When people start tube feeding, most are given orders recommending commercial formulas that are tailored to their specific dietary needs. However, people who rely on tube feeding can make blenderized formulas at home with the guidance of a registered dietitian.
Homemade formulas are a great option for some tube-fed patients. Patients can customize formulas for personal taste preference and can be more affordable than commercial formulas.
A blenderized diet consists of pureeing real food (i.e. fruits, veggies, carbs, protein and fats). Foods that are then fed via feeding tube.
Here are some tips for creating your own blenderized formulas for tube feeding:
- Start slowly
Commercial formulas are specifically designed to provide you with all of the nutrients your body needs. A slow transition is important when making your own formulas to ensure that you are meeting your nutritional needs.
- Work with a dietitian!
Working with a registered dietitian will still allow you to have leverage over taste preference. But will help ensure that you’re receiving the proper nutritional and caloric requirements for your body.
- Invest in a high quality blender
While you definitely can use a cheap blender for a blenderized formula diet, investing in a high quality blender can save you time and will last longer than a cheaper alternative. By using a high quality blender, you won’t have to strain the puree which can cause you to lose some valuable fiber.
Some high quality blender brands, such as Vitamix, offer discounts to individuals and families who can prove that they use their blender for medical reasons.
If you’re interested in finding out if you’re eligible for a discount on a Vitamix High Performance blender, visit this page for more information.
- Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed
Making formula for a blenderized diet can be time consuming! It can feel overwhelming at times. It’s okay not to be a superstar formula chef right off the bat, it takes time and practice to learn the ins-and-outs of making homemade formula.
- Canned fruits and veggies are more affordable
Oftentimes, recipes for blenderized formulas call for either fresh fruits and vegetables or for baby food. Fresh produce and baby food can be expensive, but can easily be replaced by canned produce. Canned produce will provide you with the same nutrients, but at a less expensive price.
- Be sure to thoroughly puree food before feeding and thoroughly flush tube after feeding
If the food is too thick and not pureed enough, it will result in a clogged tube (which no one wants to deal with!) Be sure to flush the tube properly and thoroughly after use. If the tube does get clogged, don’t freak out — there are many techniques that will help you unclog it.
If you need some tips on unclogging a feeding tube, click here for some helpful tips.
For more information on tube feeding or personalized blenderized diets, visit http://www.rbitzer.com/ to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian.
Contributions to this blog from Ivy Devadas, dietetic intern.