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Is there anything more economical than Ensure and other similar products?

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I know the question was not about how to prepare but, is there something cheaper.

I just want to put it out there, I bought a ninja blender and it makes whole food smoothies, no juicing or separating, add your liquid and whatever you want and puree. It is pretty awesome and was a quarter of the price of the high quality juicer. I am big on fiber as it keeps us full longer, not to mention all the other health benefits. So if anyone is starting to add smoothies and looking for something that doesn't get tangled up with the spinach, I highly recommend the ninja, bonus it came with a bread mixer.

Just for information.
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The "best" liquid diet would be to process a well balanced diet and give that.
I used to make "soups" for my Husband. Pretty much any meal can be made into a soup. How thick it needs to be can be adjusted by adding more or less liquid or adding more vegetables to thicken the soup.
This way you control the ingredients, the herbs, spices and sodium and sugar.
Adding things like potatoes or beans (kidney beans, navy beans and that type of bean) will thicken a soup quickly if you need a thinner soup more veggies that contain less starch.
Eggs can also thicken some soups (like avgo lemono soup) so you get the chicken and the egg and it is thickened more by the rice. Blending this soup it can be as thick as you want depending on how much rice or liquid is included when blending.
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Hey Ken, I came looking for your post about alternative drinks. I recently purchased Equate Meal Replacement not knowing this is generic slim-fast. However, it is cheaper and you get more for the money - same nutrition, just not as many calories.   This is 11 ounces, not 8 ounces.  Yes, I do refrigerate any leftovers.

I add a Protein powder and still add the ice cream - so my DH is getting what he needs and I've found a cheaper alternative to Ensure. I wanted to make sure to share this with you.

I also add a teaspoon of Barlean's Strawberry-Kiwi Greens to cover the veggies. I use the Strawberry Meal Replacement and even found Strawberry Protein Powder!

I don't know if it's truly cheaper - but I feel my DH is getting more "bang for the buck."

I will not purchase Boost again since I am able to add more protein using the powder. Boost is darned expensive.  *** Just because they tell you to use 2 scoops of protein, you can add 1 Tablespoon per drink and get an added 5 grams of protein per drink.  And the powder will last you 75% longer too.

Hugs,
Linda
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Again - where is Kenneth saying his mother can eat but prefers to drink?

The only post I see from Kenneth is "What is the best liquid diet for my 83-year-old mother who is bedridden? Is there anything more economical than Ensure and other similar products?"

Again I went through all the postings and I only see the initial one from Kenneth? Kenneth has still never said why his mother is on a liquid diet and has never said she can eat foods. I don't understand where all these other "Kenneth" posts are?
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You said she can eat but prefers to drink. If she CAN EAT, maybe try to stick with soft foods. Yogurt, applesauce, pudding, avocado, cream of wheat, scrambled or poached egg, mashed potatoes, sweet potato, macaroni n cheese, mashed banana w/apple butter, etc.
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The first I received was from DIL who ordered from VitaCost. But then I went looking at Amazon. I did find it cheaper at Amazon because 2 flavors were being closed out.

TigerNut Smoothie Mix 9.3oz - Chocolate by Organic Gemini is what I am using as this is what had been sent to me. According to Organic Gemini, it is only available in Health Food Stores but you know how everyone likes to list on Amazon.

I prefer the Original and got lucky with someone selling out his stock.

I will post this on your page so you don't miss it - I only now learned you asked me.
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It depends on the actual medical issues that your mother is having also. If she has esophageal or GI problems, and is more responsive to liquids only, even a GI doctor would recommend ensure up to multiple times a day, for an aged person. Since the mother is bed-ridden, this is a question that should be asked to a licensed physician that can refer to a nutritional expert even. You have received great ideas, but now you have to decide what is best and most cost-beneficial: health vs. saving a few bucks.

Who is paying for the ensure? Ask yourself that question. Also, everyone knows its cheaper to make your own food or drinks, than to buy retail. Don't have to use Ensure every day. Mix it up, but it still offers variety, for example as a backup when groceries are low. Or another similar product that has the nutrients you don't get.

