making it an ideal shake for those looking for something between meals. Additionally, Glucerna Shake is formulated to help manage blood sugar in mind. The carbohydrates used in the shake have a low glycemic index which helps to regulate blood sugar.
The shakes come in a few different flavors, including chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, butter pecan, and chocolate caramel. Glucerna offers more than just shakes; they also sell a powdered mix, mini treats, and snack bars.
Ka’Chava – Best Plant-Based Nutritional Drink
- Protein: 25 g
- Sugar: 7 g
- Calories: 240 kcal
Ka’Chava is a powdered nutritional drink meal replacement that contains over 70 different superfoods. Ka’Chava’s founder wanted to create a drink packed with vitamins to help promote good health and boost energy.
Though Ka’Chava is plant-based, it contains 25 grams of protein per serving, using five protein-rich ingredients, including organic quinoa, yellow pea protein, organic sacha inchi, organic whole grain brown rice, and organic amaranth. It is also blended with over 20 fruits and vegetables. Plus, Ka’Chava contains fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics to help support a healthy digestive system.
There is only one formula that comes in two flavors chocolate and vanilla.
And you can sign up for a subscription so that it will automatically ship to your house based on your preferred frequency. Each bag contains 15 meals and costs $69.95 without a subscription, which comes out to be $4.66 per meal. For a discounted price, they offer price breaks when you sign up for their subscription plan.
Pedialyte – Best Rehydration Nutritional Drink
- Protein: 0
- Sugar: 9 g
- Calories: 35 kcal
Pedialyte is for kids and adults alike and is the ideal option for rehydration. It helps restore fluids, electrolytes, and zinc. Pedialyte is available in several different formulas available including some for immune support, sports, and recovery from illness.
Pedialyte also comes in a variety of flavors, making it more palatable; some of the most common flavors include coconut, mixed fruit, strawberry, and grape. Pedialyte is also available in a flavorless option.
Pedialyte comes in a variety of forms, such as easy travel powder packs, premixed drinks, and even freezer pops. Most seniors who use Pedialyte do so during or after an illness, but for active seniors, Pedialyte may be an excellent choice to help reduce the chances of dehydration.
Pedialyte is not a meal or snack replacement.
Raw Generation – Best Juice Nutritional Drink
Fresh Greens Formula:
- Protein: 1 g
- Sugar: 9 g
- Calories: 50 kcal
Raw Generation is a juice company that uses nutrition to help boost people’s health. Their juices are handmade in small batches to ensure the juice is always as fresh as possible. The juice is never exposed to high heat through pasteurization so that the ingredients retain the most nutrition. Also, their juice never contains any added chemicals or artificial flavors.
Raw Generation offers various juices focused on aiding with specific issues such as cleanses, immunity boosts, energy enhancement, and more. Raw Generation offers their juice for a one-time purchase, or you can sign up for a monthly juice subscription so that you always have fresh juice on hand.
Best of all Raw Generation is free from added sugar, gluten, soy, and dairy.
Smoothies – Best Homemade Nutritional Drink
Smoothies can be purchased at various juice shops, restaurants, and even the grocery store. However, seniors can also create their own smoothies. Smoothies can be made with just about any fruits and vegetables, but it can be easy to add too much sugar through dairy products and fruit that have a high sugar content like bananas, pineapple, and mangoes.
Smoothies are an excellent way to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. And though it contains sugar, adding kefir will help promote good gut health. For those looking for a smoothie recipe, the AARP posted an immune-boosting smoothie recipe, which contains frozen fruit, kefir, almond butter, chia seeds, and spinach. This smoothie recipe would work well as a meal replacement option, especially if you add protein powder.
For lower sugar options, make your smoothies with berries, unsweetened cashew milk, and more vegetables. Also, adding a small bit of fresh ginger can help soothe an upset stomach and add a bit of zest to your drink.
Premier Protein – Best High Protein Nutritional Drink
- Protein: 30 g
- Sugar: 1 g
- Calories: 160 kcal
Premier Protein is a low-calorie, low sugar protein shake. Protein is an essential nutrient for retaining and building muscle, which is why Premier Protein is the ideal nutritional drink for seniors who work out. Plus, Premier Protein helps to reduce feelings of hunger and can aid in weight loss. Active seniors will also enjoy the extra energy boost they get from this drink.
There are 11 different protein shake flavors like chocolate, cookies and cream, strawberries and cream, and cinnamon roll. In addition to the many flavors of their original shakes, Premier Protein also sells other products like protein shakes with oats, clear protein drinks, protein powder, and protein bars,
Premier Protein is available at most grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations.
Lumi – Best 100% Juice Nutritional Drink
Farmhouse Greens Formula
- Protein: 2 g
- Sugar: 10 g
- Calories: 60 kcal
Lumi is an organic juice packed with superfoods creating a nutritionally dense beverage. Lumi comes in six different juice flavors:
- Wahoo Orange
- Morning Sunrise
- Jump Shot
- Harvest Apple
- Farmhouse Greens
- Belmont Beet
The juices are made from 100% juice without any added sugar. All of the juices are produced using cold press processing to ensure the maximum amount of nutrients in every juice bottle. In addition to their juices, Lumi also makes two different juice shots, Gold Rush Wellness, an energy infusion shot, and Hot Shot, a morning booster shot.
Boost – Best Variety of Nutritional Drinks
- Protein: 10 g
- Sugar: 20 g
- Calories: 240 kcal
Boost is a Nestle company and has been a leader in the nutritional drink industry for years. They offer 13 different formulas created to meet a variety of needs, such as weight gain, high protein, diabetic-friendly, and mobility. Some of the variations of nutritional drinks include both premixed shakes, powder, and clear beverages.
The different drinks come in a variety of flavors, though the flavor selection depends on the formula. Some of the typical flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peaches and cream, orange, and strawberry kiwi.
The biggest drawback to Boost’s original shakes is that two of the first three ingredients are usually sugar.