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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23 thoughts on “Homemade, Dairy Free, All Natural Nutrition Shake: Homemade Dairy Free Pediasure

  1. I am an adult tubie so I do not use Pediasure but I do talk with a lot of Mom’s of tubie little ones. I have written your recipes down so that I can share this with them. I also plan to make these for myself knowing I will be drinking a nutritious shake instead of a sugar laden regular shake. I will, of course provide credit information to you each time I share it and direct them to your site. I know this will help many get on the road to better health ! Your hard work to help the tubie population is incredible, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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  2. This is fantastic, thank you! Can i use hemp powder? If so, how much please? Looking forward to the hluten free version so i can share a smoothie with my little one. 😃

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    1. I don’t have experience with hemp powder, but I would compare it to the nutrition found in whole hemp seeds and exchange it calorie for calorie. 1.5 Tbsp of hemp seeds has 85 calories.

      I assume you are referring to powdered whole hemp seeds. Hemp protein powder would not have an equal nutrient exchange.

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  3. Can i ask why you say use immediately? I would love to be able to send this into school as a tube snack for my son, but it would be made 3-4 hours before using.

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    1. Hi Natalie!

      I recommend serving immediately because I have found the wheat germ begins to have a very strong taste after it sits for a few hours, and it is doubtful a child would be willing to drink it. However, I do give it through my son’s tube a few hours after making it (he drinks a little and I put the rest in the refrigerator to give via the tube later), and he has never had a problem with it. So, I believe if it’s all going through the tube, giving it a few hours later should be fine!

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  4. Hello! I’m excited to see if my 15 month old will drink this. I’m worried about consistency though. Will it go through a straw? Can I add more water to help it go through a straw? Thanks!

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  5. Would it be possible to save until the next day? Or make ahead and freeze? I’m a crazy busy mommy and I would love to use this but I can’t make it every time I need to 😢

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  6. My daughter is on nectar thick liquids only! Could I add more honey to make this more natural and thicker? We have simply thick packets but I try to avoid using those if I can!

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  7. What’s the reason for using hemp seeds and wheat germ? Do they have different benefits?

    Also, should I be using the unhulled hemp seeds?

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    1. Hi Maria, hemp seeds are a great source of omega 3s, complete protein, and iron. The wheat germ offers a nutritious and low volume source of carbohydrates that won’t thicken the beverage too much. I hope that answers your question!

      Like

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