Natural Constipation Remedies

Constipation. Chances are, if you have a child with a feeding tube, constipation is an issue you are quite familiar with. Many children require a feeding tube because they have low tone muscles or problems with motility. These issues also make constipation a chronic issue. Bradley has always struggled with constipation due to motility issues caused by 2 bowel surgeries he required as a baby. It can be very frustrating!

What works miracles for one child’s constipation may do little to nothing for another child’s. So, there is indeed a process of trial and error in figuring out what will work with your child. While some kids do require intervention with medication, many children do wonderfully using a more natural approach.

The good news is that there are lots of natural foods to try that can greatly help with constipation (and a few of these suggestions help with diarrhea as well!). The list below is a compilation of suggestions* by fellow tubie mamas from around the world, and I hope the answer for your child can be found in this list! Of course, many of these ideas can be used simultaneously.

Water

I know, this seems incredibly obvious. But, one of the25552641_10154965889377414_172985583_o first questions to be asked if a child is constipated is whether the child is receiving a sufficient amount of water to move stool. Some children require a little extra water to keep things moving. So, step one, unless there is a medical reason not to do so, increase free water a little and see if that helps.

All of the remedies listed below ultimately work because they hold water in the bowel resulting in a softer, easier to move stool. If there is not enough water being given, however, these remedies will not work and will actually cause constipation to worsen as they will make the stool very hard and difficult to move through the bowels.

Fiber…or not

Fiber gives stool bulk, which helps with moving it through the bowels. Giving a high fiber diet with extra water can be a game changer for many children. It also feeds the good bacteria in the gut, which further helps with constipation. However, this is not true for everyone, and extra fiber can actually have the opposite effect and worsen constipation for children with specific issues. Some children with low muscle tone simply cannot move a lot of fiber through the gut. Therefore, when increasing fiber, I always recommend doing so slowly to give the gut time to adjust and to test whether this will be a solution or a disaster.

Foods like blueberries, spinach, cabbage, kale, dates, cherries, kiwi, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, and quinoa can help with constipation by providing higher fiber.

Prunes

The simplest solution for many children’s 25530519_10154965889347414_1883888157_oconstipation is prunes. Prunes are both rich in fiber and high in sorbitol, which is a natural laxative. Sorbitol holds water in the bowel, which results in a softer, easier to move stool. For Bradley, I blended prunes at a ratio of 2 prunes to 3 ounces of water and gave a serving equal to the 2 prunes daily followed by an additional 4 ounces of water. For example, I’d make a large blend of 20 prunes and 30 ounces of water and freeze this into 10 portions. I would then give one portion along with an additional 4 ounces of water.

This worked beautifully for him. However, adding prunes to his blended food did nothing to help. Prunes worked most effectively when given with plenty of water on an empty stomach. I have heard the same from many parents, although some children do just fine with prunes simply added to their blended food.

Some people prefer to use prune juice. I personally prefer whole prunes because the fiber of the prunes is retained. But, if you like the prune juice and it is working, go for it! Some have also had success with apricot juice, pear juice, apple juice, and white grape juice.

P Foods

P is for Poo! And it’s also for foods that help kids poo. Pears, pumpkin, peaches, prunes, and papaya added to a blend can help create a softer, easier to move stool. Some children do much better with a blend of these foods for their servings of fruit for the day.

Ground Flax Seed

Flax seed has a high amount of mucilage. This means when soaked in water, it forms a gel-like compound that helps move stool through the bowels. Components of flax seed can also reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, which can greatly improve digestive health overall. 25530471_10154965901512414_1180806796_o

Our bodies are not able to digest whole, unground flax seeds because we cannot break down their outer shell. Therefore, flax seeds need to be ground prior to consumption to experience their full benefits. It is far better to purchase whole flax seeds and grind them just prior to consuming. The healthful oils in flax seeds quickly oxidize and go rancid after grinding, which means many wonderful benefits are lost.

