Meat and Alternatives
As a general rule of thumb, an individual should aim to consume two to three servings of meat and alternatives. These foods are high in protein and help maintain and build muscle mass. Examples include one palm size serving of meat, two small blocks of soft beancurd, two glasses of milk, or three eggs.
Patients on a blended diet should only consume cooked and skinned meats or fish that are blended to a smooth consistency without lumps or hard pieces. Good choices of fish include oily fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. These mediterranean fishes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your heart health and reduce inflammation.
Eggs and dairy products are also good sources of proteins. Eggs are rich in different vitamins and minerals including Vitamin D, B6, B12, selenium and lutein. Poached eggs is a delicious and nutritious breakfast choice, while steamed eggs can be served as a nutritious side dish for lunch or dinner.
You may eat an egg everyday if you are unable to consume adequate protein from other sources. To increase the caloric content of the egg dishes, you can add in mayonnaise and butter. These condiments are also great flavour enhancers that can help boost appetite.
In addition to being good sources of proteins, dairy products are also high in calories, calcium and Vitamin D. All of these nutrients are important for maintaining strong bones and reduce risk of osteoporosis and fractures in seniors.
For those who prefer to include milk as part of the diet, milk may have to be thickened with a thickener or thickening powder before consumption. The fluid consistency varies across patients and should adhere to the dysphagia diet level recommended by the speech therapist. Choose full cream and flavoured milk instead of skim milk to increase calorie intake and regain weight quickly. For vegetarians, you may choose to consume 1-2 cups of soy milk daily.
Yoghurt is a good nutrient-dense choice for a midday snack as it provides high calories, protein, calcium and probiotics. Greek yogurt generally has a thicker consistency than normal yoghurt and is more suitable for patients who require only slightly thickened fluids. To avoid choking risk, opt for plain or smooth yoghurt as flavoured yoghurt with bits of fruits or seeds content may not be suitable for patients who are unable to chew and/or swallow.
When planning a diet, it is recommended to include a variety of foods so as to ensure a well-balanced diet. If you require help planning a diet, subscribe to GentleFoods’ weekly meal planner that provides a balanced, delicious and safe diet for your loved ones.