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Nutrition and Cancer: Recipes for High-Calorie Drinks

Cancer treatments can cause side effects that make it hard to eat. Sometimes dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or mouth sores cause eating problems. At other times there may be a general lack of interest in food. If you have eating problems, you may need to eat high-fat, high-calorie foods to maintain your weight or cool foods such as milkshakes to cope with such side effects as mouth sores.

The following recipes for high-calorie shakes and drinks may help you manage some of the nutritional issues cause by cancer treatments.

Recipes for high-calorie shakes and drinks

Calories per serving

Chocolate peanut butter shake

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

  • 3 tbsp. chocolate syrup

  • 9 oz. chocolate ice cream

Blend in blender.


Peaches and cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 cup canned peaches

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

Blend in blender.


Orange carrot smoothie with ginger and dates

  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots

  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 3 pitted dates

  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal

  • 2 ice cubes

Blend in blender until smooth.


Classic breakfast shake

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk

  • 1 packet instant breakfast mix

  • 1 cup ice cream

Blend in blender.


Banana milkshake

  • 1 whole ripe banana, sliced

  • A few drops of vanilla extract

  • 1 cup whole milk

Blend in blender.


Orange sherbet shake

  • 1 cup orange sherbet

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Blend in blender until smooth. Chill before serving.


High-protein milkshake

  • 1 cup fortified milk

  • 2 Tbs. butterscotch, chocolate, or fruit sauce

  • 1/2 cup ice cream

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Blend in blender


Protein-fortified milk

  • 1 quart whole milk

  • 1 cup non-fat instant dry milk

Blend in blender. Chill. Makes 4 servings

Use instead of regular milk.


There are high-calorie drinks that come ready-made. They are available online and in most grocery stores and pharmacies. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any problems controlling side effects or eating enough calories. 

Let your healthcare provider know if you have any problems controlling side effects or eating enough calories. Nutrition is important to maintain your strength and heal. You may see a dietitian who can help you with any eating problems you might have. A variety of resources and ideas are available to help you manage your side effects and maintain a healthy diet.

Online Medical Reviewer: LoCicero, Richard, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2023
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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