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Ensure Powder: Benefits, Uses, Taste, and More

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Ensure is a popular line of nutritional supplements produced by Abbott.

These products come premixed in a ready-to-drink liquid form.

The exception is a product in the Ensure lineup called Ensure Original Nutrition Powder, which as the name suggests, comes in a powder form that you mix yourself.

This article explains everything you need to know about Ensure powder, including its benefits, who it’s for, how to use it, price, and where to buy it.

ensure powder

What is Ensure powder?

Ensure powder is based on the premixed version of Ensure Original, a popular nutritional drink.

Other popular Ensure products include:

Ensure powder provides similar nutrition to the premixed drink, but it comes in a powder rather than a liquid.

One half-cup (57-gram) serving of Ensure powder provides:

  • Calories: 250
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 34 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams

Each serving also provides at least 10% of the daily value (DV) for 25 vitamins and minerals, making it a good source of these nutrients.

Like most Ensure products, the protein comes from soy and milk, but it is low in lactose, making it suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

Ensure powder comes in one flavor — vanilla — and one can size, which is generally sold in packs of 6, 16, and 24.

Each can of Ensure powder provides 7 servings.


Ensure powder is a nutrition supplement with a nutrition profile similar to Ensure Original, a premixed ready-to-drink supplement. Ensure powder provides a fair amount of calories and protein and is a good source of 25 vitamins and minerals.

Benefits of Ensure Powder

Ensure powder provides many of the same benefits as the Ensure Original drink since it’s based on the same nutrition formula.

Here are some of the primary benefits of supplementing your diet with Ensure powder:

Can support weight gain

Gaining weight requires that you consistently consume more calories than your body needs (calorie surplus).

This can be a challenge for people with high-calorie needs related to certain diseases, wounds, or infections, as well as for people with a poor appetite.

But centering snacks and meals around high-calorie foods can make it easier to get the calories in that you need to gain weight.

This makes Ensure powder a good option to supplement with or between meals since it provides 250 calories per serving.

Using Ensure powder can also make it easier to get more calories as a shake since liquid calories tend to fill you up less than solid calories, making it a great option if you have a poor appetite.

Can support healthy aging

Muscle mass and strength decline naturally with aging, contributing to falls and fractures, and loss of mobility later in life.

Getting adequate protein — in combination with regular weight training — is crucial to slow this age-related loss of muscle size and strength known as sarcopenia.

In fact, older adults require more protein than younger people to build and prevent muscle loss (1).

This is in part because the muscle-stimulating response to protein is blunted in older adults, meaning they must consume more to get the same effect.

Providing 9 grams of high-quality protein per serving, Ensure powder can help older adults get the protein they need to support muscle health and healthy aging.

Can support recovery from surgery

Ensuring adequate nutrition before and after surgery is crucial to enhance healing and recovery and decrease the risk of infections and malnutrition, especially in older adults (2).

The nutrition recommendations around surgery — known as perioperative nutrition — are primarily focused on increasing intakes of protein and carbs to enhance surgery outcomes (3).

Protein and carbs work in sync to support the body’s increased energy demands of surgery, reduce the loss of muscle mass and strength, and promote rapid healing and recovery.

Supplementing with Ensure powder can increase your intake of these nutrients to provide these benefits.

Can support overall balanced nutrition

Ensure powder can help support complete and balanced nutrition.

Most people don’t consistently get the nutrition they need from food to support optimal health.

This is where supplementing your diet with products like Ensure powder can be helpful since each serving provides at least 10% of the DV for 25 vitamins and minerals.

Ensure powder is also useful for increasing the protein in your diet.


Supplementing your diet with Ensure powder can support weight gain, healthy aging, recovery from surgery, and a complete and balanced diet.

Who can use Ensure Powder?

Mostly everyone can use Ensure powder, but it’s most beneficial for:

Beyond these populations and uses, you can use Ensure powder to supplement nutrients in your diet that you may be lacking like protein or certain vitamins and minerals.

Ensure powder is not intended for IV or parenteral nutrition or for people with galactosemia, a genetic disorder that affects how the body processes a simple sugar called galactose.

Ensure powder is not intended for children unless recommended by a doctor or registered dietitian.


