How to Adjust Life at Home: Modified Texture Diets

With some medical conditions, the speech therapist or medical provider may prescribe a modified textured diet when someone has difficulty swallowing food. This may result from an injury, worsening illness, or a stroke. Many times when patients are required to modify the texture of the diet it is to make the foods easier to swallow without choking on or breathing in their food. This helps to prevent complications such as choking or aspiration. Unfortunately, many families are intimidated by these modified textures and tend to either not comply or avoid making meals for their loved ones. Fortunately, the experienced staff at Angels on-Call Homecare will not only help prepare food of modified consistencies but can help put you at ease in providing for your loved one. Follow along today as we detail the modified textures and offer suggestions of what you can prepare your loved one.  

Modified Textures

Regular Diet

A regular diet is exactly what it sounds like, no modifications are made to the texture or consistency. As long as your loved one likes it, they can consume it. Regular textured diets may be modified for low sugar, fat, or salt content, without a change to form. Ask your nurse about your loved one’s specific restrictions and then shower them with delicious meals!

Soft Texture

A soft diet should consist only of soft and moist foods. Foods included can be naturally soft like bananas, scrambled eggs, or yogurt or they can be cooked to soften the texture like meat, vegetables, and potatoes. These softened foods should be moist naturally or they can be served with a sauce or gravy. A good rule of thumb when deciding if something is soft enough is they should be easy to chew and should not require biting or cutting and should not crumble. Casseroles, pasta, and most fruit are allowed on this diet.

Mechanical Soft

Mechanical soft is a common diet prescription for patients who have suffered a stroke. Foods on this diet should be mushy, but may still have lumps, like a thick and chunky mashed potato consistency.  Food should not be larger than a quarter inch and it should easily fall apart. On this diet, meats and other foods should be minced. Puddings, custards, soft pancakes or moist bread, oatmeal, and fruit can all be enjoyed on this diet.

Pureed Diet

A pureed diet is exactly what it sounds like, everything is pureed or blended to maintain a pudding-like consistency. Everything should be whipped until it is hummus-smooth and has no discernable chunks. Yogurt, pudding, and smooth ice cream can still be enjoyed on this diet. Creating smoothies or blending most foods — such as the process of making homemade baby food — should make them safe.

Thickened Liquids

Sometimes when a modification is recommended to alter foods, liquids may also need to be modified. While foods are usually softened to make them easier to swallow, drinks are thickened. Your home health nurse can help you navigate the use of commercial thickening products to make any beverage safe for your loved one.

Free Liquids

Free liquids mean that there is no change or modification required and your loved one may drink whatever they like.

Fraizier Free Water

Frazier free water means that your loved one can have sips of regular water. When this is ordered, they will likely have other restrictions related to fluids and swallowing. For instance, medications will likely be crushed or administered in something like applesauce or yogurt. Other liquids or liquids served with foods may still have to be thickened to prevent aspiration. Check with your home health nurse for good clarification.

Nectar-Thick

These fluids are the consistency of a thick juice — thick, not pulpy! They should move freely but leave a coating on a spoon used to stir it, like hummingbird food.

Honey-Thick

Honey thickened liquids should mimic the consistency of fresh honey. Food should slowly drip but should still be able to be slowly poured.

Pudding-Thick

Pudding-thick liquids should not drip or be drinkable but should be thick like yogurt. However, the liquids should not be so thick that they must be chewed. A good test is to put a spoon in it, the spoon should slowly fall to the side.

Once you are familiar with the basics and what consistency the food and drinks should be, you will once again feel comfortable preparing your loved one’s favorite dishes. At Angels on Call Homecare, our caring staff can help guide you on exactly what your loved one needs — and that is delicious homemade meals! When your loved one is experiencing changes, contact us for help. We have nutritionists, speech therapists, home health nurses, and companions who are there to watch over your loved one. Contact us to schedule your consultation today!

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