Looking to save money on a whole food formula for the favorite tubie in your life? On of the best ways to cut down on the grocery budget is by growing vegetables for blenderized diet tube feeding. Your garden doesn’t need to be elaborate. Your green thumb doesn’t even have to be perfect. No back yard? No problem. A container garden can even help save money and ensure that your blenderized diet is fresh picked.
I start my garden plans by taking a good look at Parker’s blenderized diet recipe. Parker’s recipe calls for almost 2 cups of veggies a day. I look at what packs the best nutritional punch, freezes easily, and stores well.
At least half of Parker’s vegetables consists of power house greens such as kale, swiss chard, beet greens and spinach. Each of these are easy to grow, don’t need a lot of space, and if you cut these greens, rather than pulling the plant by the root, they will come back several times through the season. When cut while they are still tender and young, power greens can be used raw. I also wilt greens for Parker and then freeze them for use during the winter.
Green peppers offer a much needed boost of vitamin C and instead of paying over a dollar per pepper, I can easily harvest 50+ peppers to use fresh or slice and freeze for later.
I think we are all familiar with how easily zucchini grow and grow and grow and grow…. I prefer to harvest my zucchini while the blossom end is still attached, assuring a tender zucchini mostly free of seeds. The other reason I harvest them at this time is because if I let them grow much larger I can rest assured that the neighborhood raccoon will make off with them. grr.
I try and plant several different types of winter squash. This year the spaghetti squash took over every thing. I’ll bake several, blend them and then freeze them. The rest I will put in the basement storage room to wait until the snow flies to cook them up.
We grow Roma tomatoes for salsa, and low acid orange and yellow tomatoes for Parker. Parker’s stomach can be a bit sensitive to the acid in tomatoes and so when we use them in his blenderized diet recipe, we do so sparingly. We freeze them whole as well as add them to the greens when we wilt and freeze them.
We also grow Blue Lake Green beans in our garden and for use in Parker’s BD. I used to can up many quart bottles of green beans for our family’s use. But for Parker’s use we blanch and freeze them. It’s pretty easy to cook out all of a green bean’s nutrients, so we want them as close to raw as possible.
We usually grow white potatoes in our backyard garden. Next year we will be growing sweet potatoes instead. We use 1/2 cup of sweet potatoes a day to keep a certain Brave Hero healthy and strong. For some reason keeping enough sweet potatoes on hand has been quite the feat for me and I’ve actually resorted to using freeze dried sweet potatoes when we are out. Hopefully growing our own, and storing them the same way we store white potatoes will help solve this problem.
Our private insurance won’t cover ANY sort of formula for a tube fed kid and food based formulas such as Liquid Hope aren’t covered by Parker’s Travis C. Waiver. I’ve seen too much improvement in Parker’s health to ever consider going back to the high frutose corn syrup based boxed formulas. Since going to a 100% real foods diet we’ve been able to cut Parker’s ulcerative colitis meds in half with an eye of him not needing them at all in the future!
Something I discovered this summer is that by watching the local Facebook yard sale groups, I’ve found many people selling their extra (organic!) garden produce and now I’m seeing fruit being offered. People with back yard gardens, berry bushes and fruit trees price their offers MUCH cheaper than you would find at the grocery. Conventional zucchini in my area has been about $1.68 a pound. From local back yard gardens, .50 cents a pound.
My’ fresh from a tree that has never been sprayed’ apples were $13.00 for a bushel A bushel of organic apples at a fruit stand would have cost over 3x that for organic apples.
My next adventure will be finding a way to provide Parker with organic broccoli, another of his blenderized diet staples. I’ve never grown broccoli before, but there is always a first time! Especially since a cup and a half of the already frozen stuff is now up to $3.00 a package. Yikes!
It’s true. Creating a blenderized diet isn’t cheap. Just like eating clean and healthy costs more than a diet of fast food. In order to cut costs and help afford to create your own whole foods blenderized diet, I’ve found growing your own vegetables (and fruit!) to be worth the time and effort.