Feeding Tube Nutrition: Making Your Own Blenderized Foods
For people who rely on a feeding tube, meals usually come in the form of standard canned enteral nutrition (EN) products. But these pre-formulated products can be expensive; contain allergens like corn, milk, and soy; and are full of unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup, maltodextrin, and sugar. Improve feeding tube nutrition by making your own blenderized foods.
With today’s high-performance blenders, the foods that most people eat every day can be turned into meals that work for use in a feeding tube — the result is known as home enteral nutrition (HEN).
Reasons for Making Your Own Blenderized Foods
There are many reasons to make your own food for use in a feeding tube.
1. Canned EN products are expensive and are usually not covered by insurance. Making blenderized foods at home can save money.
2. There is a lot of packaging waste with daily cans and boxes to dispose of, some of which may not be recyclable in your area. Making your own foods reduces unnecessary packaging waste.
3. Enjoy cooking and sharing meals with family again. Preparing meals together which can be shared together can bring joy back to mealtimes.
4. Improved bowel regularity. The fiber and micronutrients found in freshly prepared homemade foods are good for overall gut health.
5. Reports and research found that tube-fed children tolerate blenderized foods better than standard EN formulas.
How To Make Blenderized Foods
High-speed and commercial-quality blenders such as the impressive Cleanblend Smoothie and Soup Blender work best. Break or cut larger pieces of food into chunks along with enough liquid to create a smooth texture. If there are any small chunks or seeds, you can strain the final mixture. Any foods with strings, seeds, or thick skins may potentially clog the tube. If mixture is too thick to easily pass through the tube, it can be thinned further with water, broth, or juice.
Be sure to follow standard food safety procedures, especially with those who are immune-compromised. Wash hands before preparation. Clean any fresh fruits and vegetables to remove any soil or contaminants. Store any unused blended foods immediately in the refrigerator. Clean all syringes and tubes thoroughly after use.
Feeding Tube Nutrition
There are many online sources for blenderized diet recipes, but for individuals with specific nutrition needs, it is best to consult with a registered dietician or nutritionist who can customize a specialized diet and monitor nutritional progress.
When transitioning from a canned formula to blenderized meals, it is best to replace only one food at a time to watch for any intolerance or digestive issues.
For nutritional guidance, the USDA maintains the MyPlate healthy eating guide. This website covers nutritional topics like making healthy nutritional choices and recommended serving sizes. The USDA also has the free National Agricultural Library’s Nutrient Database which provides nutrition information for thousands of foods.
Improved feeding tube nutrition is possible by making and preparing your own meals for home use. Not only is this a practical way to incorporate healthier foods, but it can also save money over expensive prepared canned formulas. Always discuss home-prepared blenderized foods with your healthcare professional before getting started.
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This information is not medical advice and is certainly not intended to replace the advice or attention of your personal physician or other healthcare professional. Therefore, consult your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or starting a supplement program.