Homemade, Dairy Free, All Natural Nutrition Shake: Homemade Dairy Free Pediasure

I have a big announcement. Bradley, my son, after suffering from a severe oral aversion since infancy, has begun eating a little by mouth! We still have a long journey and most of his nutrition is still being received through his tube, but I’m having all kinds of fun making him plates of various foods.

As he receives feeding therapy, an issue has arisen that 17500363_10154286759952414_153910625_ohad left me torn. Children with feeding disorders are often encouraged to drink supplemental nutrition shakes such as Abbott Nutrition’s Pediasure Grow and Gain. First, my son cannot have Pediasure regardless of whether I was comfortable with him drinking it because it contains milk, which he is allergic to. Second, I cannot bring myself to feed my son a product like this every day even if he were to consume a dairy free version.

It has far too much sugar. Abbott and companies making similar products have gotten away with making their products appear to have less sugar by using maltodextrin as a sweetener. While this isn’t technically “sugar,” it impacts the body in a very similar way. This means almost all of the 33 carbohydrates in a single serving of Pediasure comes from sugar or a sugar-like ingredient. Children are recommended no more than 16 grams of these kinds of sugars per day. A single can of Pediasure far exceeds that limit.

The oils in Pediasure are also not healthful. Basically everything in this product is either unhealthful, synthetic, or both. Even the fiber in Pediasure is not natural, but is a synthetic fiber. Natural fiber is so important for feeding and maintaining a healthy gut flora, which affects the health of nearly every system in the body. Pediasure simply does not provide this.

I don’t want to give this product or others like it to my son, and I had to believe there was a better way to make a nutritious beverage to supplement his diet that was tasty, low in sugar, and all natural that could pass through the tiny holes in a sippy cup. It is also important that it can pass through a feeding tube since he is drinking very little and will need to receive the rest through his tube for now. As I searched the internet for homemade Pediasure recipes, I found horrific recipes filled with ice cream, juice concentrate, sugar…all in the same recipe! I don’t see how this could be any better. Just…no.

17475321_10154286759897414_871069271_oBut, I get it. Many parents struggle with kids behind in growth and weight gain, and they are desperate to get their child to pack on the pounds. I know multiple parents that have their children drink Pediasure every day, but state that they hate doing so and desire something better. And now I have found myself in the same boat, wanting an alternative to the traditional nutrition beverages. Also, as a tubie mama, I know how much we want our children to experience some normalcy regarding feeding. It is fun to make a tasty treat even if it is entirely tube fed. Our tubies deserve tasty treats, too!

And I have good news! It is definitely possible to make a nutrition shake for your child that is tasty and has a very similar nutrient profile to Pediasure. In the recipes below, you will find the same flavors offered by Pediasure so if your child has a favorite, you can easily replace it with this homemade version. It has similar amounts of calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and iron. It has dramatically more fiber (even more than the Pediasure Grow and Gain with Fiber), and it has dramatically less added sugar and sugar-like ingredients (only 25% of the amount you’ll find in Pediasure). It’s quick and easy to throw together. If you are concerned about vitamins and minerals, add a multivitamin of your choice. After all, added synthetic vitamins are all you will find in Pediasure, so this is in no way a negative of using these recipes in the place of Pediasure.

Alright, I’ll quit rambling on and get to the recipes! Please note, this is NOT intended to be used as a meal replacement. This is intended as a beverage to supplement your child’s diet, whether your child eats orally or via a feeding tube.

For comparison, here is the nutritional information for Pediasure Grow and Gain, vanilla flavor found on Abbott Nutrition’s website:

  • Calories: 240
  • Fat, g: 9
  • Carbohydrate, g: 33
  • Dietary Fiber, g: Less than 1
  • Protein, g: 7
  • Iron, mg: 2.7

Homemade Vanilla Nutrition Shake:

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve. For a chilly, icy beverage, peel and freeze the banana in advance. Serve immediately.

  • 1/8 cup homemade or canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1.5 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Calories: 242
  • Fat, g: 11
  • Carbohydrates, g: 27
  • Fiber, g: 3.5
  • Protein, g: 7
  • Iron, mg: 2.5

Homemade Banana Nutrition Shake:

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve. For a chilly, icy beverage, peel and freeze the banana in advance. Serve immediately.

  • 1/8 cup homemade or canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1.5 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Calories: 289
  • Fat, g: 11
  • Carbohydrates, g: 39
  • Fiber, g: 5
  • Protein, g: 8
  • Iron, mg: 2.75

Homemade Chocolate Nutrition Shake:

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve. For a chilly, icy beverage, peel and freeze the banana in advance. Serve immediately.

  • 1/8 cup homemade or canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1.5 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/2 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Calories: 289
  • Fat, g: 11
  • Carbohydrates, g: 39
  • Fiber, g: 5
  • Protein, g: 8
  • Iron, mg: 2.7

Homemade Strawberry Nutrition Shake:

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve. For a chilly, icy beverage, peel and freeze the banana in advance. Serve immediately.

  • 1/8 cup homemade or canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1.5 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 5 large strawberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Calories: 267
  • Fat, g: 11
  • Carbohydrates, g: 33
  • Fiber, g: 5
  • Protein, g: 8
  • Iron, mg: 2.8

Homemade Berry Nutrition Shake:

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve. For a chilly, icy beverage, peel and freeze the banana in advance. Serve immediately.

  • 1/8 cup homemade or canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1.5 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Calories: 257
  • Fat, g: 11
  • Carbohydrates, g: 30
  • Fiber, g: 4.5
  • Protein, g: 7
  • Iron, mg: 2.7

 

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