By: Nikki Nies
I’m grateful for the existence of nutrition shakes. I, personally, don’t drink them, but currently both my parents are getting the majority of their nutrition from the these drinks. While drinking your calories is always seen as a last resort to oral consumption, due to their circumstances, I’m glad Ensure’s available to them.
While Ensure’s my parents brand of preference, there’s many types and brands of nutrition supplements that are offered for many, if not, all circumstances. However, I’m using my parents choice of Ensure Plus as an example. Each Ensure Plus contains 350 nutrient-rich calories, 13 grams of protein, and 24 essential vitamins and minerals. It also contains omega 3’s, which are known to have heart protective properties.
Without Ensure Plus, I know my dad’s weight would never regain to where it is now and he would have remained undernourished. Undernutrition may be due to difficulty swallowing;fatigue; lack of motivation or desire to prepare meals; cognitive difficulties in remembering how to prepare nutritious meals and/or how to eat well or lastly nutritional needs may have changed with physical change and age.
Ideally, nutrition drinks should be used to “supplement” daily meals, not in substitution of meals. However, in my dad’s case, he can’t keep any physical food down, so Ensure Plus is the best next thing. For a while, my dad was drinking 4 Ensure’s a day, which equaled to 1400 calories. Although, ideal for a 6″ man, it was more than he had been eating for a while, believe me.
If you or a loved one has a hard time swallowing, keeping food down or needs additional calories and nutrients, first talk to a primary care physician about the use of nutrition supplements and then check out your local grocery store for nutrition drinks. It’s important to know how nutrition supplements can impact medication interaction as well. If approved by your physician, nutrition drinks are a great source of nutrition as they’re easily portable, may help maintain optimal health, satisfies need for added nutrition, limited empty calories and/or easily swallowed. My hope is that one day one or both of my parents will be able to eat real food, but until that day, I’m just glad we’ve got the access to Ensure Plus!