When it comes to preparing meals for someone with dysphagia, it is important to use the right ingredients. Choosing ingredients that cannot be easily swallowed by the patient may lead to potential life threatening consequences. Here’s a list of high-risk foods that should be avoided by dysphagia patients.
Mixed Consistency Foods
These are foods with more than one texture or consistency. Examples include mixing cereal with milk, or bread that has been dipped in soup. Variance in food consistency makes it harder for patients to swallow and they might end up having food lumps stuck in their throat.
If you are looking to enhance the food with sauces or soup, take note to puree all the food and mix them together instead of serving foods with different consistencies.
Foods with Husks/Hulls
Husks or hulls refer to the dry outer covering of some foods - seeds, fruits or vegetables. The texture and dryness of the husks make it very difficult and dangerous for dysphagia patients, as they may trigger choking and aspiration. Some examples of foods with husks include granary, multi-grain breads, and vegetables such as corn on cob and barley.
If you are preparing meals involving foods such as corn, barley and wheat, it is important to check and that the packaging states that the ingredients have been hulled. Otherwise, you may also hull the ingredients at home by hand.
Foods with a fibrous or “stringy” texture should also be avoided as they may cause a gag reflex when dysphagia patients try to swallow them. Examples of such foods include celery, string beans, melted cheese and pineapple.
If you are looking to prepare a well-balanced and nutritious meal, consider replacing the stringy, fibrous ingredients with items such as GentleFoods’ pureed broccoli, pumpkin and fruit juices that are available for immediate consumption.