Grinding flax seeds is actually quite easy. Simply place the seeds in a dry blender container or a coffee grinder, and they will quickly grind to a fine powder. I consume ground flax seed in a daily smoothie. I place whole flax seeds in the dry blender first without adding anything else. I turn on the blender to grind the seeds into a powder and then add the remaining ingredients for the smoothie. Try a tablespoon of ground flax seed daily.

Ground flax seed can actually help with diarrhea as well because of the bulk it gives to stool and its anti-inflammation properties.

Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses (which is different than the regular molasses we use in baking) contains magnesium and other minerals that help with motility, which in turn helps with constipation. Blackstrap molasses also happens to be a great source of iron. Try giving a tablespoon per day.

Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil

1 tablespoon per day mixed with warm water can keep things moving.

The Poopinator

This is a recipe developed by a fellow tubie mama blogger, and many have had great success with it. Check it out!

Coffee

Obviously, this is a suggestion for teenagers and adults, not children. Caffeine does help get things moving as it stimulates the bowels and can be a great help when used in moderation.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds form a gel-like compound, much like ground flax seed. They also contain oils that help reduce inflammation, which will help digestive health. Like flax seeds, chia seeds can help with both constipation and diarrhea because of the bulk they give to stool and their anti-inflammatioin properties.

Probiotic Foods

Fermented foods are great for digestive health for most people. You can make your own fermented vegetables or make your own kefir. I plan to do a post on fermented vegetables soon! Because so much gut bacteria can be lost during episodes of diarrhea, probiotic foods are also very important and helpful for most people struggling with diarrhea as well.

Turmeric

Turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory food. Keeping inflammation down in the gut will greatly improve digestive health and overall health. It’s good stuff! The anti-inflammation properties of turmeric can also help some people struggling with diarrhea.

Psyllium Husk

Now that Bradley is on a low FODMAPS diet, he basically cannot have a single food listed above. This is because foods that often help with constipation are difficult to break down in the gut, which is why they retain water in the 25530600_10154965889307414_659386840_obowel so well. This attribute also means they feed gut bacteria very well. This is wonderful if your child does not have a bacterial overgrowth as feeding the gut flora can vastly improve digestive health. However, it’s horrible if your child does have a bacterial overgrowth since these foods will feed the excess bacteria and allow them to reproduce all the more. Ack!

Fear not. If your child is struggling with a bacterial overgrowth due to slow motility and also struggling with constipation due to the slow motility, there is indeed a solution. Psyllium husk is the outer husk of a seed used to grow an herb (mostly in India). The seed actually isn’t particularly special from a nutrition standpoint. The husk, however, is extremely high in a soluble fiber that does not feed gut bacteria. It forms a gel that is easy to move through the bowel and has worked fabulously at managing Bradley’s constipation issues. I have also read that psyllium husk is a keto-friendly food for those on a keto diet.

I mix 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk whole flakes into 6 ounces of water (no need to blend…simply stir into the water) and then flush with 2 ounces of water. I give the husk and water mixture immediately after mixing simply because it becomes a little more difficult to pull up with a syringe after it has sat for a few minutes (though certainly is still doable).

IMPORTANT NOTE: psyllium husks swell slowly in water. If your child is going to consume psyllium husk orally, use extreme caution as the husks can swell in the throat, causing a choking hazard. Always use plenty of water if using orally and allow it to fully expand prior to oral consumption. Because Bradley is in the early stages of learning to eat, even though he can eat smooth purees, I only give psyllium husks through his feeding tube to avoid this potential danger since swallowing is a skill he is still developing. If your child has any difficulty swallowing, I strongly recommend giving the psyllium husks via the g-tube.

Non-Food Suggestions

I always recommend starting with food first. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to try non-fresh food solutions. Moms have recommended Fruit-eze, Natural Calm Magnesium, Senna Tea, Oxypowder, Smooth Move Tea, Magnesium, and Natural Calm.

*Always research thoroughly and discuss with your child’s medical provider, especially if your child is on medication. Even natural solutions can be problematic for people living with certain conditions or taking certain medications.

