Tips for swallowing difficulties that can lead to malnutrition

Swallowing difficulties can lead to malnutrition, so here are some helpful tips to help with thi

  • Avoid rough grains like rice or quinoa as they may cause choking. Look for softer substitutes for the nutrients, like mashed potatoes or grits as a starch.

  • Avoid salty dishes. The salt absorbs more water and makes the mouth very dry.

  • Raw vegetables can be very hard to on the gums, try steaming them and adding a nice sauce on the top. Soft broccoli and cheese sauce is a very nice alternative.

  • Pick soft foods for dessert. Try flavored gelatin, pudding or a smoothie with a yogurt base.

  • Avoid foods that crumble. Crackers or harder biscuits might cause some gagging. Cookies or tin biscuits are fine if you soften them by dipping in liquids such as tea milk or juice.

  • For very dry mouths, puree food. This breaks down the food into a smooth consistency and makes it easier to swallow.

  • Spicy food can irritate the lining of the mouth and esophagus.

  • Between meals, offer gum or candies (both sugar-free) to keep the mouth moist. This may help induce the glands to produce saliva. Lemon candies especially encourage saliva.

  • Select moist foods as they are softer and easier to swallow. For breakfast, try oatmeal instead of dry cereal. For lunch, soft fish like tuna or egg salad. For dinner, a soft pasta dish is a good choice.

  • Fresh or canned fruits, such as applesauce or oranges, have a high moisture content.

  • Fresh fruit soups are a nice alternative during our hotter months.

creamy soup

  • Soups and soft stews are a very good nutrition alternative.

  • If only dry foods are available, moisten them in non-spicy sauces such as gravies or a lemon herb dip for example.

  • Decrease in smell ability may contribute to reduced swallowing performance, use gentle spices like oregano or basil to entice their taste buds.

strawberry smoothie


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