WHAT TO EAT WITH SWALLOWING DIFFICULTIES
If you are finding it difficult to swallow
food, we've provided guidance on the
best foods to eat.
Here at Wiltshire Farm Foods we like to share our nutritional expertise, whether that’s through our blog posts, interviews with our in-house Dietitian or by providing delicious meals from our Softer Foods range. If you are having swallowing problems, in particular trouble swallowing food, then we have put together this handy guide of where to seek help and some guidance on what foods you can safely eat depending on your level of swallowing difficulty, to help put your mind at ease.
What should I do if I am struggling to swallow?
- Being unable to chew food properly.
- The sensation that food is stuck in your throat or chest.
- Uncontrollable drooling of saliva.
- Coughing or choking whilst eating or drinking.
- A wet or “gurgly” sounding voice.
If you do require a referral to a Speech and Language Therapist, during your first consultation they will likely assess the safety of your swallow. This is a routine assessment which usually involves drinking water whilst the therapist looks for any signs of weakness in your swallow reflex. You may be required to have further investigation through a Barium swallow test.
If you have been seen by a Speech and Language Therapist and diagnosed with dysphagia, you may be recommended to modify the consistency of the food and drinks that you consume. Regarding food, you may be recommended one of the following:
It is very important that you follow these recommendations to ensure that the food you are eating is safe to do so. If food or fluid is not the correct texture for you then there is a risk that you could either choke or aspirate (inhale food or fluid into your lungs).
Preparing texture modified meals at home
When trying to modify the texture of your food at home, it can be challenging to know where to begin. We have 4 useful tips to help point you in the right direction.
Managing a Level 6 Soft & Bite-Sized diet at home
A Soft & Bite-Sized diet should consist of bite-sized pieces that are roughly the size of a thumbnail (1.5cm x 1.5cm) and are very soft, tender and moist. There should be no separate thin liquids that drip from the food. These bite-sized pieces should be mashable with a fork or spoon. Some naturally ‘soft’ foods to eat that can fit these requirements include:
- Bite-sized (1.5cm x 1.5cm) pieces of very tender meat or soft fish
- Well boiled vegetables that are diced
- Scrambled egg
- Mashed Potato
- Rice in a thick sauce
Once you have prepared a Level 6 Soft & Bite-Sized meal, you can check that it is safe by conducting some quick and easy tests using your cutlery.
Managing a Level 5 Minced diet at home
A Level 5 Minced diet should be soft, moist and require minimal chewing. Individual food pieces should not exceed 4mm in size. Sauces should be thick enough to combine with these pieces of food and not separate off. You should be able to scoop and shape food of this texture onto a plate. Some naturally appropriate foods to eat that can fit these requirements include:
- Porridge or instant porridge
- Tender minced meat
- Mashed fish such as tuna with mayonnaise
- Mashed corned beef hash
- Mashed vegetables such as carrot or swede
- Rice pudding of an appropriate size
- Rice in a thick sauce
Once you have prepared a Level 5 Minced meal, you can check that it is safe by conducting some quick and easy tests using your cutlery.
Managing a Level 4 Puréed diet at home
To ensure you are eating the correct consistency for a Level 4 Puréed diet it should meet the following criteria:
- No lumps.
- Not sticky.
- Should be one consistent texture; liquid should not separate from solids.
- Cannot be poured or drunk from a cup.
- Should fall off a spoon in a single mass when the spoon is tilted.
Some foods that may be naturally appropriate for a Level 4 Puréed diet include:
- Instant porridge
- Mashed potato (no lumps)
- Smooth, thick yoghurt
- Thick custard
- Thick, smooth soup (without chunks or croutons)
Some foods that can be more easily puréed include:
- Stewed fruit without skins
- Fully mashed banana
- Boiled carrots
- Boiled cauliflower
- Boiled broccoli
- Boiled swede
- Well cooked pasta (must be blended with a sauce)
- Soft meat or fish in sauce or gravy
Once you have prepared a Level 4 Puréed meal, you can check that it is safe by conducting some quick and easy tests using cutlery.