The 9 Best Nutritional Drinks for Elderly | Meal Village

The 9 Best Nutritional Drinks for Elderly

19 Feb 2024

elderly couple enjoying nutritional drink

Eating less is common as you get older, but it can become concerning when you stop getting enough nutrients. Ensuring that you get enough protein, calories, minerals, and vitamins every day is vital, and nutritional drinks make this a bit easier. Nutritional drinks are a snack or meal supplement with a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Keep reading to discover nine nutritional drinks for the elderly alongside some additional tips for addressing malnutrition.

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Why older adults might incorporate nutritional drinks into their diet?

1. Quick and easy

As you get older, cooking a meal might take more work than it used to. Take the stress away from standing and moving around your kitchen, and opt for a nutritional drink alongside home-delivered meals. Plenty of grab-and-go options exist, or you can create your own at home with just a few ingredients.

2. Excellent taste, doctor-approved

Whether you're a chocoholic or you prefer something fruity, you're bound to find a nutritional drink with flavors you love. Plus, some of the tastiest drinks are low-sugar or high-protein, making it easy to stay on track with your doctor-recommended eating habits.

3. Easy to consume

Nutritional drinks might be the solution if you're experiencing a loss of appetite or struggling to chew or swallow. The cool, smooth texture can make it easier and more enjoyable to reach your daily caloric intake.

The 9 best nutritional drinks for elderly

1. Smoothies

Smoothies are great if you want a drink that provides you with carbs, protein, and your daily dose of nutrients. Try to incorporate a variety of fruits and veggies so you get plenty of antioxidants and fiber. Then, throw in some yogurt or milk for a healthy source of fat and protein.

2. Protein shakes

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet - it's the macronutrient that repairs and maintains your muscle mass. Eating a high-protein diet as an older adult can help you build stronger muscles and move around better.

Try a grab-and-go protein shake for a protein option that doesn't require any prep, cooking, or cleaning. You can enjoy it as a sweet treat without the added sugar between meals.

3. Vegan protein shakes

Consuming enough protein as an older adult can be challenging, but it may be even tougher if you don't eat animal products. Vegan protein shakes contain the same amount of protein as any animal product and come in tasty, dessert-like flavors. To make your own, all you need is some nut milk or soy milk and your favorite vegan protein powder. If you really want to shake things up, throw in a frozen banana for a milkshake-like consistency.

4. Diabetic-friendly shakes (Glucerna)

Usually, with a sweet, delicious taste comes a high amount of sugar, so people with diabetes might face some challenges finding the perfect nutritional drink. Glucerna offers a variety of nutritional drinks that help balance blood sugar and contain various nutrients such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. Even better, these drinks taste as sweet as milkshakes but without the sugar spikes.

5. Kefir

Need something that's protein-packed and nutrient-dense? Kefir offers the best of both worlds. This fermented dairy product contains probiotics, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and protein, plus it's easy to digest.

6. Kombucha

If you're looking for a healthy drink that'll perk you up, try kombucha. This fermented tea beverage contains probiotics and good bacteria that will keep your gut happy all day.

7. Cold-pressed juices

Cold-pressed juices taste just as sweet as any regular store-bought brand but don't contain preservatives or added sugar. Instead, these juices come from 100% natural and organic fruits and vegetables, and they're loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. With just one juice per day, you can potentially boost your immune system and uplift your energy.

8. Vegetable juices

If you want a drink rich in vitamins and minerals that's also low in sugar, try vegetable juice. Green juices in particular contain magnesium, iron, electrolytes, vitamins, and potassium - a great lineup of nutrients to keep your mind and gut functioning correctly.

9. Milk

You probably heard nonstop as a child that it's important to drink milk. That same idea applies just as much to adults. Milk provides calcium and Vitamin D, two key components in maintaining bone strength. Plus, it contains about eight grams of protein per cup, potentially helping to keep you full and satisfied.

The disadvantages of nutritional drinks for older adults

While nutritional drinks provide many health benefits, they're only one part of a meaningful solution to countering malnutrition. Here's why you shouldn't rely entirely on nutritional shakes to meet your daily nutrients - and should still focus on a whole-food diet.

  • They can leave you hungry. Nutritional drinks taste great and are easy to consume, sometimes to the point that you finish one in minutes. If you find yourself chugging a nutritional drink, add a snack such as nuts, berries, or vegetables to tide you over.

  • They may be high in sugar. Some store-bought nutritional drinks contain more sugar to provide that signature sweet, decadent flavor. Check the nutrition label before buying a drink, or make your own at-home drink using whole ingredients.

  • They're less balanced than a full meal. While nutritional drinks can give you a boost, they can't provide the same nutrition you'd get by having a full meal. It's best to focus on eating smaller meals with protein, fat, and plenty of nutrients. Then, enjoy a nutritional shake as a snack (or another small meal) in between.

4 additional tips for treating malnutrition in elderly

1. Increase your dish's caloric density

Eating more food, or eating more frequently, can seem exhausting when you don't have a big appetite. The good news is that you can increase your calories, protein, and fat without adding much volume to your plate. Peanut butter, nuts, cheese, avocado, and dried fruit will provide extra calories and energy to conquer your day.

2. Find the cause of your malnutrition

The best way to treat anything is to figure out what caused it in the first place. For example, you may have lost your appetite due to an ill-fitting pair of dentures, or it could be due to a new medication. Whatever you think the reason is, talk to your doctor to see what they recommend for your next steps.

3. Incorporate essential vitamins into your diet

Vitamins play a critical role for older adults since they support bone and immune health as well as muscle growth. Ideally, you should incorporate Vitamins A, B, C, D, and calcium into your meals, which you can find in many fruits and cruciferous vegetables.

4. Opt for soft foods

Soft foods are a great option if you have dental issues or you struggle to chew or swallow. Plus, it's quick and easy to create any soft food of your choosing - all you need is a blender. This way, you can still enjoy your favorite foods and receive the same health benefits, just in an easier-to-digest form.

Counter malnutrition with Meal Village

Nutritional drinks alone won't meet all your needs - you need whole foods too. Meal Village offers nutritious, macro-friendly, delicious meals you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack in between. Search through over 130 weekly options to find the best meals that fit your dietary needs and ship them straight to your door. There are no automatic meal deliveries - just place an order by phone or online. Mouth-watering, nutrient-dense dishes that don't require any prep are just a phone call away.

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