Ensure powder is primarily designed to support healthy aging, promote weight gain, prevent unintentional weight loss, and manage malnutrition and poor appetite.

How to use and taste review

The product label recommends stirring in one half-cup (57-gram) serving with three-quarters cup of cold water until dissolved.

However, you can use less or more, depending on your preference for drink thickness. You can also mix the powder with milk to add more calories and protein.

Similar to any type of protein powder, you can use a spoon or small whisk to dissolve the powder into the liquid or use a shaker cup.

I tried Ensure with both water and milk.

It mixed well in both liquids, requiring just a few shakes in my Blender Bottle.

In my opinion, mixing a serving of Ensure powder tastes best with milk.

It has a smooth, creamy texture and tastes similar to the premixed Vanilla Ensure Original, offering a pleasant butterscotch taste with a vanilla bean aftertaste.

I didn’t try blending Ensure powder with other ingredients but you certainly could to fit your taste preferences and get more nutrition.

Here are some good foods to include in homemade shakes and smoothies, especially for weight gain:

  • fresh fruit like bananas
  • frozen fruit like berries
  • avocado
  • Greek yogurt
  • whole-fat milk
  • heavy whipping cream
  • quick oats (blend into a powder first)
  • peanut or almond butter

Here are a few recipes for high-calorie shakes and smoothies to which you can add Ensure powder.

It’s best to drink immediately after mixing, but you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

As a powder, its versatility extends beyond its traditional use as a shake — it’s also great for baking or adding to other foods.

Here are some ways you can use Ensure powder to get more calories and nutrition:

  • add it to pancake or waffle mix
  • mix in with oatmeal
  • use to bake homemade high-calorie bars
  • swirl into Greek yogurt
  • use it to fortify mashed potatoes and cream soups
  • mixed into your coffee

In whichever ways you decide to use Ensure powder, store the can in a cool dry place — no need for refrigeration — and use the contents within three weeks of opening.


The most common way to enjoy Ensure powder is by mixing it with water or milk, but there are several other ways you can use it, such as in homemade shakes and smoothies, mixed with oatmeal, or swirled into Greek yogurt.

Price, where to buy, and alternatives

Like most Ensure products, you can find Ensure powder on sites like Amazon or in supermarkets like Walmart, Costco, and Target, and retail pharmacy stores like CVS and Walgreens.

You can expect to pay between $10 and $14 per can or $1.43 to $2.00 per serving, but the price varies widely depending on where you live, shop, and pack size.

Unfortunately, due to supply chain shortages, Ensure powder is much more expensive than normal, costing around $25 per can on Amazon.

To this point, in trying to purchase Ensure powder, several of the retailers that would normally carry it were sold out, and from the sounds of it, for a long time, so I had to purchase it from Amazon.

It’s unclear if and when the shelves will be restocked with Ensure powder, so you may have to stick with purchasing it online if you want to try it.

However, the premixed Ensure Original shake is widely available as an alternative.

Otherwise, if you prefer a powder, Boost — the primary competitor of Ensure — makes a powder with a similar nutrition profile to Ensure powder.

You can find Boost powder on Amazon at a better price point than Ensure powder for $1.25 per serving.

Keep in mind that a basic whey protein powder can also serve as an alternative to Ensure powder if you’re goal is to boost your protein intake.

Protein powders like whey are concentrated sources of protein so most of the calories they provide come from protein, not carbs or fats like Ensure powder.

Though, unlike Ensure powder, protein powders usually aren’t fortified with vitamins and minerals.

If you decide that a protein powder is a better choice for you, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is a quality product.


Ensure powder usually costs $10–$14 per can or $1.43 to $2.00 per serving. You can find Ensure powder online but you may have a difficult time finding it in stores. Consider looking into alternatives like the premixed Ensure Original, Boost powder, or protein powder supplements.

The bottom line

Ensure powder is a nutritional supplement in powder form.

Each serving provides 250 calories, 9 grams of protein, and at least 10% of the DV for 25 vitamins and minerals.

Many people can benefit from supplementing with Ensure powder as doing so can support weight gain, healthy aging, recovery from surgery, and overall balanced nutrition.

Ensure powder mixes easily with water and milk but there are many other ways you can use it to get more calories and nutrition.

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