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Drink to your health: Choose fluids that meet your nutrition needs

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It is important to drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. The type of fluids you choose can also help you meet your protein and calorie needs. Protein helps your body heal. Calories give you energy and help you gain or maintain weight.

♦ Diabetes-friendly

Note: For lactose-free choose “lactose-free” cow’s milk products or plant-based options.

Fluids with protein and calories

Choose these most often if you have lost weight, have problems eating, or need more protein.

  • Cow’s milk ♦
  • Chocolate/hot chocolate cow’s milk
  • Soy or pea milk ♦*
  • Chocolate/hot chocolate soy or pea milk
  • High-protein milk (recipe below) ♦
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, milkshakes
  • Smoothies with added protein ♦*
  • Cream soups (made with cow’s, soy, pea milk or high-protein milk) ♦*
  • Soup with meat, fish, poultry ♦
  • Soup with dried beans, peas, or lentils ♦*
  • Specialty coffee drinks (e.g. Frappuccino)
  • Ovaltine, Horlicks, Milo (made with milk)
  • Yogurt drinks (e.g. Yop)
  • Plain kefir ♦
  • Flavoured kefir
  • Eggnog (store-bought)
  • Nutrition supplements, like:
    • Boost, Ensure, Boost Fruit Beverage, Scandishake, or generic/store brands 
    • Boost Diabetic, Resource Diabetic, Glucerna

Fluids with calories

These fluids have calories but no protein.
  • Almond, rice, oat, hemp, coconut milk ♦*
  • Smoothies with no added protein (e.g. Bolthouse Farms fruit smoothies)
  • Juice, fruit nectar *
  • Frozen juice bars, popsicles *
  • Fruit punch, lemonade, sweet iced tea *
  • Fruit syrup with water *
  • Tea or coffee with sugar and milk *
  • Gatorade, Lucozade *
  • Carbonated drinks (pop) *
  • Vitamin water *
  • Drink crystals with water (e.g. Kool Aid) *
  • Sherbet *
  • Jell-O

Fluids with no protein and no calories *

Choose these most often if your weight is stable, you have a good appetite, and you eat enough protein.
  • Tea, coffee
  • Water, ice chips
  • Broth, consommé
Sugar-free (diet) drinks (e.g. diet pop, diet juice, sugar-free Koolaid, sugar-free Crystal Light, G2, sugar-free Vitamin Water)


High-protein milk 

Makes 1 cup (250 ml)
1 cup (250 ml) has 244 calories, 17 g protein


  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole 3.25% milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) skim milk powder
Place in covered container and store in fridge. You can make this in bigger batches and use it like regular milk in recipes and to drink.

High-protein milkshake

Makes 1 ¾ cup (425 ml)
1 cup (250 ml) has 272 calories, 12 g protein


  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole 3.25% milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) skim milk powder
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) ice cream or sherbet
Add one of these to change the taste: vanilla, almond, lemon, or orange extract, instant coffee, chocolate or strawberry powders or syrups, canned or fresh fruit, peanut butter, maple syrup, or jam.

High-protein coffee

Makes 1 cup (250 ml)
1 cup (250 ml) has 117 calories, 9 g protein


  • 1 cup (250 ml) coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) cream
  • Sugar or honey to taste

Then stir in:

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) skim milk powder

Note: This is not a full list of brands or products. The Odette Cancer Centre does not recommend one brand over another and is not responsible for any products listed.