How to make blended meals

When I first created Tube Chic,  it was my intention to give readers a starting place to learn about various facets of living with a tube.  As I continue to develop this website,  for some subject matter, I have deliberately chosen to provide links to resources for learning, as these  are more complete than what I can provide.

Using a blended diet for tube feeding is something I stand staunchly behind, (and do for myself).   But, what I can share  is already out there on the internet.  I am not a blended meal pioneer. I learned from others, and you can too.  I feel it is better to steer my readers to sites that have a wealth of collective knowledge, than to attempt to write it all down here, myself.

That said, I would like to acknowledge that many of the “how to” instructions, whether they are written, or videos, tend to show a large batch, very nutritionally balanced way of creating blended meals.  As most of these resources have parents of children with feeding tubes as their main audience, this makes perfect sense.

However, with a high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blend Tec (I have a Blend Tec)  you can turn virtually any meal you would normally consume, into something that is the consistency (with added liquid) to consume via a g-tube.

If “pre-tube” you ate a lot of fast food (I don’t judge) or other prepared meals, you can blend those as well.  You don’t have to start from scratch and make this perfectly balanced food for yourself, unless you want to.

Does an omelet with green peppers, onion,  sharp cheddar,  and maybe some home fries tossed in, sound good?  With a high speed blender, you can have it!

Blendtec Mini WildSide jar in use.

Or… maybe it’s chocolate chip cookies with walnuts you crave…

While I was photographing the cookie blending process, I was sharing the kitchen with my younger son.  He was busy running the juicer, using lots of healthy fruits and  veggies  like organic beets, kale, ginger… I got a kick out of the contrast between what we were doing. (I also had some juice. He made sure of that haha).

With a powerful blender, you can still enjoy the foods you love.  Yes, you won’t have them orally, but taste is only part of the equation of the satisfaction food gives us.

*****

My blending has evolved over time.  When I first got my tube, I was appalled when I read the ingredients listed on the label of canned formula prescribed for me.  I set out to prove to myself, and any medical caregiver, that I could come up with a homemade formula with equal or more calories, equal or more protein,  very nourishing, that was thin enough to  gravity feed, and still only be an eight ounce serving.

I succeeded.

But,  there was no appeal to me to go through the trouble to make it–not that it was even that much trouble!  It held no “food” familiarity as far as its aroma, or appearance.  It looked blah, it smelled blah. It was nutritious, it was calorie packed, but it was not that rewarding to spend the time to create it.  It used hemp protein, and sprouted buckwheat, and blackstrap molasses, along with other “top” superfoods out there. I realized that a meal was so much more than the nutritional value of what I consumed.

I decided that if I was going to make tube food, I was going to make tube FOOD!

Next, I went the “big batch” route, making  nutritious blended meals, freezing portions of it, the whole nine yards, so to speak.

But, I have other physical limitations beyond not swallowing, and I grew overwhelmed with the task.  It seemed like all I did was make tube food, and I wanted more to my life than that.

So, now, some of my meals are  whatever I would have eaten for that meal in my pre-tube days, just blended up. I don’t do much large batch cooking and blending.  With the Blendtec WildSide Mini jar, blending just one or two portions is very easy.   Sometimes a meal is the tube fed person’s fast food — either a combination of baby foods, or a pouch of Real Food Blends, (both of these options don’t require a blender, but do require some hand stirring with another liquid to thin them).  Most  meals are what  I’ve always liked to eat, whether its a burrito bowl from Chipotle (makes two+ meals)  or my homemade Chicken Parm.

The power of  comfort food should not be discounted.  According to WikipediA, Comfort food is food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone, and may be characterized by its high caloric nature, high carbohydrate level, or simple preparation. The nostalgia may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture.

Some foods right off of the grocer’s shelf can be used without having a high speed blender, too.  Not only baby food, but canned solid pack pumpkin, canned sweet potato purée, and applesauce too.    I’m sure there are other foods, but those come to mind as I write this.

If you decide you’re going to just blend what you always ate before you had a tube,  keep an eye on your weight, and if you start to drop–or don’t gain if you’re supposed to be gaining–add more calories.  Healthy oils?  A fast way to get calories.  And, that canned sweet potato purée mentioned above?  Pretty much packed with calories too.  Smooth style peanut butter?  Yes–and no blender needed, just patience while stirring liquid into it is all it takes…  Prepared bottled protein shakes? YES!  There is one by Orgain (vanilla bean)  that the entire family loves. And it has all kinds of veggies in to too, not just milk protein, but everyone swears they can’t taste them. We get five cases delivered every month with our Amazon subscribe and save account.  Something like this takes absolutely no more effort to use that it does to open a carton or can of formula.  And it is exponentially better for us.

One of the best websites to find just a wealth of information on making blended meals is the Real Food for Real People website.  Here is a link to their website.  They also have a Facebook group.

http://www.foodfortubies.org/

MORE RESOURCES:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Adulttubefeeding/  (This group talks about a lot of things, not just blending meals.  There are several very active members who are blending pros, and happy to help out.

Courtney@SavorLifeNutrition.com

http://www.cookingfortubies.com/

 

The following is taken from a blog post by a dietitian  in 2011  I particularly like this part of what she wrote:

Let’s look at commercial stuff: corn syrup, isolated milk or soy
protein and canola oil. Let’s say you go to your doctor and tell
him/her that you are going mix up these ingredients, add a
vitamin-mineral supplement and drink it every day and eat nothing else.
Does that sound healthy?

To read the entire post, follow  the link below.

http://marybethbutler.typepad.com/terrapin_station/2011/12/thoughts-from-a-dietitian-on-blenderized-meals.html?cid=6a00d8341c7c8e53ef0154386eb885970c

 

RECIPE BOOKS:

 

The link below is for a new recipe book (as of 2017) for making blended meals:

The title is “Nutritional Food Blends Healthy, Easy Recipes For Tubies”,  written by Penny Werner.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692818944/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

This is the link to Penny’s website: http://www.nutritionalfoodblends.com/

 

The following recipe book  is  only available as a Kindle edition.

https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Tubies-recipes-blenderized-including-ebook/dp/B06X9BV4KL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488895612&sr=8-1&keywords=tube+feeding+recipe+book

 

This next book (I  have not personally explored) was the only one, other that Eric’s book, containing  recipes, available on the market until recently.  I do believe that this is geared toward nutrition  for babies and children, more than adults.  It focuses on formula construction rather than blended meals.

This is the link on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Homemade-Blended-Formula-Handbook-Marsha/dp/0692651241/ref=pd_sbs_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0692651241&pd_rd_r=SQQBR8C38RP694JVAGDV&pd_rd_w=uZuwR&pd_rd_wg=NWnoA&psc=1&refRID=SQQBR8C38RP694JVAGDV

 

Below are some very helpful videos.

The reason I led with a video on using scales, and going by weight instead of volume, is because this is a method that will allow you to be many more times accurate in calculating nutritional value. In countries other than the US using weight rather than volume measurements is much more common, but, here for those of us living in the USA,  this may be a less familiar  method to some.

 

Notice in this next  video, that the caps used for bottles are the Dr Brown replacement caps.  I love those things!  They never ever leak.  I purchased them, along with the glass (and plastic) evenflo bottles, when I first started on this feeding tube adventure,  and have never regretted it.   (Donated all of the nipple and ring assemblies)   However, the evenflo bottles do not have a wide enough diameter to fit a 60 ml syringe down into, but, the Nuby brand do.  Nuby seem to be only available in plastic.  I will add photos and shopping links at a later time.

 

Here is another  how- to video: