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Dysphagia - Part VIII

Tips for safely managing dysphagia at home

Get enough healthy nutrition

For many dysphagia patients, getting enough calories as well as vitamins and minerals becomes a tough challenge. Drinks like Ensure and Boost may seem like good ideas to replace meals and add calories, but they’re often difficult to properly thicken because of the protein and vitamins in the liquid. Plus, they’re loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients.

There are other ways to incorporate whole foods and nutritional ingredients into a dysphagia diet:

  • High fat foods like greek yogurt, avocado, peanut butter, coconut cream, and soft cheeses can be added to sweet and savory dishes to increase the calorie content and help older adults maintain weight.

  • Easily pureed foods like winter squash, beans (cannellini, black, refried, etc), steamed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc), and fruits (banana, strawberries, mango, etc) add loads of vital nutrients to your older adult’s diet and can be incorporated into thickened soups and purees.

  • Ice cream and heavy creams can be blended with other ingredients into thickened consistencies that are suitable for someone with dysphagia. Milk can be blended with foods like banana, squash, and peanut butter to naturally thicken into shakes without artificial additives.

  • Some nutritionists may recommend adding protein powders or therapeutic drink mixes (like Juven) to your older adult’s diet to help them maintain weight, especially for seniors who are building muscle.

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