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Is Carnation Instant Breakfast Healthy?

author image Meredith Hodgkinson
Meredith Hodgkinson has been writing since 2005. Her first published manuscript appeared in the "Jewish Outlook." Hodgkinson has a Bachelor of Arts in studio art, a Master of Education in exercise physiology and a Doctor of Philosophy in behavioral health, all from the University of Texas at Austin.
Is Carnation Instant Breakfast Healthy?
Close-up of chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast. Photo Credit: Feng Yu/iStock/Getty Images

Carnation Instant Breakfast has several healthful attributes. Drinking Carnation Instant Breakfast is certainly better than skipping breakfast completely. Added to milk, Carnation Instant Breakfast serves as a healthy beverage with a small breakfast. However, a breakfast entirely comprise of whole foods like boiled eggs, eggs prepared in olive oil, or other lean protein, skim milk, whole grain carbohydrate, one or more servings of fruit, and a multivitamin is healthier.

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Macronutrient Benefits

Carnation Instant Breakfast, manufactured by Nestlé, is low in calories: 130 calories by itself, and 220 calories when combined with 8 oz. of skim milk. Carnation Instant Breakfast has 5g protein by itself, and 13g protein combined with milk, approximately 25 percent of the daily recommended intake. Protein serves to slow the rise in blood glucose you experience after consuming carbohydrate. Carnation Instant Breakfast is low in fat and has no saturated or trans fat, both desirable attributes. Carnation Instant Breakfast does not contain artificial flavors or coloring. The most abundant ingredient is nonfat milk.

Micronutrient Benefits

Carnation Instant Breakfast with milk has significant quantities of essential vitamin and minerals: 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance for calcium, 25 percent RDA for iron, 45 percent RDA for vitamin A, about 25 percent of RDA for several B vitamins, and 50 percent RDA for vitamin C. If you do not care for taking vitamins in pill form, drinking Carnation Instant Breakfast and milk, along with eating some nutritionally dense, whole foods is a healthy way to meet your daily, nutritional needs.


Carbohydrate is the primary macronutrient of Carnation Instant Breakfast. By itself, Carnation Instant Breakfast has 20g sugar and 27g total carbohydrate. The second and third ingredients listed are sugars, indicating sugars are almost the highest quantity ingredients in the drink mix. Carnation Instant Breakfast is not a healthful choice if you have impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes. Because Carnation Instant Breakfast is low in calories, is consumed as a beverage, and contains less than 1g of fiber, you will likely be hungry soon after drinking it. In general, liquids empty from the stomach more quickly than solid foods. Fiber also slows gastric emptying, and increases and prolongs your feeling of satiety.


Carnation Instant Breakfast contains lactose and is manufactured using equipment that comes into contact with soy products. As a fairly healthful post-exercise drink, Carnation Instant Breakfast and milk, along with whole foods, adds nutrients and calories. For children who like chocolate milk, Carnation Instant Breakfast, rather than milk with chocolate syrup, is a more healthful beverage. If you are uncertain if your diet is meeting your nutritional needs, visit After creating a free account, you may input your daily food intake for an assessment regarding the healthiness of your diet.

Comparable Alternatives

Ovaltine, also manufactured by Nestlé, has similar nutrition information in terms of the composition, but has fewer calories, 80 calories per serving and 170 calories when added to 8 oz. skim milk. A quick and convenient, but more nutritionally dense alternative to either drink mix is a smoothie. Most smoothies contain two or three servings of fruit, 8 oz. of milk, and as an added supplement, approximately 25g protein, a nutritionally dense way to meet your micro- and macronutrient needs.

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