Making the most of a soft diet - tips for people who have difficulty swallowing.
If you need to eat a soft diet, it can be difficult to eat the right variety of food. You need to have enough calories to stay healthy and keep your weight up.
A food processor or liquidiser are a great help. Hand blenders are particularly quick and easy to use.
Soft diet tips
These tips can help you make the most of a soft diet.
Eat slowly, chew food thoroughly and drink when eating
- Avoid foods that need a lot of chewing and are hard to swallow - such as nuts, raw vegetables, dry biscuits, tough meat.
- Have plenty to drink during and after meals to soften your food and prevent blockages.
Eat ‘little and often’
- Having small frequent meals with snacks in between is often easier to cope with and will increase your nutritional intake each day.
Try soft foods
- Eat more stews and casseroles - long, slow cooking softens meat and vegetables.
- Use more sauces, gravies, cream, butter, milk or custard to soften foods - moist food is easier to swallow than dry. Try fish with a parsley sauce - or sponge cake with custard or cream.
- Make milkshakes (banana, chocolate, strawberry) and add ice cream for extra calories.
- Eat cereals such as porridge and other soft cereals.
Use a blender to process solid foods
- You can eat most of your favourite foods this way, with a few changes here and there.
- Mince meat or finely chop meat and vegetables in a food processor before or after cooking.
- Blend meat or vegetable casseroles or curries to make tasty soups.
- Try pureeing vegetables and mashed potatoes.
If you are trying to put on weight
- Use milk or cream instead of water when mashing or blending foods.
- Have plenty of high calorie drinks.
Have your food at the right temperature
- Let very hot meals or drinks cool before you eat or drink them - warm foods may be more soothing.
- Cold foods can be soothing too - for example, ice cream, yoghurt, mousse or jelly.