Boost or Ensure?

23 Apr

At our last meeting, a few dedicated SLUDA members had the opportunity to sample a few food products.  You can probably guess from the title that two of these items were Boost and Ensure.  These are two nutritional supplements that we are likely as RDs to recommend to patients during our career.  Should we know what these taste like if we are going to tell our patients to drink them?  You bet!

We also added in a bit of an odd ball pairing of hip food products, chia seeds and PB2.

Chia seeds are the latest super food.   These seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha linolenic acid (ALA).  How does chia compare to flax?  You do not need to grind the chia seeds, making it a bit easier to get those omega 3s.

As for the PB2,  I could not resist adding this to the list. PB2 is powdered peanut butter. Slow roasted peanuts are pressed to remove the oil.  The result is an all-natural powder with all of the delicious roasted peanut butter goodness but with nearly 85% less fat calories.  Crazy right?   For peanut butter addicts (you know who you are), this is a revelation.  PB2 can be eaten reconstituted in water (tastes a lot like peanut butter) or added to recipes, such as smoothies, which is what we did for the tasting.  We had a simple banana smoothie (supposedly the Best Chiquita Banana Smoothie recipe) so we could try both the PB2 and chia seed blended into it.   The smoothies were not a hit.  Perhaps it was the blending method (Robot coupe – see note about technical difficulties) or the recipe (sorry Chiquita) but quite a bit of the banana smoothie was discarded.

The highlight of the tasting was the comparison between Boost and Ensure.  Both nutritional supplements were chocolate flavored but not equal.  5 out of 6 SLUDA tasters * preferred Ensure.  Why?  Because Ensure tasted more like chocolate milk, of course!  Boost was described as chalky and malt-flavored.  The small number of tasters did allow for a bit of experimentation.  This included adding PB2 to the Ensure, resulting in peanut butter and chocolate together in a creamy drink.  Delicious.

Technical difficulties** aside, this was a fun activity.  We were a bit chaotic with our sampling but we had a small number of tasters.  With a larger group, it was suggested that we sample in an orderly fashion and discuss each item before moving on to the next.  This is a great idea!  Also, for simplicity, we kept the selection of food items small since it was our first SLUDA tasting.  However, with feedback like, “interesting”,  “fun” and “good idea”, this is an activity that should be repeated and with more variety!

Are there any new foods that you would like to try?  Send your suggestions so the SLUDA eboard can plan the next one.

*OK so we only had a total of 6 people tasting and it certainly was not a representative sample of SLUDA.

** The food lab blender is missing the rubber ring and, yeah, it is crucial that it be in place.  Instructions here:

Never seen PB2 or chia seeds?  Here they are.

PB2 Image


Chia seeds

Chia seeds


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