Many children cannot tolerate solid food or can only eat small amounts each day. Liquid supplements can help provide the necessary calories. The following is a sampling of the variety of supplements that can be purchased at pharmacies or grocery stores. If you are unable to locate a particular brand, your pharmacist may be able to order it for you:
• Sustacal. Lactose-free liquid. Flavors are chocolate, vanilla, eggnog, and strawberry. Also comes in a high-protein or extra-fiber formula. (Mead Johnson)
• Sustacal Pudding. Sustacal in pudding form. Flavors are chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch. (Mead Johnson)
• Sustacal HC. Concentrated liquid. Flavors are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and eggnog. (Mead Johnson)
Ensure. Lactose-free liquid. Flavors are chocolate, vanilla, black walnut, coffee, butter pecan, banana, and strawberry. Other formulas are high protein or extra fiber. (Ross Laboratories)
Ensure Plus. Concentrated liquid. (Ross Laboratories) Isocal. Lactose-free liquid. Vanilla. (Mead Johnson) Enrich. Liquid with fiber. Lactose-free. (Ross Laboratories)
Instant Breakfast. Powder, which is added to milk. Variety of flavors. (Carnation)
Citrotein. Powder, which is added to water or juice. Orange flavor. (Doyle Pharmaceutical)
Polycose. Liquid or powder. Powder is added to milk, juice, gravy, or soups. Adds carbohydrates for extra calories. One tablespoon adds 30 calories.
Myoplex Lite. Nutrition shake. A liquid that is added to water and a little ice and mixed in a blender. It comes in a variety of flavors, including orange, pina colada, and banana cream pie, as well as chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. (EAS, Inc.)
We tried all the high-calorie drinks: Pediasure in three flavors, Boost, and Scandi-shake. The one that Emily would drink is called Nutrashake (tastes like melted ice cream and can also be eaten frozen). Of course Pediasure and Boost are available over the counter. We had to get Scandi-shake (a powder that you mix with milk) at the hospital. I had to do some research to obtain the Nutrashake. It comes frozen, and Kroger grocery stores carry it. Since there were no Krogers near us, I finally found an outfit called American Medical Supply that would ship it.
The home heath agency I worked for did a study on the nutritional content of Ensure, Sustacal, and Carnation Instant Breakfast. All were basically the same, with Carnation much more palatable. The other two have a bit of a medicinal smell and taste to them. You can add calories by throwing it in a blender with ice cream, bananas, or strawberries. My other two non-cancer kids loved this stuff. Mandy would "sip" a tiny bit but would rather eat the spicy food: bologna, Polish sausage, or tomatoes drowning in Catalina dressing. Reeses peanut butter cups were breakfast for a long time (7 grams of protein!).
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Although nobody gets a parenting manual or bible in the delivery room, it is our duty as parents to try to make our kids as well rounded, happy and confident as possible. It is a lot easier to bring up great kids than it is to try and fix problems caused by bad parenting, when our kids have become adults. Our children are all individuals - they are not our property but people in their own right.