Nutritional Drinks or Powders for Cancer Patients

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Nutrition plays an integral role in treatment and recovery of cancer. The National Cancer Institute, or NCI, posits that chemotherapy, radiation and surgical procedures can be especially taxing on the individual, alter their taste buds and ruin their appetite for food. Some individuals require nutritional supplements to sustain muscle strength, healthy weight and to avoid malnutrition. The majority of the products used in this capacity will be protein enriched or high calorie. Experts at NCI advise that medical nutritional products only be taken under the care and supervision of a licensed health professional.


Beneprotein is a whey powder protein supplement manufactured by Nestle Nutrition. This product is generally added to beverages or milkshakes and can also be incorporated into many other recipes. This product is considered safe, although large amounts of protein can cause health problems among individuals that do not need it or use more than medically necessary. It is flavorless and does not alter the consistency of the beverage. Beneprotein servings can be adjusted based on level of need and increase protein and caloric intake to desired amounts. Nestle Nutrition strongly advises use under medical supervision only.

Carnation Instant Breakfast

Carnation Instant Breakfast, a division of Nestle Nutrition, is a powdered protein supplement used with cancer patients who may also eat table foods. This product is available at most retail outlets and grocery chains and does not necessarily require supervision by a licensed health professional, although it is recommended in the case of cancer nutrition. The powdered formula comes in a wide variety of flavors and has anywhere from 220 to 250 calories depending on selection and type of milk used. This product is enriched with 25 percent of the daily recommended B vitamins and protein, 50 percent of the daily calcium requirements plus 21 essential vitamins and minerals not otherwise specified. Carnation Instant Breakfast is also available with double concentrated protein and calories in liquid form available to medical professionals only. This product is lactose-free unless added to dairy products.

Powdered Power Milk

Powdered power milk is table milk with extra nutrition added. The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford defines this protein-fortified milk recipe as powdered milk added to whole milk. In an 8 oz. cup, it is beneficial to add 2 to 4 tbsp. of the powdered milk. For every 8 oz., 2 to 4 tbsp. adds 66 to 132 extra calories while giving it a protein kick with an additional 6 to 12 g. This formula can also be added to recipes from puddings, soups, sauces, gravies, ground meats and casseroles, to vegetable dishes, hot or cold cereals, milkshakes, yogurt and pancake batter.

Ensure High Protein

Ensure high protein is a ready-to-drink shake available at most grocery stores and pharmacies. Manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, Ensure high protein is available in many flavors, including wild berry, vanilla, banana cream and creamy milk chocolate. Most shakes average 12 additional g of protein and do not require mixing with a blender or additional fruit.

Hormel Solution Dry Mixes

Hormel Solutions has created a line of nutritional soft food products that have protein or calorie enhancements. For example, the No Bake Custard Dry Mix is available and gets added to water or milk for use as a soft food. This is important for cancer patients that exhibit swallowing problems or experience mouth sores from cancer treatments of the head and neck. This product delivers 8 g of protein, 230 calories and provides 25 percent of the daily recommended amounts of 18 vitamins and minerals.