Making food easier to eat

Changing the texture of foods can make it easier to chew and swallow.

Soft foods

These are foods that are soft enough so that they can be cut with the side of a fork. Vegetables may need to be cooked for longer, and meat or chicken cooked longer on a lower heat with liquid to make them soft and tender.

Here are some soft food suggestions.

Soups

  • Smooth with no hard lumps.

Eggs

  • Scrambled, poached, boiled, or made into an omelette.
  • Quiche or soufflé.
  • Cooked sliced egg in a cheese sauce, or mild curry sauce with rice.

Milk and milk products

  • Dairy food, yoghurt, ice cream, milk puddings, soft cheeses, and cheese sauce.
  • Avoid hard cheeses or those with dried fruit or nuts in them.
  • Avoid grilled cheese that has gone hard.

Fish

  • Fish in white sauce/ cheese sauce/ parsley sauce.
  • Convenience foods—boil in the bag, fish fingers, fish nuggets, canned tuna/ smoked fish/ salmon.

Chicken

  • Boiled/ steamed/ microwaved/ roasted, or rotisserie, and diced with gravy, white sauce, mushroom sauce, cheese sauce, other sauces, or mashed potato.

Meat

  • Boiled, stewed, roasted, grilled, and diced or sliced, served with gravy, mint sauce, redcurrant jelly, mustard sauce, other sauces, or mashed potato.
  • Cold meats—ham, pork and apple sauce, ham and chicken.
  • Mince with spaghetti, meat balls, potato top pie, and hamburger patties.

Breads and cereals

  • Soft breads without crusts with soft fillings; for example ham, egg and grated cheese and pineapple, minced chicken and mayonnaise, canned fish, and smooth peanut butter, or asparagus.

Fruit and vegetables

  • Fresh, stewed, or canned fruit and vegetables.
  • Soften by chopping, mashing, or grating.

Snacks

  • Baking—biscuits or cakes; for example shortbread, sponge or Madeira cake, fruit loaf, muffins, pikelets, scones, and crackers.

Pureed foods (food with no lumps)

Use a blender, stick blender, or food processor to puree foods so that they have a smooth texture with no lumps.

Method

  • Food processor—if you do not have a blender, stick blender, or food processor, a mouille and strainer can produce similar results, but it will take more time.
  • Add liquid (ideally, use a nutritious liquid; for example gravy, full fat milk, white sauce, soup, cream sauce, or fruit juice rather than water). Continue adding more liquid until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Blend until the mixture is smooth with no lumps.

Tips

  • Some fibrous fruit and vegetables (for example peas, corn, celery, onions, and pip fruits) may not puree very easily. Try straining after pureeing and they may be soft enough.
  • Individual flavours and colours of a meal can be preserved better when vegetables and meat are pureed separately.
  • Pureed meat often loses its colour and flavour—try adding tomato, soya, or Worcestershire sauce, herbs, mushrooms, or tomatoes. Serve meats with gravies, sauces, or jellies; for example mint sauce or redcurrant jelly with lamb. Pureed meals can be frozen. Thaw in the fridge and heat thoroughly, add a little more liquid if necessary. If stored in the refrigerator, pureed meals will keep for only 12 hours.
  • Green vegetables can look unappealing when pureed. Try mixing with a little mashed potato or instant potato flakes. Tasty pureed vegetable combinations include swede and carrot, carrot and parsnip, and beans and parsnip.

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