 

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The Power of Plant Foods

Not much to write as I feel this video says it all. I hope my son’s amazing story inspires you to see the possibilities even if your situation feels impossible.

Coming Soon!

It has been a life long dream of mine to write children’s literature. I am extremely excited to announce that dream is becoming a reality. In early 2018, I will be releasing my newest book, “The Adventure of Tom Turnip.”

In this story, filled with beautiful illustrations, Pumpkin, a magical fairy, takes Tom Turnip on an exciting adventure to 3 lands. During his journey, Tom Turnip learns that foods that grow from the ground are the very best foods to be found. He then saves the beloved creatures he met on his journey. At the end of the book are recipes for every food Tom Turnip discovers on his adventure that children can make with their parents. There is also a parent resource section written by an experienced feeding therapist about strategies to increase the variety of foods eaten by young children.

This book is the first in a whole series centered around teaching children to love to eat whole plant foods and is inspired by my son, Bradley, who lives with a feeding disorder. I’m thrilled and can’t wait to share it with you!

Follow my author page on Facebook to watch for updates!

TT

Lettuce Wraps

Holy moly, are these lettuce wraps good! 24203722_10154922288177414_1714394678_nBoth nutritious and delicious, loaded with plant foods, and bursting with flavor, you can’t go wrong  with these babies. The sauces are just a tad on the spicy side, so you may want to skip them for any tubies with sensitive tummies. However, the meat mixture blended with some romaine lettuce and a bit of brown rice can make for a wonderful blended meal.

This recipe definitely require a food processor or, at an absolute minimum, a chopper. Otherwise, you’re going to have a lot of needed chopping on your hands. With a food processor, you can whip these up pretty quickly.

Ingredients run through a food processor:24172434_10154922288252414_999600766_n

  • 1 lb bag baby carrots
  • 1 8-oz can bamboo shoots
  • 1 8-oz package mushrooms
  • 7 garlic cloves (run through the processor with the mushrooms)
  • 1 large bunch green onions (with only the little “hairy” end cut off before processing)

Other ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 8-oz can diced water chestnuts
  • 2-inch piece ginger, grated
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp Thai chili sauce (found in Asian section at the supermarket)
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Brown rice
  • Spicy Lime Ginger sauce (see recipe below)
  • Pineapple chili sauce (see recipe below)

24204716_10154922288287414_867069463_nBrown the turkey in a large skillet. When it is thoroughly cooked, drain the grease and add the ingredients that were run through the food processor. Then, add the water chestnuts, ginger, soy sauce, orange juice, chili sauce, peanut butter and honey/agave nectar. Let it simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes until the veggies are tender. If there is still too much juice, let it cook for a little while longer.

Serve this filling with the lettuce leaves. On the side, serve brown rice to add to the wrap and the spicy lime ginger sauce and pineapple chili sauce to top the filling (inside the wrap) or to be used as a dip for the wrap. I like to top my lettuce wraps with both sauces. You can also serve these with chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, chili sauce, peanut sauce…or make a concoction of your own!

To make the ginger lime sauce, stir the following ingredients into a bowl:

  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 inch piece ginger, peeled, grated
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • Juice squeezed from 3 key limes

Don’t get lazy and use store bought bottled lime juice for this recipe. You will pay for it in taste. Use freshly squeezed lime juice and your taste buds will thank you! Chop some limes in half and give them a good squeeze.

To make the pineapple ginger sauce, put the following ingredients into a blender:

  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce (found in the Asian section of the supermarket)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp dried crushed chili
  • 1 cup fresh, chopped pineapple (substitute with canned, if needed)

Blend all this together for 1-2 minutes, pour into a serving bowl and it is ready to go.

The volume this results in will really depend on how well the veggies are chopped and how long you cook the mixture. So, I can’t give a per cup nutritional analysis of this recipe. However, below, you can find the nutritional information for the full recipe of the meat mixture. Simply measure how much volume it produces and divide the information below by the number of cups to determine the nutritional information per cup. I recommend blending about 1/2 cup of the mixture with 1 romaine lettuce leaf, 1/4 cup brown rice and a liquid of your choice.

