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HealthInfo Canterbury

Oral nutrition supplements

Āpitihanga toioranga ā-waha

If you're underweight and struggling to put weight back on by eating normally, your doctor or dietitian may suggest you have an oral nutrition supplement drink, on top of what you normally eat and drink.

These drinks are rich in the nutrients you need and will help you to have more calories. They're available as powders that you mix with water or milk, or as fluids that are ready to drink, such as Fortisip and Ensure Plus.

Types of powdered drink products

powdered drinks made into fruit smoothiesDifferent types of powdered drinks are available, and they come in different flavours. You can buy some at the supermarket and pharmacy (Complan, Vitaplan). You can get others (Ensure, Fortisip, Sustagen Hospital Formula) on prescription from your doctor or dietitian. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about what is best for you.

You can mix the powder with water or milk, but milk, especially dark-blue-top milk (whole milk), will give you more protein and calories. It's best to have the drink between meals, so you do not become too full at mealtimes.

Mixing instructions

  1. Quarter fill a large glass or mug with milk or water.
  2. Use the scoop provided to measure the right amount of powder (either what is written on the packaging, or what your doctor or dietitian recommends).
  3. Mix with a fork or small whisk until the powder dissolves and the drink is smooth. You can use a shaker or stick blender if you want.
  4. Top up with milk or water, stirring continuously.

Once the drink is mixed, you can have it straight away. You should cover any leftover drink and put it in the fridge and then use it within 24 hours.

Ideas for using powdered drink products

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2022.


Page reference: 155420

Review key: HIMWA-28082