It can be incredibly tasking to create a diet for someone having swallowing difficulty because of an illness. It is vital that you stay calm while trying to look for suitable meals and rely on the assistance of nurses and other medical practitioners. This article will provide you with helpful information on feeding your loved one suffering from swallowing difficulty.

What causes swallowing difficulty?

There are numerous factors that could cause swallowing difficulty. The major causes are:

  • Stroke
  • Certain kinds of cancer
  • Nervous system disorder
  • Motor function issues

Cancer in particular can lead to swallowing difficulties. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy usually contribute to this problem. It is advisable that you heed the dietary advice given to you by the medical provider of your loved one.

Tips for feeding someone with swallowing difficulties

The nurse, doctor or hospice care provider of your loved one should provide important details concerning the best way to feed them. It is necessary to establish the most suitable feeding strategy with the help of a professional. They will also be willing to provide more information that could help you. Even with this, there are general tips that you should follow. Some of them will be discussed below. 

Stay away from foods that are difficult to swallow

This might be the most obvious tip, but it is very important that you try to limit the amount of foods you know are difficult to swallow. These include crunchy foods and tough meats. In a lot of cases, you can decide to chop up or soften the meals that are harder to swallow. With this method, your loved one will still be able to enjoy their favorite meals.

Make the foods softer and tender

A great way to soften foods is by cooking them for longer periods – depending on the extent of their hardness. For example, if you want to serve carrots or other vegetables to your loved one, you should steam them to make sure that they’re easier to swallow. This same method can also be applied to potatoes and meats. For people who find it difficult to swallow drinks, a thickener like SimplyThick Easy Mix could be absolutely helpful in getting them to swallow fluids.

Eat regular small meals instead of fewer large meals

One of the most common mistakes made when feeding someone with swallowing difficulty is the decision to reduce the number of meals they eat a day. Instead of doing this, it will be more helpful to give them four or five smaller meals a day.

Avoid any food or drink that could result in irritation

There are foods which are hard to swallow because of the irritation they could cause. Foods in this category include spicy foods, frozen or hot beverages and alcohol – try to avoid any of these foods and drinks. Smoking can also lead to irritation.

What are the most ideal meals for people with swallowing difficulties?

The following are some of the foods that are suitable for people with swallowing difficulties. Though in addition to these, you will need to factor any dietary restrictions or allergies your loved one might have.

  • Chicken or tuna salad
  • Soups
  • Egg salad
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Cottage or ricotta cheese
  • Stews
  • Noodles
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Meatballs
  • Applesauce
  • Smoothies
  • Baked apples
  • Milkshakes

By Manali