  • Calories: 2,270
  • Carbohydrates: 137
  • Fat: 103
  • Protein: 210

Enjoy!!!

Low FODMAPS Diet

I feel like I have experienced a miracle for a second time. Bradley picAnd I need to tell the world. As you can read here, a blenderized diet was life changing for Bradley. That was our first miracle. He has thrived on a blenderized diet for 2 1/2 years now, and the majority of the problems he was experiencing on formula disappeared as soon as the formula disappeared. But, one problem had remained in spite of changing from enteral formula to a blenderized diet: excessive air in his tummy. And it had been gradually getting worse for quite some time.

I have asked so many doctors what to do. Nothing that was tried helped. Bradley has a nissen fundoplication, which complicates this problem all the more because he cannot burp. Air was building up again and again and again and again every day. It had increased to the point that I was pulling 40-50 ounces of air per day out of his tummy via his G-tube and that was on a good day. Some days, it was substantially more.

This air would cause terrible nausea for Bradley. Thankfully, after pulling the air out, he would feel better right away. A couple doctors told me this really wasn’t a problem, then, since pulling the air out relieved the nausea. Just vent as needed, they said. No problem. Um, no. No one wants their child to deal with this 10 times every day and experience this disruption in life. And it was most definitely disruptive to life. Sometimes, for all their medical knowledge, doctors do not grasp the practical application of their advice and how problematic it can sometimes be in daily life. Bradley has to be laying down to successfully get this air out of his tummy. I remember sitting on a very crowded bus last summer, and the air had built up. Bradley was gagging, retching, and crying. There was no where to lay him down. So, we just had to wait. Eventually, he was vomiting as his body tried to get the air out. I have had so many times I had to pull over to the side of the road in the snow or rain, get Bradley out of the car, lay him down in the front passenger seat as I’m getting soaked in the rain, and vent his tummy. I could tell many stories like this where it was not as simple as “Just vent as needed. No big deal.”

I continued searching for answers. I searched. And searched. And searched. I tried so many things. Nothing helped. And finally, some fellow BD moms helped me find the answer I had been searching for. They talked to me about symptoms of a bacterial overgrowth in the bowels. It sounded like there was a strong chance this could be the problem. One major risk factor for an overgrowth is a history of bowel surgeries, and Bradley has had two major bowel surgeries.

What are the symptoms of a bacterial overgrowth? Excessive gas, diarrhea or constipation (or bouncing back and forth between both), nausea, vomiting, or bloating…just feeling yucky. Bradley has mild constipation issues that are managed with a daily serving of prunes. But, I just knew this excessive air could not be accepted as our “normal.”

Bacteria in our guts produce gas when they eat. For most people, this isn’t a problem because the body can manage the normal level of gas produced by a normal level of bacteria. But, if a person has too much bacteria in his/her gut, this means there is more bacteria producing gas, which means there will be a lot more gas. Worse, if this bacteria makes its way up into the small intestine, as bacterial overgrowths do, bacteria is eating and producing gas in an area of the body that it isn’t supposed to. And guess where this gas goes. It pushes right up into the tummy.

And so, what are we to do? We stop giving so much food to the bacteria. In other words, we reduce foods known to feed the bacteria really, really well. We avoid foods that easily ferment in the bowel. This approach is quite the opposite of what most of us should be doing. Feeding our gut microbiome is extremely important. But, for those with a bacterial overgrowth, doing so can be a disaster.

I started with giving Bradley a broad spectrum digestive enzyme with every single meal to see what happened. This breaks down the food very quickly, leaving less for the bacteria to feast upon. The results were both immediate and extreme. The very first day, Bradley went from needing 40-50 ounces or more of air pulled from his tummy to needing only 4 ounces pulled. After 4 days of this, he was not needing any air pulled from his tummy at all. It stopped completely. This went very well for several weeks, but the air began building up again little by little. So, not wanting to wait until things were out of control, I decided to try plan B: a low FODMAPS diet.

