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When I looked at the ingredients on my son’s g-tube formula, my heart sank. Real food was missing. I researched a blended diet – also termed blenderized diet – for my tubie, acquired a blender, and never looked back. That was more than three years ago and it was the right decision for our son. Switching from formula to a blended whole foods diet can be daunting! Here are 21 tips for a g-tube blended diet to help you through the process.
How to Get Started:
Purchase a professional-grade blender. Our amazing blender is going strong after 3+ years of heavy use (you can purchase it here)!
Assess your goals. Do you need a diet low in sodium, high in calories, high in protein, etc.?
Figure out your caloric goal for each feeding.
Remember that taste is important. Although tube-fed people eat differently, they can still experience taste! Don’t put together a blend of items you would never eat together orally.
Variety is key! Offer different combinations of fruits, vegetables, grains and meat, as your tubie’s needs allow. Provide them with varied nutritional content and flavor.
Tips to add more calories:
Prepare grains with broth, organic apple juice or coconut milk.
Use full fat coconut milk – the super thick milk that you purchase in a can.
Sautée vegetables in oil before blending.
Add a tiny splash of grapeseed oil for extra calories.
Flax, hemp and chia seeds all offer extra fiber, protein and calories without taking up much space.
Amaranth is an ancient grain that is surprisingly high in calories (purchase it here)!
Things to Avoid:
Blueberries will coagulate in a blend that is not used immediately.
Chia seeds also thicken a feeding, so use in moderation.
Seeded items may not blend entirely and can clog a g-tube or extension (i.e. strawberries, raspberries).
Ground beef is extremely high in fat, even when drained and rinsed, and may clog tubes or extensions.
Make feedings in bulk and freeze in individual portions.
Defrost overnight the night before.
Portion out medications or vitamins ahead of time.
How to Store Feedings:
Quart-size freezer bags lie flat in your freezer.
Squeasy collapsible silicone food storage is easy to transport and 60 mL syringes fit in these bottles (click here to purchase).
Stackable glass containers offer great alternative to those avoiding plastics.
Moving from formula to a blended diet may be overwhelming in the beginning. It takes time and a little planning, but soon becomes a new routine! When you’re short on time and low on feedings, you may be able to blend what the rest of the family is eating. Our son has had bacon and eggs for breakfast on numerous occasions – through his g-tube, that is!
Interested in some of the blends that we make? Stop by later this week for a few of our recipes!