Entries by feedtosucceed

COVID-19 Update!

Exciting news that all of our nutrition-covered BCBS Illinois patients are now eligible to receive nutrition services via telehealth! All the Feed to Succeed dietitians are available to provide new and follow up nutrition visits via Zoom. We are here to keep you healthy and eating well, even during this difficult time. Call the office to schedule your appointment, (847) 724-8015.

Covid-19 and Your Upcoming Appointment

March 15, 2020

The safety and security of the families we serve, including both our patients and our care providers, are our top priority. We expect rapid changes and updates to continue to guide our patient care decisions.

To that end, we have made the difficult decision to suspend face-to-face patient consultations beginning today and through March 30th, at which time we will re-evaluate the information and situation, and update our plan of action.

We are offering all of our clientele the opportunity to meet with us by Zoom in a virtual-appointment. If you have an upcoming visit scheduled, you will receive an email within 24-48 hours prior to your scheduled appointment time with instructions on how to join us virtually.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the office at (847) 724-8015 or email betsy@feedtosucceed.com. Wash your hands and stay well!

Tubie Talk

By: Amanda Gordon, RD, LDN, IBCLC and Dan Frazier, RDN-AP, CNSC

Parents feel fulfilled when they feed their children healthy
foods.  Foods that are fresh, colorful
and taste good.  Foods sourced from quality
ingredients.  Food that are less
processed and contain fiber and other nutrients that make our bodies work
well.  Foods that provide energy.

There is an important movement afloat in the nutrition world
and a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the idea that children
with feeding tubes should eat real food too. 
Tasty, nutrient-dense, colorful food. 
The same food that their parents eat. 
The same food that other children eat. 

February 10-14 is Feeding Tube Awareness Week, a campaign initiated
by the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation to bring awareness about tube feeding (https://www.feedingtubeawareness.org/).  So, what better time than now to talk and
think about children with feeding tubes.

Many adults and children alike are reliant on tube feedings
at home to deliver adequate nutrition and hydration.  Studies using Medicare and Medicaid data in
the United States indicate that the use of home tube feeding is on the rise in
the United States.1  According to data from the Feeding Tube
Awareness Foundation, children 18 and under represent about 40% of the tube fed
population.1  There are many reasons why a child may have a
tube placed for feeding and hydration.  These
can include medical diagnoses, including prematurity, physical, anatomical, or
neurologic conditions.  

Feeding tubes can also be placed for children with swallowing
difficulties and in situations of pediatric feeding disorders (which are also
on the rise in the US).2   And, for
those who may question or doubt the reality of a pediatric feeding disorder
being a real thing, just ask any family who has had a feeding tube placed in
their child for this reason.

Feeding children through a feeding tube can be very
stressful for families.  It can take the
whole concept of eating and turn it into something medical.  Eating is supposed to be social and enjoyable.  When nutrition has to be delivered through a
tube, this can change the dynamics, meal times, and how a family views
nutrition for their child.  And for good
reason. Up until a few years ago, most children in the US were fed primarily
medical formulas and nutrition supplements through a feeding pump that
delivered nutrients on a set regimen over a 24 hour period.  (No wonder this would feel more medical that

However, families today have more options for feeding children with tubes who are over 12 months old. There is a strong movement, backed by growing scientific research, to feed real food to children with feeding tubes.  Yep.  Chicken, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt and other dairy.  All kinds of stuff.  

While some children have medical conditions that require
specialized formulas to deliver specific nutrients through a feeding tube, many
families are moving away from conventional formulas as possible.  With the help of Registered Dietitians who
specialize in this area, children with feeding tubes now have the opportunity
to eat the same foods that their families, caregivers, and friends eat.  Parents blending foods in their kitchens are
able to feed this to their children. 
Recipe sharing and books are now published on feeding table foods to
children with feeding tubes.  There are
also a growing number of companies that are creating wholesome meals meant for
children with feeding tubes.

Feeding children real foods, table foods or family foods can
help children feel better.  Studies
indicate that children who eat food by tube instead of formula often have
improved tube feeding tolerance due to an improvement in gastrointestinal
symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and gagging/retching3,4,5.   Additionally, for kiddos able to eat orally,
studies indicate that those using real food versus formula have decreased oral
aversion and increased oral intake4.  

Parents and caregivers often feel better as well.  They feel more empowered by the ability to nourish
their children well.  Many families
relish the opportunity to feed their children family and culturally-appropriate
foods.   Most importantly, they often feel
less stress overall as the feeding experience normalizes in a sense and doesn’t
alienate their child.  Not surprisingly,
parents using blenderized tube feeding reported feeling that their child was
happier and healthier; they also unanimously recommended blenderized tube
feeding to other parents6.

In many ways, the discussion around feeding real food feels
full circle.  Prior to the inception of
formula in the 1960s, people with feeding tubes were given real food.  It is exciting to see this become popular
again and given the clinical studies substantiating this practice, in
conjunction with the overwhelmingly positive response from parents, feeding
real food to children with feeding tubes will likely become more common.

