Yummy Soft Foods For Seniors

Last updated: July 07, 2008
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Summer fruits and vegetables are filling markets, which is a gold mine for seniors who can only eat soft foods. (Conditions that can affect chewing and swallowing include stroke, spinal cord or brain injuries, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.)

If you're caring for someone who's on a soft diet, summer brings an abundance of nutritious, mashable, blendable, juiceable, puréeable fresh produce -- at decent prices. Don't trust your ability to prepare soft meals? No worries. The other good news is that today’s soft diet experience is far from those culinary dark ages of applesauce, pudding, and blah mashed potatoes.

What about zucchini pesto quiche, lime-strawberry slush, poached coconut-ginger salmon, orange scented carrot soup, or sherried beef sirloin tips? Recipes for these and many more yummy-sounding recipes are found in the growing body of soft diet cookbooks that take bland entirely out of the picture.

Take a look at these four books, which get great consumer reviews and include nutritional information and cooking tips. Sure, they cover summer treats like tropical fruit smoothies and fresh vegetable soups. But they're filled with four seasons worth of soft-dining pleasure.

  • The Dysphagia Cookbook: Great Tasting and Nutritious Recipes for People With Swallowing Difficulties. (By Elayne Achilles)
  • I Can’t Chew Cookbook: Delicious Soft Diet Recipes for People With Chewing, Swallowing, and Dry Mouth Disorders. (By J. Randy Wilson)
  • One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends. (By Rebecca Katz, Marsha Tomassi, and Mat Edelson) Not exclusively soft foods, but includes some wonderful recipes.

Image from Flickr User poldavo under a Creative Commons attribution license.

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5 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

over 1 year ago

My mom's 2 favorites are: (get this one!) grapefruit! I peel the grapefruit (for both of us, but for her, I also take off the light peal off the individual sections (I eat the peel myself), and just give her small chunks at a time - she LOVES it!. #2 is mashed sweet potatoes. I microwave the whole potato, scrape it out into the food processor, sometimes add applesauce, but usually just a pat of butter, some brown sugar and/or honey. I usually have to feed her myself, but when she has this, she wants to feed herself - and it is 'firm' enough to not drip off the spoon, so I let her! She cleans the bowl!!! (she is bedridden now)

over 3 years ago

@C Siganoff ~ there may come a time when it hurts too much to swallow. . . do not be afraid of having a feeding tube temporarily installed. . . will keep dad much better hydrated and fed. Just an observation ~ a friend did so and did very well.

over 3 years ago

Made the family a pasta hamberger dish and blended for my sweet patient. Spread on crackers, she ate all! She'd normally have spit out much of the meat, even though choped well. . . Happy sigh ~ Most anything could be similarly blended. . . no need to not have yummy meals!

about 4 years ago

my dad had all his teeth removed because he will start radiation treatments in his mouth next wk. We have been giving him soups , potatoes, jellow etc. He is hungry all the time and bored of his new diet.... Any suggestions

over 5 years ago

What a wonderful list of suggested resources. I've been caring for my brain injured 57 yr old husband for 2 yrs now. There are so many ordinary things that we take for granted, - like the ability to swallow food. Yet the process of moving the food through the mouth and down the throat without choking - is an incredibly complicated process. Just eating wears him out because every swallow is an effort requiring intense concentration. I'm definately going to check out the resources mentioned because I cook and prepare 95% of what he eats and I need new suggestions.

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