Dysphagia seems to be one of the lesser-known health conditions that can affect people of all ages but is predominant in older adults. What the term refers to is difficulty swallowing. Although most people may experience a time or two when they didn’t chew well or breathed in when they should have been swallowing, that isn’t dysphagia. Dysphagia is a weakening of the muscles and nerves in the neck, which prevents swallowing and can have life-threatening ramifications. If you, or someone you love, has been diagnosed with this condition, it’s vital to learn how to prepare food that can be safely eaten.
Best Way to Prepare Food for People with Dysphagia
The key to cooking safe food that can be easily swallowed is to puree as many things as possible into the consistency of a light pudding or custard. Even the consistency of yogurt is perfect for sufferers of dysphagia, and those are all foods that can be safely eaten.
However, liquids like broths should be thickened. You can use easy mix SimplyThick for hot or cold liquids; even borscht can be pureed and thickened so that it can be safely eaten. The sour cream ladled on top will not present an issue because it is the right consistency as it is. Just make sure the beets are well-pureed.
Puree meats, vegetables, fruits, and even all bread. Make certain any bread is well moistened when pureeing. Mashed potatoes should be the consistency of yogurt or a smooth pudding.
You can even serve all kinds of soups if you puree them which may take away from the actual enjoyment of chewing, but the taste is the same. Some foods can be safely eaten once they are mashed, such as bananas. And sadly, this brings us to foods you should avoid.
Foods to Avoid
Anything that isn’t pureed should be avoided at all costs, such as cookies, nuts, chewy candies, and non-pureed or mashed fruits of any kind. Even sautéed or baked apples won’t be smooth enough, so they must be pureed and lump-freeas well.
While you can eat meats and other solid foods, they must also be pureed. Some cookies and snacks can be moistened in milk, which is only slightly different than dipping them in milk or coffee but again, that all dreaded word, they must be pureed.
Beverages and Other Liquids
Speaking of cookies and milk, that calls to mind all beverages hot or cold. These should be thickened to that pudding-like consistency and enjoyed without taking away from the flavor. A flavorless thickening agent is called for at times like these, but there are flavored products as well for use in beverages like water and tea.
The long and the short of it is just this. You can still enjoy most of the foods you’ve always loved as long as you puree or mash them to the right consistency, and they are lump-free. Remember, people suffering from dysphagia have damaged nerves and muscles in the jaw, throat, and esophagus, so anything as small as a grain of rice can cause issues. These tips should help you learn to prepare some awesome meals and the only extra step is the pureeing process.