Schwartz September 2019

Better Dining for Dysphagics

Eating well-presented, nutritious (and yummy) food is not only essential but a pleasure that most take for granted. Unless you have dysphagia that is.

Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing affects both the young and elderly and makes it impossible to enjoy a normal diet.

Evidence is growing showing that dysphagia is more prevalent amongst babies and children due to high survival rates of premature births and babies with disabilities. It is estimated that 60-75% of people in care homes are also affected. Catering for this special group can pose a challenge. To help chefs and caterers, Premier Foods has released a catering guide to dysphagia with advice and tips on how to provide safe, nutritious and appetising meals. Here’s some of its top tips:

Ideal foods

A dysphagia diet consists of pureed food, so not all food is ideal.

  • Some meals or dishes can be pureed effectively by softening them first with a liquid such as fruit juice, cream, yoghurt, meat juices, gravy or vegetable water. This can also add essential nutrients
  • Flapjacks, cheesecake bases, Yorkshire puddings and pizza can all be softened with a liquid prior to pureeing
  • Add as many nutrients to recipes as possible so that the food is packed full of goodness. For example, think about adding a sweet potato or parsnip to mashed potato or orange juice to chocolate cake when pureeing
  • Always season food well and check again before serving as pureed food can lose some of its flavour after thinning

    Serving suggestions

  • Food can and should still look appealing and appetising to tempt diners.
  • Pipe purees into rings, set in moulds or make interesting shapes on the plate
  • Keep food separate when plating up. For example, if serving a roast dinner carefully place the meat, vegetables and any sides the same way you would with a non-pureed meal
  • Layering food is a great way to present savoury dishes like cottage pie and desserts such as rice pudding with pureed peaches
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