The BLENDS Project
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Food Choices

Using blended food means you need to plan, shop, prepare, cook, blend and store food for your child, while many parents find this rewarding it can also be overwhelming particularly when you are first starting out. While some families choose to use only blended foods many choose to use blended food alongside a commercial enteral formula, which can give the best of both options and offer more flexibility.

Nutritional Adequacy

Missing out certain vitamins or minerals in the diet leads to micronutrient deficiencies. Equally, very high levels of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful.

You can easily avoid these problems by following age appropriate general healthy eating advice. Don’t overuse any one particular food ingredient — opt for variety and if in doubt speak to a registered dietitian with experience of blended diet.

Most parents using blended diet have put in a lot of work to make sure they are feeding their child really good healthy nutritious food.

Food choices for children 2+

The NHS Eatwell Guide provides healthy eating advice for the general population (age 2+) and many families have found it to be a useful starting point to help plan a healthy and well-balanced blended diet too. The Eatwell Guide

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, we should all try to:

Foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, should be used less often and in small amounts. Choosing a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups means there are a wide range of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) in the diet.

The Eat Well Guide is a good visual. It’s far less daunting than trying to calculate exactly what's in food which is an extra difficultly job you don’t need.

There has to be some give and take, it might not look like the Eatwell guide everyday- but that is how people eat, it is a starting point.

Babies and Toddlers

Expressed breast milk or first infant formula provides all the energy and nutrients your tube fed baby needs until they are 6 months old.

At 6 months you could start to add blended food to the expressed breast milk or first infant formula. Babies have tiny tummies, so start by adding a small amount of blended food (5-10ml or 1-2 teaspoons) to their expressed breast milk or first infant formula.

Single vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, sweet potato or carrot are good options for first blended foods as are fruits such as apple and pear.

It is like when you start weaning a baby. You start with small amounts of puree fruit or vegetable, I guess that is easier it you have had experience weaning a child orally.

Introducing Potential Allergens

There are 14 common food allergens: Milk, Eggs, Soya, cereals containing gluten, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Sesame Seeds, Fish, Mustard, crustaceans (like crab) Molluscs (for example mussels), Lupin, Celery and Sulphur dioxide (sulphites).

Symptoms of food allergy include:

Introduce the foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in very small amounts so that you can spot any reaction. If there is a history of food allergy in your family you should take particular care you may wish to use a food and symptom diary to help you track this.

If you think your child is reacting to a particular food talk to your dietitian do not be tempted to cut out whole food groups this way leads to nutrient deficiencies.

[Food Allergy | Allergy UK | National Charity] (