Some of my fellow BD moms mentioned this diet to me. I began to do some reading about it. What stood out to me was the fact that nearly every food I’d already identified as a food that makes this excessive gas far, far worse (and had to stop feeding them to Bradley as a result) were on the high FODMAPS list. There were all these random foods that resulted in extremely excessive gas, and I could not figure out what could possibly be connecting them all. When I began reading about high and low FODMAPS foods, I discovered their connection.

Bradley’s oral intake had increased over the summer, but as it did, the air in his tummy increased substantially as well. I thought perhaps he was swallowing air as he ate. As it turned out, because I changed Bradley’s diet quite a bit when he began eating pureed food orally, I had inadvertently increased multiple foods that were on the high FODMAPS list, such as cashews. It occurred to me that maybe he wasn’t swallowing air at all. The final pieces of Bradley’s GI puzzle were coming together.

FODMAPS is an acronym for different components in various foods that easily ferment in the bowel and feed gut bacteria (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccarides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols). Many foods containing high amounts of FODMAPS are quite healthful for most people. But, they are not for those with a bacteria overgrowth. By reducing the FODMAPS in the diet, the bacteria are fed less. For Bradley, this would translate into less excessive gas if this were indeed the problem. And that is exactly what a low FODMAPS diet did. His very first day on a low FODMAPS diet, he did not require any venting at all, and I was able to stop the digestive enzymes. He has been doing great and venting is no longer a part of our lives. What a difference! Life changing!!

So, how do you go about discovering if a low FODMAPS diet will help your child’s tummy troubles? The only way to determine this is to try a low FODMAPS diet. If a low FODMAPS diet will help, it will help rather quickly. Thus, if you try and don’t see any improvements within a few days, this likely means that the problem is not one that will be helped by a low FODMAPS diet. Because feeding a low FODMAPS diet reduces how much gut bacteria are fed, and because most people need to feed their gut bacteria with these foods, it should only be used by those who experience a reduction in GI symptoms with this diet. If you try this diet and there is no reduction of symptoms within 4 days, you should stop the low FODMAPS diet and pursue answers elsewhere. In some cases when there is a bacteria overgrowth, an antibiotic may be needed to get the bacteria population in the gut better managed. Discuss this option with your child’s medical team if you believe your child may have a bacteria overgrowth, and diet is not managing it completely.

If your child will benefit from a low FODMAPS diet, it is important to go all the way onto a low FODMAPS diet initially. Once GI stability has been gained for a period of time, you can begin adding in one food at a time to test for tolerance. Your child may tolerate specific high or medium FODMAPS foods. The only way to find out is to first remove them all and then begin adding in one food at a time after the child is feeling better.

Doing this the opposite way, such as in an elimination diet, will not work in this particular situation. If your child is being fed 6 foods, for example, that are causing the symptoms, removing one at a time will not result in a visible reduction in symptoms because the other 5 foods are still producing symptoms. This is why I could not identify every food intolerance in Bradley’s food. I had tried an elimination diet by removing one ingredient at a time from his diet. While I had identified some foods that made his symptoms dramatically worse, I could not find them all. An elimination diet works great if there are only a very small number of foods that are causing symptoms. But, if lots of foods are causing symptoms, an elimination diet will lead to an eternity of removing one food at a time and seeing little to no improvement even if the food is an offender because you’re still feeding so many other offending foods. So, if you are going to try a low FODMAPS diet, you have to go all the way. At least at first.

Once you do, when GI stability has been reached, leave well enough alone for a while. Give it a few weeks. Maybe even more. Then, start to reintroduce one food at a time and see if GI symptoms worsen again. If they do not, that food is a safe food.

The good news is that you can begin to see patterns that will help you identify which foods are most likely safe and which foods are not. For example, if you notice that foods high in polyols are not causing symptoms, this is a good indicator that other foods high in polyols that you haven’t trialed yet will be safe.

