Vanilla Ensure Chia Pudding (makes 2 servings)
Digestible Dietitian Bites
By Denice Hynd RD, MPH
Recipe and Pictures by Brianda Younggren, MPH 06/01/2022
As we age, or with decline in motor function, we may fatigue prematurely when we eat. This can lead to reduced oral intake, which in turn can lead to unintentional weight loss, ultimately increasing our risk for malnutrition.
Chewing leafy greens, or steamed vegetables, although they are healthy for us, they offer very little calories – and they take a prolonged time to chew. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to re-think the way you prepare and consume meals in order to maximize your nutritional intake at each bite. In dietetics, we call this style of eating, fortification, or following a fortified diet.
Goal: to meet or exceed current nutritional needs in the smallest amount of volume to avoid signs and symptoms
of fullness, nausea, and weakness.
Low fat/fat free
Water with meals; drink water in between meals
Nut butters (almond, peanut, sesame, walnut, cashew, and sunflower seed butter)
Jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade, apple and pumpkin butter
Hummus made with olive oil, avocado oil, avocado, and guacamole
Honey, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses
Pesto made with olive oil, avocado oil
Real butter, cottage cheese, block and sliced cheese, cream cheese
Mayonnaise and sour cream
Olive, avocado, toasted sesame, and canola oil
Sauces and gravies
Barbeque sauce, ketchup, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, thousand islands, oil based-vinaigrette, tartar sauce, French onion dip prepared with sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt
Apple sauce, pudding, overnight-oats, chia pudding, apple-pie filling, cherry-pie and pumpkin pie filling, canned fruit cocktail in light syrup
Sweet potato, white potato
Edamame, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, beans, and lentils
Sour dough and whole grain bread, buns, rolls, wraps and pitas, white and whole wheat pasta
Prepared chicken, tuna, egg, potato, pasta salads; prepared spinach and artichoke dip, 7-layer dips
Full-fat yogurt, ice cream, cow’s milk, half and half, heavy whipping cream, Kefir
Soy milk (almond, rice, hemp, and oat milk has an insignificant amount of protein)
Prepared protein shakes, protein powders
Electrolytes during nausea/vomiting (Gatorade, PowerAde, Pedialyte)
100% fruit juice, fresh or frozen bananas
Vanilla Ensure Chia Pudding (makes 2 servings)
Recipe by: Brianda Younggren, MPH
Images Illustrated by: Brianda Younggren, MPH
½ cup vanilla Ensure (or any prepared vanilla protein shake)
½ cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup chia seeds
Add jazz by sprinkling your favorite spices: apple pie spice, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, almond extract, the
options are endless!
Mix vanilla Ensure, Greek yogurt with chia seeds. Mix well. The chia seeds will thicken the yogurt and
the Ensure into a pudding-like consistency. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least one hour. Top with sliced
bananas, and spices of choice. Enjoy cold!
If the chia pudding is too thick for your likening, add less chia seeds next time, or add more ensure.
Did you know chia seeds are a complete protein? They contain all essential amino acids and are
packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Getting our omega-3 properties from a non-marine source such as chia
seeds allows us to skip the concern surrounding mercury intake. Lastly, chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds offer 10 grams of fiber! Aim for 25-35 grams/fiber/day.
Nutritional Considerations for Parkinson’s Disease:
Keep in mind, we also want to focus on drug-nutrient interactions, this means we want to avoid eating 1-hour before and after taking certain PD medication since this will affect medication absorption. Other PD
medications require food with medication intake. Foods rich in protein should be taken separate from L-dopa as this may also interfere with medication absorption.
The recommended medical nutrition therapy for PD is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, high in antioxidants. Severe neurologic impairment often compromises the mechanisms and cognitive abilities needed for adequate nourishments. A common result is dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Modified food textures are often required for the individual with swallowing challenges.
Why chia seeds?
Chia seeds are high in antioxidants helping us reduce inflammation. Chia seeds naturally gel and coagulate liquids similar to manufactured thickening agents sold in pharmacies. The beauty of chia seeds is that they are a natural thickener, provide fiber, antioxidants, omega 3, and a complete protein!
With decreased fluid, food, and movement constipation may also arise. The fiber naturally found in chia seeds supports gut-motility and promotes healthy gut-function.
Where do I find chia seeds?
Chia seeds are conveniently found at all major stores! Places like Walmart, Target, Food for Less, Safeway,
Kroger, Costco, Grocery Outlet and even some $0.99 stores! Often, they can be found in the baking aisle,
hot cereal aisle, or the vitamin section.