Are there alternatives to Commercial Nutrition Supplements?

April, 2017

Commercial nutrition supplements will always have their place in residential aged care facilities to help promote optimal nutritional status in those residents who are managing very little variety in their diet and are unable to maintain their weight through food intake.

However, there are strategies your facility can implement to help control costs with no disadvantage to residents.

Fortify meals with milk powder.

Nutrition supplement powders such as Sustagen Neutral, Advital, Proform and Ensure Powder are beneficial if residents have very little variety in their diet and need a boost in nutrients along with kilojoules and protein, however for those residents who merely need a boost in kilojoules and protein the addition of milk powder to their meals instead of a commercial supplement will be highly beneficial at a low cost.

As you can see from the summary below, milk powder is very comparable in protein and kilojoules to commercial supplement powders. The following is based on a 60g serve.

  • Proform – 15g protein and 944kJ
  • Sustagen Neutral – 14g protein and 955kJ
  • Enprocal – 28g protein and 1200kJ
  • Milk powder 16g protein and 1230kJ

Strategies for incorporating milk powder in to meals can include:

Add 1 tablespoon to breakfast cereals, milks, mashes vegetables, sauces/gravies, soups, custards, yoghurts, puddings.  Try to aim for 1tbsp 3 times daily.
Butters, oils, cheese and cream are other products that are high in kilojoules that can be added to the resident’s meals to help encourage weight maintenance/gain.

High energy, high protein milkshakes.

Instead of relying on Sustagen, Ensure or another commercial supplement for those residents who need an energy and protein boost to their diet, it can be more cost effective for a facility to make their own drinks.


  • 1 cup skim milk powder
  • 1L full cream milk
  • 350g vanilla ice cream
  • 150g flavouring


Mix all   ingredients together with a barmix until smooth.  Leave to settle as it is frothy once made.  Serve cold.

Makes approximately 1.6L

Two Cal/ml supplements such as Resource 2.0, Two Cal and Novasource 2.0 remain beneficial for those residents who are unable to consume the volume of liquid required from other drinks to be of benefit.

Other strategies to boost the kilojoules and protein of a resident’s diet could include:

  • Add lentils or beans to stews, soups, casseroles
  • Fry meats, fish and chicken in oils
  • Add milk powders, cream or cheese to sauces and gravies
  • Add cream, yoghurt or milk powder to creamy pastas, beef stroganoff etc.
  • Make porridge on milk.  Add extra milk powder or cream
  • Serve fruits with ice cream or custard
  • Enrich milk with extra milk powder (for use on cereals, milkshakes)
  • Spread butter/margarine thickly on toast
  • Add butter/margarine/cream to vegetable
  • Use mayonnaise/avocado on sandwiches
  • Encourage yoghurts, custards, cheese and crackers, milk shakes for snacks.
Dietitians Australia

Don’t let your residents or budget experience the side effects of malnutrition or dysphagia.
Call us on 1300 850 246 or email and request a call back.

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