I sometimes witness a debate in the blenderized diet community. The question is asked, “If a child has a feeding tube, is it ok to feed treats and desserts through the feeding tube?”
The answers I see to this question generally fall into one of two ways of thought:
- Having a feeding tube doesn’t change what a child can be fed. If a child would be eating treats and desserts orally, he/she can have them through a feeding tube.
- I want to take advantage of my child’s feeding tube by feeding the most nutritious and healthful diet possible. So, I would not waste calories on junk food since my child cannot taste the food anyway.
I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. I, like those that answer according to the second way of thought, wanted Bradley to have a super nourishing diet through his feeding tube. I saw his tube as something to take advantage of. On the other hand, feeding some special snacks and treats can normalize tube feeding for both the parent and child (as well as for the adult tube-fed person). And that is no small thing.
Eating food is an emotional process whether we want to admit it or not. Because of this, feeding our children brings about various emotions, too. A parent can receive joy from feeding his/her tube-fed child a special treat. It can also bring joy to children as well as they watch their family members enjoy indulging in a special treat and get to participate with them. All of these factors have value in and of themselves. Moreover, tube-fed people do sometimes taste the food they are being fed.
But, I also say, why can’t we have it both ways? Can we have special treats that also nourish the body? Why does a special treat inherently mean junk food? Does it have to? I don’t think it does.
I submit this chocolate-y, lemon-y brownie batter cake as my proof. I know, I know. That is one long name. But it is the best name for this cake. It’s texture is like an under-cooked brownie (and who doesn’t love those?). With a light chocolate flavor and a touch of lemon, the cake is divine. The lemon frosting finishes it off. Ever had lemon and chocolate together? Probably in most foods, this wouldn’t pass. But, if done right, it can be a delicious combination.
Check out the nutrition profile below. These babies are loaded with healthy fats, protein, fiber, and plant-sourced iron (this source of iron will not constipate like other forms do). While the cake portion isn’t as sweet as your typical brownie, the frosting brings the richness you want in a dessert. And with an ingredient list that is nothing to feel bad about and lots to feel good about, indulge! Blend a brownie up in a little dairy alternative, and let your tubie enjoy it, too.
Added bonus? These brownies are both gluten and dairy free, which many tube-fed people require. While many children living with motility issues have difficulty with banana causing constipation, such a small portion of banana ends up in each piece, I don’t think this would be an issue.
To make the batter,
- 1 medium banana
- 4 cups red beans, cooked (NOT kidney beans…actual red beans, typically found in Asian markets or onilne…if you cannot find red beans, you can replace with black beans, but note that the iron content will be reduced)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup date paste *(directions below at the end of the recipe directions)
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 2 cups old fashioned oats (not the quick cook kind)
- 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
- 1 cup dairy alternative
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a food processor, add the banana, red beans, maple syrup, date paste, cacao powder, cashews, coconut, and chia seeds. Process until relatively smooth, but will still be a little lumpy with some cashew pieces remaining. Set aside.
Add the oats, baking powder, and baking soda to your blender, and blend until ground into a fine consistency. Add this to a large mixing bowl. Empty the contents from the food processor into the mixing bowl as well, along with the dairy alternative and the lemon juice and zest. Stir until well combined. Transfer the mixture into the cake pan covered in parchment paper. It’s thick, so don’t worry about it being nice and pretty. Frosting will cover the top anyway! Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a sharp knife comes out clean.
*To make date paste, blend 1 cup of pitted dates with 1 cup of water until smooth. This is a great natural sweetener (I always keep some in the fridge) and a nice low volume boost for a blend.
For the frosting,
- 2 cups dairy alternative
- 5 Tbsp tapioca flour
- 6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup cashews
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
Directions: Wait until the cake is done and out of the oven before making the frosting. If you don’t, all is not lost, but this frosting will be more difficult to spread if left to sit. It is much easier to whip this up when the cake comes out of the oven and pour right onto the cake.
Add all ingredients to a high powdered blender (such as a **Vitamix or **Blendtec) and blend on high for several minutes until it thickens. You will hear a change in sound from the blender when it thickens. When you hear this, turn it off immediately and pour onto the cake, spreading it as needed.
**If you do not have a high powered blender, you will need to soak the cashews in very hot water for an hour prior to blending. Add everything to the blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium pot and heat over medium-heat, stirring often until it thickens (this will take some time).
Allow your creation to sit and rest for 30 minutes prior to serving. Yeah, I totally ate a piece before taking a picture of my cake. I have no regrets.
Makes 20 servings
1 serving =
- 177 calories
- 27 carbohydrates
- 5 grams fiber
- 7 grams fat
- 5 grams protein
- 3 mg iron