It does depend on the actual medication ailments also. If the doctor recommended this, then there was a reason, because it is a nutritional supplement, not a meal replacement only.
Making your
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RayLinSteohens, where do you get the Tigernut Smoothie Original? I've been reading a lot lately about pro pre biotics and dementia.
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@Jackie18 - I have read everything twice and maybe I missed it, but I didn't see where Kenneth is looking to make his own meals for his mother; nor did he explain why she is on a liquid diet. He was asking if there is anything cheaper than Ensure.

Having used Orgain, I can attest that Ensure is not the most expensive and Wal-Mart's Equate brand is even less costly. I also disagree about it being the same as a vitamin/mineral tablet. I have never seen a vitamin/mineral tablet with Protein.

Suggesting baby cereal and powdered milk might be cheaper but it doesn't sound even remotely healthy. Where is the protein? Where are the vegetables? If my DH had continued to not eat, I would have turned to Baby Foods (Junior grade) but I have to thicken all liquids for him (dysphagia) and when you add up all the additions, really, the Ensure does look a lot better.

I only use the Ensure as a base to get nutrition into my DH and I add "greens" wherever and whenever possible. I use Protein Shake mixes and they are not cheap! Again, averaging about $1 per serving, just like the Ensure.

I really like Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens because it is a neutral color and I can add it to his mashed potatoes so he can eat it and I can insure he gets his nutritional needs met. I use Barlean's Chocolate Silk Greens in his cocoa every morning - yes, again $1+ for his breakfast which includes ice cream and the base is an Ensure Plus. I'll guess his breakfast of about 500 calories costs about $2.50-$3.00 per serving. Oh, I forgot to add in his cocoa mix too. Definitely a $3.00 meal at least.

Taking care of Ray for the last few years sort of explains why a Nursing Home is so expensive. I just can't rationalize cutting too many corners when his life is on the line. I use HomeHealthCare and the VA for anything they can and do contribute. It still adds up.
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Thank you for  the great ideas I needed this post ..mom has declined steadily since my sister died almost 4 years ago ,.,her appetite is bad and will drink but not eat much ..thank you so much for the replies and I'm so glad you posted this question ..it was a Blessing you brought this up..many prayers headed your way and I love you all
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It depends on her health (if she's a diabetic, has heart or kidney disease,....). ASK HER DOCTOR. He can give you the name of diet she'd be on if in the hospital (Example: 2000 calorie ADA, Mechanical Soft, Regular, ....). Once you have the Doctors written order, specifically for her, then look it up on the Internet for meal examples. Or better yet, hire a Nutritionist to write out a personalized diet plan for her.
Ensure is a good substitute to give if someone eats less that 50% of their meal. However, if one is a diabetic they would need Glucerna, NOT Ensure. If either of these are used daily, you need to tell her Doctor to make sure all her needs are being met.
Nutrition, at her age and health is crucial and impacts how long she will live and the quality of her life. Poor nutrition WILL greatly speed & worsen bedsores, in a bed bound or wheelchair bound person.
She needs to have blood work/lab drawn every 3 months minimum to check her potassium, sodium, calcium, glucose... levels. Not enough, or too much, of certain foods can cause heart failure, kidney failure....
Remember: Food is human fuel, just as gasoline... is automobile fuel. An automobile will run poorly or die if receiving improper fuel. Same for human body if it doesn't receive what it needs.
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If you have a juicer, you can juice fruits and veggies to add to a smoothie. (A juicer removes the fiber, which you need some of). You can add flavor and nutrients this way. When my MIL was in and out of the hospital, we would juice carrots and other good stuff and bring a jar of juice every day.
The problem with Ensure or similar products is that they are a milk base but most of the rest is overly processed basic vitamins, and not enough varied nutrients for an only food. You can get the stuff that's used in tube feeding; probably more nutritious than Ensure.
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Many food items can be put into a blender, e.g. spinach for one. Makes for a very nutrition-packed meal.
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I would recommend whatever liquids you are blending together to ensure there are nutrients. Many recipes online! If it is not thick enough, you can also add a thickener agent.
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There is no benefit to drinking the highly advertised, and therefore expensive Ensure etc products. People are paying for advertising not any more nutrition than a vitamin/mineral pill and some oil . Glad you are going to make your own. In addition to the good ideas here you can add milk powder ( its just milk without the water) to any of the concoctions to give added nutrition. You can purchase it in any supermarket. The protein in it will help support her needs. You can also add baby cereal which is in a flaked powdery form and is mixed with water or milk. This adds bulk and calories. The soup idea is great as well. I have taken cauliflower and pureed it and thinned it with chicken broth. It's delicious. You can tailor the liquid diet to any restrictions she has, such as low sodium or controlled sugars. You can puree fruit and make your own ice pops too. Let her physician know your plan as she might want to add a liquid vitamin supplement. If you have access to a dietician ( make sure they are registered) you might have a consult with her to discuss making sure each days drinks are nutritionally and calorically balanced.
Write your recipes in a notebook and then anyone else can make them if they are with your mom.
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@Jazzy2 - I don't have a Costco but I too use the "greens" supplements! I have been adding a TBL of Tigernut Smoothie Original to DH's mashed potatoes and even to his egg in the morning. He can't taste it and it supplies Pre & Pro - biotics! Resistant Starch which means it stays in his stomach longer and helps his regularity.

