If you have recently begun caring for a family member who has been diagnosed with dysphagia following a stroke or other neurodegenerative disorders, it can be a somewhat overwhelming diagnosis to hear. It means that they have difficulty swallowing their food, and, as you can imagine, if left unchecked, this can have serious secondary complications to their weight, their well-being, and their overall life.
Luckily, a lot of research has been done in this area, and while you will need to seek assistance from a doctor or a nurse, many foods are suitable for those that have dysphagia. This guide will introduce you to some of the best foods and drinks to offer at different times of the day. So, enjoy and be creative with your meal planning!
The most important meal of the day should not be skipped.
If you are caring for someone with dysphagia, there are many foods you can offer for breakfast. Pancakes and French toast, provided that they are well moistened with syrup, will go down a treat and will be very tasty and high in calories. Oatmeal is another option to consider, as well as hot or cold cereals that have been well-moistened with milk.
There are other types of meals that can be offered to somebody that has dysphagia for breakfast, as well as thickening agents to help those suffering consume their normal foods more easily, head to the SimplyThick company for guidance on the different options.
Lunch can be a bit trickier, as it is not associated with softer foods. You can aim to make scrambled or soft-boiled eggs, along with poached ones, as well as baked beans on toast, provided that they are heavily moisturized. Finally, diced meats, poultry, or fish can also be useful, especially if they are served with gravy or sauces. Soft-cooked vegetables that are fork-tender and are cut to less than half an inch can also be beneficial at lunchtime.
Much as with lunch, you will want to try to pack as many calories as you can, and this may involve using moist ground meats or fish served in gravy or sauces. You can even add well-cooked pasta, macaroni, cheese, or meat sources. Mashed potatoes also tend to go down well as well as mashed, moist beans.
Snacks throughout the day can be a bit trickier, too, as you want something that is easily accessible and small. Fruits such as soft ripe bananas can be great for somebody that has dysphagia or even cooked vegetables if they do not have a sweet tooth. Try to avoid raw fruits and vegetables, as these can cause further issues with swallowing.
Hydration is exceedingly important in somebody that has dysphagia, so try to give them water and other hydrating drinks a little and often throughout the day. Do not offer these drinks to them with a straw, as this can cause them to flood their mouth, which can lead to choking.
And lastly, involve the person you are caring for in the meals that they have. If they are being given food that they don’t like, they’re simply not going to eat it. So, allow them to have a say in what foods they consume.