Super shake recipes

Three smoothies on a table surrounded by fruit

Packed with protein and calories, these shakes can help you keep up your strength during cancer treatment

Calories from food are essential for meeting your body’s energy needs and maintaining a healthy weight. During cancer treatment, your calorie needs may increase. Unfortunately, at the same time, you may find yourself eating less than usual due to the side effects of your treatment.

This may lead to unintended weight loss, which could affect the way your body tolerates treatment. You might find it helpful to drink high-calorie shakes to provide your body with enough protein and calories.

To make your own shakes and maximize calories, use whole milk (or lactose-free substitutes) or liquid nutrition supplements, such as Boost or Ensure, as the base liquid for your shake.

Add-ins — for example, Greek yogurt, dry milk powder, ice cream, nut butters and avocado — can also give your homemade shake a calorie boost. Blend in frozen fruit and add other ingredients, such as honey or chocolate syrup. If you don’t feel up to drinking the whole shake, split it into two or three smaller servings, and try drinking it in between meals.

Below are a few basic recipes that can be tweaked based on your preferences and how you are tolerating different foods. For each recipe, add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Orange sherbet shake

1 cup orange sherbet
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup frozen berries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Makes about 2 cups; 380 calories, 26 grams of protein

Fruity shake

1 cup whole milk
½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit
2 tablespoons honey

Makes about 2 cups; 430 calories, 20 grams protein

High-calorie milkshake

½ cup ice cream, smooth, any flavor
1 cup whole milk
1 scoop whey protein powder

Makes about 1 1/2 cups; 380 calories, 28 grams protein

Chocolate peanut butter shake

½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
½ cup chocolate ice cream

Makes about 1 cup; 750 calories, 7 grams protein

Pineapple orange fluff

¾ cup pineapple Greek yogurt
½ cup orange sherbet

Makes nearly 1 cup; 225 calories, 14 grams protein

Classic breakfast shake

½ cup whole milk
1 cup ice cream
1 package Carnation Breakfast Essentials

Makes about 1 1/4 cups; 340 calories, 11 grams protein

Have more questions?

Our nutrition team can play an important role in your care — before, during and after treatment. 

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