Balance your diet, balance your health Balance your diet, balance your health

The Value of Variety in a Tube-Feeding Diet

How do you know if your tube-feeding formula offers the variety you need? Good question! Let’s take a look.

Facts List:

  • Accessing the USDA Guidelines 
  • Setting MyPlate
  • Enjoying the Rainbow

Now that you’re getting the hang of your tube-feeding routine (or maybe you’re already a seasoned pro), you might be catching your breath and doing a little research about formulas in general. There are a lot out there to choose from. When doing your homework, one topic to delve into is the value of variety in a tube-feeding formula. We did some fact gathering for you to get the process going.

Let’s start with the “gold standard” for dietary information and policy: the USDA. Here’s an interesting history fact—in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln, who had a strong farming background, signed legislation to establish the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). This trusted source has been around a long time! Today, the USDA reaches far beyond its original purpose with a mission “to improve the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers.” 

The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, now in its 2015-2020 Eighth Edition, is available online for anyone to view. While there’s a glut of information that you may not want to go through (it’s over 100 pages long), the essence of the document includes key takeaways, including those around dietary variety. Some of the recommendations outlined in the most recent guide include consuming “a variety of vegetables from all the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other” and “fruits especially whole fruits.”  

When it comes to tube-feeding formulas, these guidelines can be evaluated by a healthcare professional to ensure that any special dietary needs are met. Reputable guidelines that offer a scientific baseline, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, provide us with information to draw from, build on and make informed decisions for ourselves and our families. 
MyPlate, another initiative of the USDA, stands by the notion that “Everything you eat and drink matters. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future.” With that said, MyPlate emphasizes the need to “focus on variety, amount and nutrition.” (Just for fun, you can access a colorful downloadable booklet, designed especially for kids.)

The “right mix” in our diet can help us to meet different nutrient needs and recommendations. Regardless of how you’re consuming your daily nutrition (orally or through a feeding tube), one or two foods typically can’t provide all the recommended daily vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Variety in a diet is like putting together the best players for a star baseball team. The best catcher and pitcher are not enough to carry the team. We need all the players working together! 

For many of us, variety also equates with lifestyle. Personal choice. So, if “variety is the spice of life,” why not incorporate it whenever appropriate? Compleat® Organic Blends are made from a blend of real food ingredients such as chicken, vegetables and fruit, to offer variety in your daily nutrition. For example, the chicken in the Chicken-Garden Blend provides a variety of B-vitamins. And with two different formulas to choose from in both pediatric and adult versions—a Plant-Based Blend and a Chicken-Garden Blend—it’s easier to keep mealtime interesting.

In one of our recent blog’s, special guest blogger—Kipp Ellsworth, MS, RD, CSP, CNSC—talked about how Nestlé Health Science, the makers of Compleat® Organic Blends, “responded to the concerns of caregivers and clinicians regarding the importance of diversification” in tube-feeding formulas. Read Kipp Ellsworth’s guest blog and learn more from the point of view of a registered dietitian.

Compleat® Organic Blends tube-feeding formulas celebrate dietary variety. They are made with real food ingredients such as kale, blueberries, butternut squash, pears, beets and mangos. Think about the variety of bright colors of those items. However, the colors on their own are simply vivid, bright colors. In unison, the colors create a beautiful rainbow!

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