Ways to make Ensure more palatable?


Hi everyone,

Well, my 88-yr-old father is now installed in our home and the transition was pretty smooth. But he's a very sick man, and has almost completely lost his appetite. I'm a good cook, and he'll pick at solid food, but the dr. says we've got to get more calories into him somehow--and he needs more protein. I got some Ensure and mixed it with ice cream, but he says it's too sweet (often complains of things being too sweet).

Does anyone have any tips about how to make Ensure more appealing? (I tasted a spoonful and it's pretty ghastly).

Thanks for your help!

Comments (7)
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I like the Vanilla with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of almond extract in it. That seems to cut the sweetness. Also, it needs to be cold. I have also used rum extract. I don't like it as well as the almond, but it's better than plain. He might like the rum flavor better.

Maybe he just finds it too thick for easy swallowing???? Maybe thin it down a little with some milk before adding the flavoring.

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I'm someone else who hates things too sweet, so I can sympathize! Mother liked Ensure, but hated the chocolate flavor. She tried them all, and liked the Butter Pecan best. So do try all the flavors.

And if you are just worried about calories, and not nutitional value (and I wouldn't worry about that), start taste-testing ice cream, try fruit smoothies, things made with whole yogurt (not the flavored kind) that can be tangier.

Find out what he really does like.

I wouldn't like Ensure either, but you'll need to be creative. Flavored, processed foods can be so sweet as to make my teeth itch. Better to try blender combinations of your own, where you can control the sugar added. And real sugar isn't as sweet as the high fructose corn syrup used in everything these days.

You can also try the Cooking Forum----there is some real creativity over there.

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If his appetite is poor there is a drug that can improve appetite. My mom who is in rehab right now has started taking it. It has really improved her appetite, she is eating a lot more.

Perhaps you can talk to his doctor about it.

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I used vanilla for my dad and would blend it with strawberry flavor and gingerale.

Years later when my mother became bedridden, she was unable to drink ensure or boost. Hospice suggested a great alternative and a much better tasting one -- carnation instant breakfast.

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When my parents had an undiagnosed infection, they didn't eat. Their old-fashioned doctor knew if they weren't eating, something was wrong...and there always was.

Today if you don't show labs, you don't get treated...even if you walk in with a bloody foot full of pus and weeping sores, sounds gross but true. For those that lend themselves to lab diagnostics, at least 30% of us will loose diagnostics such as fevers and high white cell counts as we age.

How do you tell what's wrong? You need a good doctor...which is few and far between and now only available to the super rich.

Chest X-rays and just plain old common sense go quite far. Prostitis is common in elderly men and rarely shows up in an urine sample. Often bladder infections and prostrate infections are only apparent in men of any age after they have been scoped.

Look for swollen glands. Elderly people rarely communicate how lousy they feel like youngsters do when they come down with strep throat.

And as far as making Ensure taste better...nothing is going to make that crap taste better.

Your father needs calories. Try a milk shake made with Breyers and organic whole milk. For more protein add Carnation Malted Milk Powder, it's made with whey ... which is protein packed. Then if he needs a multi-vitamin, give him a multi vitamin. Don't force him to drink his multi-vitamin liquified in milk tasting of an aluminum can and full of artificial flavors also known as Ensure.

Those whipping wands work wonders...no blender mess. Target sells a Kitchen Aid blending-mixing wand thing-a-ma jig that will be an overall asset to your culinery kitchen processing skills, its worth the extra money.

To round out dad's milk shake...broil him a peanut butter sandwich. Get some good bread, low in sodium, high in nutrition like Manitowoc Ovens white and good low sodium organic peanut butter, spread your peanut butter thick, thick, thick on a slice of bread (you may at this point add sliced banana to your mixture for a broiled skabanana sandwich). Place some foil on a cookie sheet, place your slice of peanut buttered bread on
the cookie sheet in the second from the top rack setting(not the top). Broil the open-faced sandwich until the peanut butter browns and begins to blacken. Cut any hardened crusts off and gently scrape off any charred peanut butter. Add dad's favorite jelly, a good grown-up tasting jelly is black currant jelly, usually found in gourmet sections of your supermarket.

Put on a paper plate and let dad eat it with a knife and fork while he sips on his shake/malt. The peanut butter and milk make a complete protein with all the essential amino acids...and it tastes good.

Rinse your blenderwand under hot water (or boiling water from a kettle), toss the foil, recycle the paper plate and you are done. Now..don't forget that vitamin.


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thanks everyone, all good suggestions!

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Barbara Metsa

I have two ideas that work . I make white sauce , also called bechamel sauce. Using ensure , flour , real butter and curry powder. Can use to make chicken or tuna casserole . Or with chopped hard boiled eggs, or can add cheese and put over anything ,macaroni or broccoli . Or toast.

Also, can use to make jello , 3/4 cup hot water , jello powder , 3/4 cup ensure. In a mason jar with a lid.

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