Pros: My son seems to like it
Cons: white dirty container, the color of the pudding is dark
For the last few months my almost six-year old son had been drinking the SILK brand of soy milk in his bottle several times a day. Prior to starting soy milk he had been in the hospital twice for dehydration. Besides that issue he also is very anemic and suffers from oral aversion problems due to his autism and sensory integration dysfunction. On top of all this he is also non-verbal so I play around with items until I make a match.
A few weeks ago I made an appointment to see his Pediatrician to discuss a nutritional supplement in hopes of getting a Prescription as well. I did some research comparing Ensure? to Pediasure and I found the selections were plentiful with Ensure as well as being half the cost of the Pediasure brand. A six pack of Ensure? sells from $5-7 while the Pediasure was $11-12.
When we headed back to his therapies at the Hospital since the school is on year round schedule and they had off the month of January and February, both his speech and occupational therapist thought my son looked malnourished. This started the discussion of the g-tube and I did loads of research on this last resort that I had written off during the previous hospitalization. They even wrote a letter faxing it to the Doctor encouraging this route to take with my son.
I on the other hand wanted to try the Ensure before giving in to the tube feedings. I picked up a six pack on sale at Sav-on for $4.99 that came with a free bar I will be trying as soon as I get my nerve up. I had the weekend to try this before the Monday appointment and liked that the color was very similar to the soy milk so gave this to my son first thing in the morning. The strong scent of vanilla was apparent and after a few sucks on the bottle he placed the bottle back on the table and refused it till I rinsed that stuff out.
What we had been using in therapies through out the last six months of 2001 was pudding and mashed potatoes. The pudding was the Vons brand and Hunts? brand in vanilla and banana flavors that sold from 99 cents on sale to about $1.59 for four cups. I found through my searches for the Ensure at their website that they sold Ensure? Pudding and I went looking for this at Rite-Aid and Sav-on with no luck. I learned that this is available at Walgreens and the website stated it sold for $5.99 but I found it for $6.79 at the location nearest me.
At most of the stores I went to no one had any knowledge of Ensure? Pudding, which did not help matters any when I was in a time crunch to assist my son with his nourishment needs. It is available at the website in the form of a case for $30.00. This consists of twenty-four packs and works out to $1.25 a pack verses the $1.69 I ended up paying. It was a pleasure to walk into the Walgreens and ask a sales clerk where I could find the Ensure? Pudding and be given the aisle and spot to find it. My only complaint for this particular store would be to move this away from the feminine products!
I was put off by seeing the dirty white containers where you cannot see what the color or consistency is of the Ensure? Pudding. I was a desperate parent trying for the last item to get my son to try before giving up and agreeing to the g-tube placement. I hesitated for a moment and in the end I purchased two four packs of the Ensure? Pudding. I felt better when I snagged two bags of M&M Easter candy for fifty cents each.
When I give my son pudding no matter what flavor or brand it is always room temperature and I have tossed the remainder out, but feel due to the price I am saving the container by placing a baggie over it and keeping in the refrigerator for the next feeding. I use a plastic spoon with my son and always had to give a bite between feedings to him to his seven-year old brother. When I opened this up I noticed the dark color very similar to the soy milk and almost like a coffee color. I do not drink coffee and was not looking forward to trying this Ensure? Pudding out but for the money being spent I had to give this a shot for all our sakes.
The first tester was the seven-year old who replied this reminded him of a chocolate milkshake. That was impressive enough for me to try but I hardly agree with that statement, but I am not the one who needs to put on weight! The top section of each Ensure Pudding cup has some numbers for identification and the expiration date is on the side. These will last until November, 2002. These are easy to peel off, much better than the soy milk containers.
Each container has 170 calories per serving with 15% iron and contains condensed skim milk and soy oils. There is some discrepancy in the fat content because the ensure? product site shows there are 50 calories from fat, but the walgreens site lists none. Walgreens also states to shake well and I would not bother doing that with a cup of pudding! Another plus for my son is this is gluten-free and for those wanting a kosher product, Ensure? Pudding is for you. It is recommended that if you are using this as a supplement to have three containers a day.
What I like is at the ensure site they have the forms to print out for ordering via mail. Using this feature you can pay by visa, mastercard or discover. The toll-free number for ordering over the phone is 1-800-986-8502. They do not accept C.O.D. and for mail orders you can send check or money order. For more information on placing an order visit them at, http://www.ensure.com/OrderNow/Home.asp. There is also a link for information on getting reimbursed for the Ensure products, http://www.ross.com/reimbursement/default.asp. Each of the cups of Ensure? Pudding is four ounces and artificially flavored. My son is also getting these much needed vitamins with the Ensure? Pudding
Vitamin A ? 10%
Vitamin C ? 15%
Calcium ? 10%
Vitamin D ? 10%
Vitamin E ?20%
Vitamin K ? 15%
Zinc ? 20%
Iodine ? 30%
The sodium is 135mg, Sugars are 20g, with the protein at 4g. The other flavors this comes in and I have yet to see when I searched the old fashioned vanilla out are Butterscotch Delight and Chocolate Supreme. It would be nice if they could make a banana flavored Ensure?Pudding! This also contains Nutraflora? FOS. I have no idea what that is to be honest, but I did notice this was one of the options with the Ensure? drink.
The deciding factor on the Ensure? Pudding came when my younger son kept coming back for my spoonfuls. Actually my son allows a small amount to touch his lip and he skips to the other room and comes back for more. He will lick it off his lips with his tongue and that is fine with me at the moment. Months ago the occupational therapist was force feeding him by holding him down with another therapist while she would place so many swipes on his mouth in a short period of time and these feedings caused duress for me and screaming for my son.
I am happy to report that a cup of Ensure? Pudding will be added to his backpack for school in hopes that the assistant will have luck with this as well. I still have the other five Ensure? drinks in the refrigerator and hope to get my son accustomed to the Old Fashioned Vanilla taste of the Ensure Pudding. Hopefully we can switch over to this with ease and not have to consider the g-tube after all.
We are awaiting a referral to another gastroentologist and see what tests might be needed as well as the decision for a g-tube. I also found out through some other parents that have the same problems with their kids, luckily I am not the only one going through this, that another brand of soy milk has more calories. I have since switched my son to the Westsoy Smart Plus, which has 190 calories compared to the 100 calories in SILK. They also have the Westsoy Plus in half gallon sizes containing 130 calories. These are great alternatives to those who prefer the taste of soy. All these companies I have listed offer coupons via online or by calling them and asking. Even the mailing order form for Ensure? will accept coupons. There are also vendors with the Regional Center system here in California that stock the Ensure? line in case you cannot get it from your medical insurance or have the State furnish it for you if you are on SSI. For those who have children under the age of five you can try getting WIC to supply you with either Ensure? or Pediasure.
The Ensure? Pudding is rich and creamy and not watered down once you get into the container. For adults and children that have difficulty in swallowing and are looking for a treat or dessert or a supplement in the form of pudding, do not rule out Ensure? Pudding for those times. You have the option of serving this chilled or room temperature. My son liked this and kept coming back for more with a smile on his face, this is encouraging news indeed!
I am rating this four stars due to the ugly container that does not show the color and the fact that this is so difficult to find and no banana flavor.