Nourishing and supplementary drinks

If you are not eating well or have lost weight you may need to include nutritional or high-energy supplements in your diet. These will help you maintain a good nutritional intake.

A wide range of products is available, from nourishing drinks which can be bought over the counter to those which need to be prescribed by your doctor.

More detailed information about the different types of nourishing and supplementary drinks – including brand names and recipes – can be found in the Eating Well booklet or by contacting the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

Nourishing drinks

There are many high-energy drinks available in the supermarket such as milk shakes and smoothies. Some drinks are fortified with vitamins and minerals. These are a good choice if you have a poor appetite. For example:

  • Build Up is available in sweet and savoury flavours. The sweet flavoured drinks are mixed with milk. Add ice cream to make a thick milk shake. Build Up soup is easy to make by just adding boiling water.
  • Complan is available in sweet and savoury flavours and is mixed with milk or water.
  • Nutriment is available in sweet flavours from most large supermarkets.

Nutritionally complete or supplementary drinks

While you are in hospital or attending a clinic, your doctor or dietitian may prescribe special liquid nutritional supplements. These drinks may be taken in place of food or in addition to your usual meals. They are available in a wide variety of flavours and as milk shake-style drinks or juice / squash supplements.

Your dietitian will advise you how many liquid nutritional supplements you need to consume each day.

Energy supplements

Energy supplements are available as powders or liquids and can be added to both food and drinks. Ask your dietitian for advice on how much to use each day.

Find out more

Further information can be found in this section of the website and in the Eating Well booklet