Have you tried Barlean's Chocolate Silk? I use that in DH's Hot Cocoa (and in my own coffee) and it is truly yummy, and adds lots of nutrients.

I too believe that the Smoothies are contributing to my DH still being here!
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I feel you should consult a registered dietitian. Your mom needs vitamins and nutrients, and protein to help fuel her body and organs. I'll be praying for you both.
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Not scoop but package for the frozen veggie/fruit mix.
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My husband's doctor started him on a morning smoothie over a year ago and the hospice nurse attributes his morning shake for his still being here. Not sure about that, but here goes: almond milk, 2 scoops organic pea and/or veggie protein powder, tablespoon flax or chia seed, 1 scoop organic frozen kale, spinach, and berry mix (from Costco). I think it's cheaper than ensure (full of sugar and chemicals) and certainly much healthier. In the afternoon I fix a similar smoothie but with coconut water instead of almond milk. Sometimes I make almond milk, a packet of oatmeal, powdered peanut butter and banana. He loved ice cream thrown in but I limit because of the sugar. Experiment. Smoothies have endless varieties.
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At approximately $1 per can, I would say not for what you get in the Ensure - and I use the Walmart brand myself. You can save some at a Sam's Club or Costco. You can even use baby food - but again, the Ensure would most likely work out to be as cheap or cheaper than even baby food.
I am using Ensure to make my DH his Hot Cocoa every morning and I put ice cream in it - he loves it!

Throughout the day I use Fruit Juices mixed with Ensure and he drinks that in-between meals. It's all about calories in - without the needed calories and nutrition, they will waste away. And without the nutritional needs being met, the Dementia will get worse.
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Is this all your Mother is eating?
If so you should talk to the doctor or ask to talk to a dietitian about alternatives to Ensure and other commercially prepared drinks.
It is possible to get them in powder form and that would be less expensive.
Is is possible that you can take the meals that you're making for the family then thin them out and puree them until they are a consistency that she can consume.
If the Ensure is a supplement to normal meals then making a smoothie, a shake or a protein powder shake would add some nutrition and calories.
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She might like low sodium soup pureed in a blender and thinned with milk or water.
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Smoothies might be good. I usually make them with greek yogurt or coconut milk and lots of fruit. You can throw in spinach, kale, cucumbers too.
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My husband liked home made milkshakes. Ice cream (of course), probably a fruit, maybe some flavored syrup, and usually a packet of the Carnation instant breakfast powder. A favorite was chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, half a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a packet of vanilla or chocolate powder, and enough milk to thin it a bit.

Canned peaches were another favorite, using the syrup from the can instead of milk.

Naturally strawberries or raspberries were a good choice. You could probably use applesauce but not a fresh apple. Probably anything your blender would turn into a liquid.

He also liked Popsicles. Not a lot of nutrition, but they helped with hydration.
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Kenneth, if your Mom likes to drink milk and enjoys chocolate, you can try Carnation Instant Breakfast which comes in packets that you mix with milk. I think they might have changed their name to Carnation Essentials. Just as long as your Mom is allowed sugar.

I use to use the chocolate mix which I found pretty good. And it is sure a lot cheaper than Boost or Ensure. Check the labels against each other to see if there are the same vitamins, etc.

Another thing Mom might like as a treat that is liquid are the flavored ice tea. Again watch for sugars. I am hooked on peach ice tea :)
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