Shopping Guide: Carewell's 5 Best Protein Shakes & Meals

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Mar 08 2024.

Woman drinking shake.

Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and strength. But if your loved one has nutritional challenges, like chewing or swallowing difficulties, protein-rich foods, like red meat, can be challenging to eat. 

Many family caregivers turn to protein shakes and pre-prepared meals to supplement their loved one’s protein intake, but with so many options available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To make things easier, we’ve created this shoppable list of our 5 best protein shakes and meals. 

Why Is Protein So Important?

Protein is an essential macronutrient responsible for building muscle. It also supports your immune system, provides energy, and transports oxygen in your blood. To prevent muscle loss, women need about 40 grams of protein per day and men need about 56 grams of protein per day, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Following these guidelines prevents muscle loss, but in older adults, it can also support mobility and reduce the risk of falls.

Who Should Consider Protein Shakes and Meals?

Your loved one might benefit from protein-rich shakes and meals if they have a medical condition that causes muscle loss. These conditions include:

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Malnutrition

Similarly, your loved one might need to consume more protein if they’re a wheelchair user or bedbound. Long periods of sitting or lying down cause muscle mass to decline, resulting in weakness and fatigue. Protein-rich shakes and meals can combat these changes and help your loved one feel their best.

How We Chose the Products Featured In This List

The protein shakes and meals featured below are a mix of our best-selling and top-rated protein products. Whenever possible, we’ve included real user feedback under the heading “Hear It From a User/Caregiver.” 

Carewell’s 5 Best Protein Shakes and Meals

1) Ensure Max Protein Nutritional Shake

Ensure’s Max Protein shake contains 30 grams of protein per serving (that’s over half the recommended daily value)! It’s formulated for those who need to gain weight, have a loss of appetite, or are recovering from illness. Family caregivers tell us that Max Protein is delicious straight out of the carton, but it can also be mixed with berries, bananas, or other fruit for a delicious smoothie. 

Key Benefits & Features

  • #1 doctor-recommended brand of protein shake

  • 25 vitamins and minerals per 11-ounce serving

  • Provides various health benefits, including, muscle mass support, immune-boosting, and bone and tissue repair

Hear it from a caregiver

“I rely on Ensure Max for the protein. It is delicious and adds the necessary nutrients to my diet.”

- Judith L. 

Ensure Max Protein Nutritional Shake
Ensure Max Protein Nutritional Shake

Calories Per Serving: 150

Protein Per Serving: 30g

Price: $12.95 - $40.27

Shop Ensure Nutritional Products

2) Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder

Orgain organic plant-based protein powder is one of our best-selling protein products. It has a smooth, creamy texture and comes in two delicious flavors –– vanilla and chocolate. Each serving contains 21 grams of protein to support muscle mass, 5-7 grams of prebiotics (for a healthy gut), and less than 1 gram of sugar. Cheers to that!

Key Benefits & Features

  • Great for your tastebuds and body

  • Can be added to drinks, like milk and coffee, or foods, like oatmeal

  • Made with clean, plant-based ingredients

Hear it from a caregiver

“Excellent!”

- Sandra M. 

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

Price: $19.98 - $30.49

Shop Orgain Organic Nutrition Products 

3) Nestle HealthScience Beneprotein Instant Protein Powder

Nestle HealthScience Beneprotein is made with 100% high-quality whey protein. It can be mixed into various hot and cold foods and beverages, or administered with tube feeding as a flush. Each serving provides 6 grams of protein, perfect for anyone recovering from an illness or trying to build muscle mass.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners

  • Only 25 calories per serving

  • Suitable for people 3 and older

Hear it from a caregiver

“I bought this as an additive for my husband's meals. He can only swallow foods that are liquid or pureed. This mixes in very well and has no taste whatsoever. The best part is that it adds much-needed protein to his food intake.”

- Margaret M. 

Nestle HealthScience Beneprotien Instant Protein Powder, 8 oz., 10043900284108, 1 Each
Nestle HealthScience Beneprotein Instant Protein Powder, 8 oz.

Calories Per Serving: 25

Protein Per Serving: 6g

Price: $19.78 - $114.36

Shop Nestle Nutritional Products

4) Tasty Bite Protein Bowl, Mediterranean Style  

Tasty Bite protein bowls are a fun, flavorful way to boost protein intake if your loved one can eat non-pureed foods. Each bowl contains 14 grams of plant-based protein and 16 grams of dietary fiber. The Mediterranean-style bowl is a customer favorite and features chickpeas, beans, carrots, couscous, and red bell pepper.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Microwavable; ready to serve in 60 seconds

  • 14 grams of protein per serving

  • Couples with a tasty citrus basil vinaigrette

Shop Tasty Bite Premade Meals 

5) think! High Protein Creamy Peanut Butter Bars

Need a protein-dense snack on the go? Try think! High protein bars. Each bar contains 20 grams of high-quality protein and 0 grams of sugar. The combination of creamy peanut and chocolate is perfect for satisfying dessert cravings or as a post-workout snack. 

Key Benefits & Features

  • Certified Keto by the Paleo Foundation

  • Delicious and nutritious

  • Low glycemic index; suitable for people with diabetes and heart disease

think! High Protein Creamy Peanut Butter Bars

Price: $41.49 - $86.49

Shop think! Nutritional Bars

Get Fast, Free Shipping & 30% Off with Autoship

It’s crucial you have the necessary shakes and meals on hand if your loved one requires a high-protein diet. Stocking your pantry with Autoship can help! We offer fast, free shipping on orders $49+. Enjoy 30% off your first Autoship order, and an additional 5% off each order of qualifying products.

Need Help Selecting Protein Shakes & Meals? Contact Us!

Adjusting to a high-protein diet takes time and effort. Contact us if you’re unsure where to begin. Our friendly Care Team is familiar with all of the products we carry and can make recommendations that align with your loved one’s needs. Contact them 24/7 by calling (800) 696-CARE or sending an email to support@carewell.com.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.