The 5 Best High-Calorie Nutrition Shakes & Meals on Carewell

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Mar 08 2024.

Mother and daughter at park.

Certain health conditions, like cancer and malnutrition, cause rapid weight loss and fatigue. Eating a high-calorie diet helps combat these and other symptoms, by boosting energy and making it easier for your loved one to gain weight.

Since many of the families that we serve face nutritional challenges, we stock a variety of healthy food and beverage options. One of our most popular categories is high-calorie nutrition shakes and meals. These products contain higher-than-average calorie counts to support your loved one’s unique nutritional needs.

What Are Calories?

The word “calorie” refers to the amount of energy a specific food or drink provides. Calories come from macronutrients, like carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and contribute to various bodily processes.

Generally speaking, adult females need to consume 2,000 calories a day, while adult males need to consume about 2,500 calories per day. However, certain health problems can cause rapid weight loss, increasing calorie consumption needs. 

Who Should Consider High-Calorie Nutrition Shakes and Meals?

Your loved one might benefit from high-calorie nutrition shakes and meals if they have a medical condition that causes rapid weight loss. These conditions include:

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Type 1 diabetes

  • Cancer

  • Celiac disease

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Eating disorders

Similarly, your loved one might need to consume extra calories if they’re recovering from surgery, have open wounds (like pressure sores), or suffer from a mental health condition like anxiety or depression. 

Because being underweight increases the risk of more serious complications, like anemia, fatigue, and nutrient deficiencies, taking action is essential. High-calorie shakes and meals prevent weight loss and support your loved one’s unique nutritional needs. 

How We Chose the Products On This List

We carry several types of high-calorie nutrition shakes and meals at Carewell. Below, we’ve created a shoppable list featuring our highest-rated and best-selling high-calorie products. When possible, we’ve also included real user feedback under the heading “Hear It From a Caregiver/User.” 

Carewell’s 5 Best High-Calorie Nutrition Shakes & Meals

1) Boost Very High Calorie Nutritional Drink, Chocolate 

Boost high calorie nutritional drink is formulated specifically for people who need to gain or maintain weight because of illness or undernutrition. Each shake contains 530 calories for energy and 22 grams of protein to maintain lean muscle mass.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Gluten-free, Kosher, and suitable for lactose intolerance

  • Provides 26 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and D, zinc, and iron

  • Can be served as a meal replacement, meal enhancement, or snack

Hear it from a caregiver

“My nephew was drastically losing weight after being on antibiotics for over four months. He lost his appetite completely. After three weeks he has gained 6 lbs his body is starting to fill out again. And he loves the taste which is always a plus.”

- Deborah D.

2) Duocal High Calorie Oral Supplement

This high calorie oral supplement is specially formulated for children, but family caregivers tell us it benefits underweight adults, too. Duocal contains a special blend of carbohydrates and fat, without minerals, vitamins, or protein. The formula is flavorless and can be mixed into soft foods and drinks. Alternatively, it can be used for tube feeding.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Contains 492 calories per 100 grams of powder

  • Contains 22.3 grams of fat and 72.7 grams of carbohydrates per 100 gram serving

  • Dairy-free, protein-free, and Kosher

Hear it from a caregiver

“My child is having feeding issues and this is really helping get some calories and some of the carbs and fat she is missing out on while we are trying to figure out this problem. I’m so grateful for this product and I will be making more purchases in the future.”

- Ronnie C.

Duocal High Calorie Oral Supplement, Unflavored
Duocal High Calorie Oral Supplement, Unflavored

Price: $36.99 - $242.92

3) Naturade Weight Gain Powder 

Naturade Weight Gain Powder is formulated for underweight adults. It’s a calorically dense meal replacement that magnifies calorie intake so your loved one gains weight fast. The formula contains three enzymes –– papain, bromelain, and pancreatin, and doesn’t have any stimulants or steroids.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Enhances the body’s utilization of nutrients

  • Boosts calorie absorption

  • Adds up to 1600 calories daily, while safely supplementing your loved one’s diet

Hear it from a caregiver

“[My loved one] needs to gain weight due to chemo/radiation [and] cannot eat solid food easily. This is an excellent alternative as it provides high caloric intake plus [the] vitamins & minerals needed.”

- Danny W.

Naturade Weight Gain Powder
Naturade Weight Gain Powder

Price: $21.59 - $22.67

4) Ensure Plus, Nutritional Shake 

Ensure Plus is specially formulated to boost energy, increase strength, and support weight gain. It comes in three flavors –– vanilla, milk chocolate, and strawberry –– and contains 350 calories per serving. Family caregivers say it’s great to have on hand if your loved one needs to gain or maintain weight.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Each serving contains 16 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals 

  • Great tasting

  • Gluten-free and suitable for those with lactose-intolerance

Hear it from a caregiver

“I was an RN for 38 years. When my husband started losing weight, I turned to Ensure Plus. He really likes it and now looks forward to breakfast and his afternoon snack. Buying it by the case and having it delivered to our home is a lifesaver for me!”

- Janet Y.

Ensure Plus Nutritional Shake, Bottle
Ensure Plus Nutritional Shake, Bottle

Calories Per Serving: 350

Price: $14.88 - $62.41

5) Hi-Cal Oral Supplement 

Hi-Cal is manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, a leader in innovative nutrition products. It has a mild vanilla flavor and provides 475 calories per 8-ounce serving. The formula isn’t suitable for tube feeding, but it can be used to supplement or replace your loved one’s meals and snacks.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Contains 18 essential vitamins and minerals

  • Kosher, halal, and gluten-free

  • Suitable for patients with lactose intolerance

Hi-Cal Oral Supplement

Price: $56.13

Get Fast, Free Shipping & 30% Off with Autoship

Finding specialty nutrition products, like high-calorie shakes and meals can be challenging. To make the process easier and more affordable, we offer fast, free shipping on orders $49+. Signing up for Autoship makes it easy to ensure you have everything you need to help your loved one gain or maintain weight. Enjoy 30% off your first Autoship order, and an additional 5% off each order of qualifying products.

Questions About High-Calorie Nutrition? We’ve Got You!

Seeing your loved one lose weight is stressful and heartbreaking. But high-calorie nutrition products can provide peace of mind and reduce the risk of potentially serious complications. Contact us if you need help choosing high-calorie nutrition products. Our friendly Care Team is here for you! 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.