Food Ideas for Parents of Children with Dysphagia

Parents are resilient, and while it certainly can be a challenging and stressful time, supporting a child with dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, parents find a way. While it's certainly not easy to find foods that are safe to eat, with a little creativity and a lot of planning, there are several options that can be modified to meet your children's needs.

Here are some food ideas for parents of children with dysphagia or trouble swallowing. Remember, it's always important to get the opinion of a healthcare professional on what the best course of action is for your child's specific needs. 

Pureed Vegetables

Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but their texture can be challenging for children with dysphagia. One solution is to puree vegetables to make them easier to swallow. You can steam or roast vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, or sweet potatoes, then blend them with a little water or broth until smooth. You can also add some herbs or spices to make the puree more flavorful.

Soft Fruits

Fruits are also an important part of a healthy diet and can be a delicious sweet treat. Soft fruit like bananas, peaches, and avocados can be easily mashed to make them easier to swallow. Other more solid fruits can be pureed. It's also a good idea to use fruit to make delicious smoothies, simply blend some fruit with a little milk or yogurt. You can make fun colors depending on the fruit you use, making meal times more enjoyable.

Soups and Stews

Soups and stews can be another great option for feeding children with dysphagia. They can be easily pureed to create a smooth texture. You can make a simple chicken or vegetable soup with pureed vegetables and meat or try a hearty beef stew with soft, cooked vegetables. Make sure to use SimplyThick food thickeners to ensure the soup or stew has the right consistency to meet your child's specific needs.

Soft Grains

Grains like rice and quinoa can be difficult for some children with dysphagia to eat, but they can be modified to make them easier to swallow. Cook the grains in a little extra water or broth to create a softer texture, or try blending them with some broth or pureed vegetables to create a soft, creamy texture.

Nut Butter and Yogurt

Nut butter and yogurt are both soft and easy to swallow, making them a great option for children with dysphagia. You can spread nut butter on soft bread or crackers or mix it with some yogurt or mashed fruit for a tasty dip. Yogurt can also be blended with soft fruits or vegetables to create a smoothie or puree that your child can drink. 

When it comes to feeding a child with dysphagia, it's important to work closely with a healthcare professional, such as a speech therapist or registered dietitian, to ensure that your child's nutritional needs are being met. They can provide guidance on the best foods and textures for your child's needs, as well as strategies for making mealtimes safe and enjoyable. 

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