Feeding someone via g-tube for medical reasons is most typically done via “formula”, for instance Pediasure, Enfamil, Ensure. When we take just a MOMENT to see what all the food experts recommend, it is clear they believe whole foods are better than supplements. Getting our nutrition from the actual foods we eat, as opposed to a “formula” is recommended everywhere I look. I have yet to hear a single nutrition expert say “Go buy a bunch of Ensure and drink that every day for best nutrition. And give your kids Pediasure… much better than the food at the grocery store.” So I continue to believe feeding my g-tube dependent daughter blended meals, rather than “formula” is best for her. By blended meals, I mean taking actual food, blending it in my super-duper blender and giving it to her through her tube.
It isn’t necessary that we turn blended meals into a fancy formula, or detailed recipe, or anything that complex. Think of all the toddlers running around, growing, sleeping, laughing, and learning who survive on cheerios, applesauce and grilled cheese sandwiches who REFUSE to eat any vegetables! I would guess that most of the people who are tube-dependent for nutrition have some overarching medical condition that necessitates the g-tube. Those medical conditions may require avoiding certain foods. Those medical conditions may have something to do with a fragile digestive system, so consult a physician first!
If your tube-dependent person can have real food, then a blended meal is certainly a possibility! Don’t stress over doing it “exactly right”. There is no such thing. We do not eat exactly the same things, same amounts, same nutrients every day ourselves. Our hunger waxes and wanes, our cravings wane. Some days I am desperate for lots of green food! Some days, I can tell I need more protein. This is true for tube-dependent people as well.
Generally, however, there are ratios we can follow for proteins, fats, and carbs:
Protein: 25 – 35% of total calories
Carbohydrate:s 40 – 50%
Fats: 20 – 30%
With carbohydrates at 40 – 50% it will take more than green veggies or fruits! This is where grains and beans come in. More on this next post, plus a new recipe!