The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend eating a variety of
nutrient dense foods for all Americans.  Children
with feeding tubes should not be excluded from the opportunity to enjoy real
food. It is our hope that families and Registered Dietitians continue to
advocate for the concept of feeding as eating, not a medical procedure.

Amanda Gordon, RD, LDN, IBCLC is a pediatric dietitian at Feed to Succeed, LLC, a private pediatric nutrition practice.  Feed to Succeed works with families on food-based tube feeding diets for children and on weaning children from tube feedings.  For more information, visit http://www.feedtosucceed.com

Dan Frazier, RDN-AP, CNSC is a Registered Dietitian with Real Food Blends.  Real Food Blends makes 100% real food meals for individuals with feeding tubes.  To learn more, visit http://www.realfoodblends.com

1.             Mundi MS, Pattinson A, McMahon MT,
Davidson J, Hurt RT. Prevalence of Home Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition in the
United States. Nutr Clin Pract. 2017;32(6):799-805.

2.             Forbes
D, Grover Z. Tube feeding: Stopping more difficult than starting. J Paediatr
Child Health
. 2015;51(3):245-247. doi:10.1111/jpc.12763

3.             Hron,
B., Fishman, E., Lurie, M., Clarke, T., Chin, Z., Hester, L., Burch, E. and
Rosen, R. (2019). Health Outcomes and Quality of Life Indices of Children
Receiving Blenderized Feeds via Enteral Tube. The Journal of Pediatrics,
211, pp.139-145.e1.

4.             Pentiuk, S.,
O’Flaherty, T., Santoro, K., Willging, P. and Kaul, A. (2011). Pureed by
Gastrostomy Tube Diet Improves Gagging and Retching in Children With
Fundoplication. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 35(3),

5.             Batsis, I., Davis, L.,
Prichett, L., Wu, L., Shores, D., Au Yeung, K. and Oliva- Hemker, M. (2019).
Efficacy and Tolerance of Blended Diets in Children Receiving Gastrostomy
Feeds. Nutrition in Clinical Practice.

6.             Gallagher, K., Flint,
A., Mouzaki, M., Carpenter, A., Haliburton, B., Bannister, L., Norgrove, H.,
Hoffman, L., Mack, D., Stintzi, A. and Marcon, M. (2018). Blenderized Enteral
Nutrition Diet Study: Feasibility, Clinical, and Microbiome Outcomes of
Providing Blenderized Feeds Through a Gastric Tube in a Medically Complex
Pediatric Population. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition,
42(6), pp.1046-1060.

Healthy New Year 2020 – January 5

After a great 2 days of 2020, Betsy and David once again slipped off plan during a quick 48 hour trip to Boston, with little time for sleep and limited access to healthy, unprocessed food. Having difficulty managing food choices away from home? Here is what was easy… and hard over the weekend. And then what? Watch to hear their progress and plan for getting back on track this week.

Healthy New Year 2020!

Are you ready to feel great? Feeling motivated to start fresh in 2020? David and Betsy are welcoming in the new year with a healthy eating reset! Foods that reduce inflammation are on the menu, with a focus on fruits and veggies and omega-3’s! Don’t know what that means, but want to know more? Tune in to our vlog over the next few weeks for more details. Think you might want to give it a try? Betsy and David are getting geared up to introduce an interactive opportunity for you to join when the new Feed to Succeed website launches, coming soon 2020!

Feed to Succeed Podcast Season 5, Episode 4 Milk for Hydration and Sports

Milk for Hydration and Sports

Join Betsy and Amanda on a lively scientific discussion about milk, as they review it’s use for both basic hydration as well as for athletes both before and after workouts! Review and hone your understanding of milk and its sugar content, as well as the nutrient density of different milk substitutes. Are there benefits to adults who drink milk? Listen in for more details about milk and its relation to disease in adults from a recent study published in November. Watch above or listen here: http://feedtosucceed.libsyn.com/

Feed to Succeed podcast, Sports Nutrition – Teen Athletes and Protein

Melanie Battaglia, dietitian, sports nutrition resident, and former college athlete, speaks with Betsy by phone from Texas, on this informative episode about teen athletes’ protein and energy needs. Melanie shares food ideas including a smoothie recipe, to help teen athletes meet the demands for both strength, endurance, and growth! Do you know if trail mix is an adequate protein for an athlete? Betsy didn’t! Listen in to this recording for all that plus more!

Click below to listen, or download on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!


Feed to Succeed Podcast – Teen Sports Nutrition with Guest Athlete Alyssa Hjelmgren

Betsy Hjelmgren interviews special guest, synchronized ice skater, Alyssa Hjelmgren, from Northbrook’s very own Teams Elite Synchronized Skating Team. Betsy and Alyssa discuss hydration, and the “Athlete’s Plate”, including how Alyssa has utilized these resources to improve her endurance and stamina during tough practices and competitions. Alyssa shares her personal tips of what works and what helps for early morning practice and managing eating through nerves. Additionally, Alyssa discusses her experience with other teens and the issue of body image.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet – 7 weeks later…

David and Betsy are doing a one-week reset this week. They’ve gotten off track and can feel it. This time around, they’ve made a few modifications and allowances. Big debate – when following a diet plan for health reasons, how good is good enough?