Have you recently been diagnosed with dysphagia and are struggling to figure out what to do in terms of your meal plan? Do you want to be sure you’re picking foods that easy to swallow yet still taste good? Just because you want to make smart choices doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor and variety. So with that in mind, here’s a look at some of the best foods that you can include in your new healthy eating plan.
Base the Diet on Your Level of Dysphagia
Before we look at some of the food options, it’s important to point out this isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The foods you eat will be based on what level of dysphagia you have. Food and drinks are ranked so that they fit into the level of dysphagia you have been diagnosed with.
Unsure of which level you should be aiming for? Speak to your doctor about what they recommend for your specific needs. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll be looking at those with Level 1 dysphagia.
Pureed bread may end up being a staple in your diet, as it can be very filling.
Protein is an important part of anyone’s diet and just because you have dysphagia it doesn’t mean you can’t have meat. Just like with other foods, you need to be sure it is pureed extremely well.
Pureed Soups Allow for a Blend of Flavors
Here’s a way to get a variety of flavors in one meal and that is with pureed soups. You can make the soup from scratch so that you’re in control of the ingredients and flavors, and then ensure it is very well pureed. You may need to let the soup cool before pureeing it; it depends on the blender you have.
Embrace Fruits and Get all the Nutritional Benefits
Fruit is another important part of people’s diets as it is filled with all kinds of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The good news is that many of them can be pureed exceptionally well, in particular, bananas.
Take a Little Extra Care with Vegetables
Just as the fruit is important, so are vegetables, but a little extra care will need to be taken. Some can be more difficult to puree and get all the lumps out. You cannot have any seeds, chunks, or any form of lumps in the finished product. This is why it makes sense to invest in a good quality blender.
If it’s mashed potatoes you are craving, make sure you add a bit of liquid to help with the pureeing.
Liquid Thickeners Will be Necessary
Another tool in your food arsenal is liquid thickeners. These are products that are mixed with a liquid/drink to thicken it up. While these are typically starch-based you can find others that are a little tastier. You can look into Simply Thick as an alternative to the typical starch-based thickeners. Keep in mind that you can make drinks mildly, moderately, or extremely thick, so be sure your healthcare provider has specified which level you need.
It’s a Learning Experience
Remember that this will be a learning experience and there will be an adjustment period as you learn what foods are best, and how to properly prepare them.