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Making blended meals to feed via g-tube is not really complex. I am convinced that anyone can do it! Putting effort into the nutritional value of blended meals is just like putting effort into the nutritional value of our own meals. I strive to feed my family meals containing lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and good proteins. Very often I can take the leftovers of a family meal and blend them up into a meal for my 13 year old daughter, who is tube fed. I’ll add more leafy greens or whatever I feel is needed to balance out the leftovers.
Today I am experimenting with escarole and quinoa.
Endive is the cousin of endive. They have very similar (identical?) nutritional profiles.
All leafy greens contain anti-oxidants which are thought to be important for best health and cancer prevention.
Escarole and endive also contain calcium, Vitamins C, A, Calcium, Phosphorus and Iron, Thiamine, and Niacin.
Escarole and endive have a slightly bitter taste to them and I don’t normally like that kind of taste, so I haven’t served these greens to my family in the past. Well, Natalie is my guinea pig! Of course, she will not actually taste it, but her blended meals will familiarize me with escarole and then putting it in a salad is just one step away!
Today’s recipe also includes broccoli. I have advised against broccoli in the past because it is a cruciferous vegetable. These vegetables tend to produce varying amounts of gas in people. I have blanched the broccoli, enough to break down the crunch-factor a bit, hoping to reduce the gas production. It seems that ingestion of digestive aids, like pineapple, papaya, and perhaps lemon juice or vinegar can help the body in the processing of these vegetables. I have not found any studies that support this, however.
Back to the recipe: I’ve mentioned quinoa before and I really like this “grain”. It is actually a protein AND a relative of leafy greens!
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 c. cooked broccoli
1 c. liquid used to cook broccoli, or more as needed for consistency
1 c. water
2 c. escarole
½ c. walnuts
1 c. fresh pineapple (or canned in its own juice)
Blend and refrigerate. Feed as you usually do for any other blended meal.
Quinoa has 250 calories in 1 cooked cup.
Pineapple has 149 when including the juice
½ c walnuts has 91 calories
The broccoli has 50 calories, tomato probably only 10 – 20, escarole only about 20. So we are getting a total of approximately 600 calories for 7 – 7.5 cups when the air is slowly blended out. That means it is only 10 calories/ounce. By adding ¼ c. olive oil to the recipe, we add only 4 ounces, but 480 calories, bringing it up to … let’s see 1080 divided by 64 = 16.875 calories/ounce. Still a bit on the lean side, but very healthy. Olive oil is a good fat, and no offense, but your brain is about ⅔ fat, and needs fat in order to, believe it or not, maintain the correct electrical conductivity of the cells! Olive oil’s main component is monosaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid is one of the most common fatty acids in myelin: the proective sheath the covers communicating neurons in the brain. Drink up! ;D
Perhaps this recipe is a once-a-day recipe, as opposed to a three-times-a-day recipe. Finding protein sources (like quinoa) other than meat has been established as a very smart health practice. I will be working on more quinoa recipes in the days to come. One of them is for me – I found a recipe for a quinoa, salad greens, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon salad. Sounds great, doesn’t it?! Come on over for lunch!
In the world of home-made blended meals for g-tube, there are a wealth of options! Generally I avoid foods that will thicken too much or become glue-y, as well as cruciferous vegetables. Recently our family had a wonderful salad with parsley, feta cheese, red onions, garbanzo beans, cucumbers, toasted pita bread and a lemon juice/olive oil dressing. I blended this up for Little Miss and added red kale and cooked ground beef. It worked very well. The cheese did not cause any problems whatsoever.
The added benefit was the joy of feeding our girlie-girl the same thing we were eating and being able to do it on the spot.
Keeping an open mind to possibilities as we feed our kids makes it all easier and less stressful. At least that’s my experience.