5 Changes To Improve Food Intake with Dysphagia͏͏͏͏
It is reported that 39% of people with dysphagia are at risk of malnutrition and in nursing homes this risk can reach up to 66%. These are really concerning statistics. With a diagnosis of dysphagia, not only does a person with dysphagia or a caregiver need to focus on learning how to modify solid food textures but also potentially thickening liquids as well.
With the risks of soft diets being lower in protein, vitamins, minerals, and total calories, and a risk of dehydration, often liquid nutritional supplements are added. However, with high levels of plate waste seen, it makes a common saying in the food world so relevant to people with dysphagia, "There is no nutrition in food not eaten."
Let's look at 5 changes that you can implement right now to help reduce the risks of malnutrition.
1. Eat smaller meals more often
A large plate of texture-modified food can be overwhelming to a generation that was told as children that they had to finish everything on their plate. By increasing eating opportunities from 3 times to 5-6 times per day and adjusting portion sizes based on preference and need, we can increase overall intake. Healthy snacking is an important element of meal planning for people with dysphagia.
2. Add finger foods to meal planning
Solid meltable finger foods, such as Savorease Crispy Melts, change the sensory experience of eating by giving a person the ability to touch their food and bring it to their mouth.
3. Improve the sensory experience
We eat with our eyes first. 3-D moulding and piping of puree can lead to a vast improvement in the eye appeal of pureed foods and increase intake.
Crispy Melts are the only transitional food (www.IDDSI.org) that has been proven to fit into a puree diet. Having a solid meltable adds eye appeal, acoustic stimulation, flavor intensity, and touch - a full sensory experience.
4. Add variety when possible
Variety is the spice of life! So how can we add more choices for day-to-day variety with a soft diet? Diversity in flavor and shape is all possible with texture-modified foods. By adding Crispy Melts (ie true solid meltable), you can achieve texture variety when recommended.
5. Increase sharing and socialization
Small changes can promote the appetite and increase food intake. Eating in the company improves the emotional experience of dining and is associated with greater food intake (Brown et al., 2013; de Castro, 1994; de Castro & de Castro, 1989).
Remember, adapting diets for dysphagia requires professional guidance. We encourage you to consult a healthcare professional, such as a speech-language pathologist or dietitian, for personalized dietary recommendations tailored to specific needs.
As we continue to raise awareness, we encourage you to share your experiences and recipes incorporating Savorease Crispy Melts with us. Together, we can inspire and support people on their food journeys with dysphagia.