How to Eat a Nutritional Soft Foods Diet: Healthy Foods for Those with Difficulty Chewing and Swallowing

How to Eat a Nutritional Soft Foods Diet: Healthy Foods for Those with Difficulty Chewing and Swallowing

Soft food diets are typically rich and creamy and are nutritionally deficient in thiamine, niacin, and iron as well as fiber and enzymes (World Health Organization).

Vegans and vegetarians who don’t want milk, eggs, or jello can have healthy alternatives that won’t leave out essential nutrients.

Use Root Vegetables and Winter Squash

Vitamin rich beets, taro, cassava, yams, potatoes and winter squash make attractive meals when steamed and mashed. Remove peelings and don’t add pepper or other spices that might be a choking hazard. Small frequent servings are better tolerated by those who tire easily.

Try Thickeners

Arrowroot and agar are natural thickeners that are neutral in taste. Thin liquids such as coffee, tea, water, and juice can be easier to swallow when they are thickened. Agar gives food an attractive sheen. Some soups can be thickened with soft tofu or ripe avocado, which add protein and healthy fats.

Fruits and Cereals Provide Nutrients

Cold fortified cereals that become soggy in milk are soft; use soy or rice milk for better gastric tolerance. Oatmeal can be sweetened with fruit juice for fiber and vitamins. Mashed ripe bananas provide potassium. Baked apple without the peeling is tolerated as well as applesauce and can be more flavorful. Citrus fruits, peeled and sectioned, and seeded melon pieces are allowed on some soft diets.

Iron-Rich Soft Foods

Apricots and many other fruits are high in iron. They can be pureed and layered with sweetened tofu. Add avocado cubes and an attractive dessert is the result.

Refried beans or bean soup are also iron rich. Flavor with cilantro and onion and swirl in soft tofu for a dish the whole family will enjoy.

Make a “cream” soup with blended avocado, warm water, a splash of lemon juice, and celery salt to taste.

Hummus is a nutritious meal by itself. Try blending spirulina powder for added protein, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. Spirulina will turn the hummus dark green; the secret to disguising the taste is to add more lemon juice.

Fresh Desserts Make the Meal

Canned pears, almond milk, vanilla and ice cubes with a handful of raw baby spinach blended well makes a beautiful bright green smoothie that provides iron, fiber, enzymes, and other nutrients. A teaspoon of flax oil adds Omega-3 fatty acids and ground pumpkin seeds add zinc, without affecting the taste.

Mix pureed carrots with ginger and maple syrup for a nutritious treat.

Build Around Old Favorites

Traditional soft foods of scrambled eggs, puddings, mashed potatoes, white rice and risotto, soaked bread and pancakes, cottage cheese, pureed steamed meats and fish, and mashed or pureed vegetables can be used if individual preferences allow. Build nutrition with fruits, tofu, soft grains, and nutritious smoothies and soups. Add protein supplements and vitamins when necessary. Nutritional drinks and powders sold in sports nutrition stores can add protein and calories when needed.

Categories: Diet, Health, Nutrition