Fresh Food Tube Feeding
In addition to working with clients who eat by mouth, Lara also works with clients who are dependent on feeding tubes. In recent years, there has been increased interest in using fresh foods for tube feedings, rather than depending on mechanically processed formulas. Though this is an excellent initiative, it is very important for families to consult a Registered Dietitian prior to starting a blenderized diet. See our tube feeding tips below:
Is a Blended Diet Right for You?
In that, does the digestive system function properly? Typically, only those with gastrostomy tubes (G-Tubes) are good candidates for a blenderized diet, as jejunostomy tubes (J-tubes) bypass part of the small intestine required for absorption of many vitamins and minerals.
Does the Tube-Fed Person Have Any Food Allergies or Intolerances?
When starting a blenderized diet, it is important to start slow, especially with younger children. If a child has never had fresh foods before, it is important to introduce one food at a time over a few days to test for any reaction, just as you would with an infant. If the person has been on a 100% formula diet for quite some time, starting slow gives the body time to adjust to fresh foods. For those that have eaten orally before, try replacing one can of formula with one blenderized meal per day to start.
Be Mindful of Hydration Levels
Those on a 100% formula diet don’t typically need additional water considering it’s included in the formula. However, those on a blenderized diet often require additional water for proper hydration since the meals are more dense. Administer a few ounces of water 20-30 minutes before and/or after a blended meal to maintain proper hydration.
Consult a Dietitian
Finally, work with your Registered Dietitian to manage a blenderized diet. Keep track of everything you blend for a few weeks and monitor weight gain / loss, tolerance to feedings, bowel habits, and frequency of urination.
Contact Lara today to schedule a consultation for your tube fed family member.