Some people experience dramatic improvement after several weeks on a low FODMAPS diet and can return to a more normal diet. This is because the low FODMAPS  starved off the excessive bacteria, so eating the foods that feed them well no longer causes symptoms. If you are one of these lucky people, you can simply return to a low FODMAPS diet down the road if symptoms flare up again.

Yes, it is a tedious process. But the end result can be a child alleviated of GI discomfort. Bradley is still in the waiting phase. I plan on reintroducing foods after the new year to find his safe foods.

A team at Monash University has tested a large number of foods for FODMAPS. They have an app that you can use to search for foods and see whether they are high, medium, or low in FODMAPS. It will also tell you which of the FODMAPS the food is high in. You can also find a lot of helpful information on their website.

I began the process by purchasing their app and reviewing every single food they tested. I had 3 lists: low, medium, and high FODMAPS. As I reviewed the list, I looked at every food on it that we use in our household and added that food to the corresponding list. For now, I am only selecting foods on the low FODMAPS list. After the new year, I’ll be trying foods from the other 2 lists, one at a time, to see how things go.

In the meantime, I am basking in the glory of venting-free days. I am loving seeing Bradley completely comfortable from morning until night. He used to wake up every morning with so much air in his tummy. He’d wake up every morning and immediately gag and retch until I pulled the air out. Now, he wakes up every day and smiles instead. And, since his tummy is feeling so much better, Bradley is now taking all of his food orally most days. We are far from the day that his feeding tube is removed, but it finally feels like a reachable goal. I have searched for an answer to his excessive gas for a full year. I began to wonder at times if I would ever figure it out.

And so, most importantly, even if a low FODMAPS diet isn’t the answer for your child, keeping trying, mama. Keep searching. Keep asking. The solution may be just around the corner.

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

Thank you, everyone, for the unbelievable response Happyto my homemade Pediasure recipe! Wow! I have been overjoyed and thrilled with the pictures and stories of your little ones enjoying their nutrition shake!!

I heard out your many requests for a gluten free version as well as a banana free version since many kiddos that struggle with constipation must avoid consuming bananas. And so, I went to work to find the right combination of ingredients. All of the recipes below are gluten free, and most are banana free as well. I hope your child enjoys them either through the tube Empty cupor orally! Bradley has been orally drinking anywhere from half to all of his homemade nutrition shakes daily and is coming along slowly but surely with his oral eating. We have a long journey ahead still, but he’s come so far!

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

And now, for the recipes! Please note that, just like my other nutrition shake recipes, these shakes are not intended as a meal replacement, but rather, as a supplement to a well balanced diet

Homemade Banana Nutrition Shake

  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp Raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp Hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup Water

 

  • Calories: 279
  • Fat, : 13
  • Carbohydrates: 33
  • Fiber, g: 5
  • Protein, g: 8
  • Iron, mg: 2

 

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.

  • 1/2 Medium banana
  • 1/8 cup Raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 Tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Water

 

  • Calories: 286
  • Fat, g: 13
  • Carbohydrates: 32
  • Fiber, g: 6
  • Protein, g: 9
  • Iron, mg: 2.3

 

Homemade Chocolate Nutrition Shake

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

  • 1/2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/8 cup Raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp Hemp seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup Water

 

  • Calories: 274
  • Fat, g: 14
  • Carbohydrates: 29
  • Fiber, g: 5
  • Protein, g: 10
  • Iron, mg: 2.5

 

Homemade Strawberry Nutrition Shake

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

  • 1/2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/8 cup Raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp Hemp seeds
  • 5 Strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Water

 

  • Calories: 289
  • Fat, g: 13
  • Carbohydrates: 34
  • Fiber, g: 6
  • Protein, g: 9
  • Iron, mg: 2.5

 

Homemade Berry Nutrition Shake

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

  • 1/2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/8 cup Raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp Hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup Mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup Water

 

  • Calories: 279
  • Fat, g: 13
  • Carbohydrates: 31
  • Fiber, g: 6
  • Protein, g: 9
  • Iron, mg: 2.4

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