Dysphagia means having difficulty swallowing, so eating and drinking becomes a daily challenge. There are many causes of dysphagia, and many people living with this condition. Getting the right daily nutrition is important for overall health, so here are some tips that could help improve your diet.
Water is one of the most important essential nutrients, and dehydration is a big concern when dealing with dysphagia. Because of the risk of aspiration pneumonia, drinking liquids is avoided for safety. Each person is different, so you may have individual requirements for how smooth and thick liquids need to be. If there are drinks you used to enjoy, products such as SimplyThick can be used. This product can be easily added to numerous drinks such as juices, sodas, coffee, even beer or wine. Add as much as you need to reach your desired consistency and you are good to go.
Recipes to Improve Appetite
Improving or increasing dietary intake can be difficult when you don’t enjoy your meals. Recipes may or may not work depending on your own circumstances and your individual requirements. The IDDSI framework can be a helpful tool – some recipe books and online sites use this framework to help you choose meals which are safe for you. You should spend some time browsing recipes for inspiration, as finding food you love will boost your mood. Choosing the ingredients can be challenging but eating a variety of ingredients and not sticking to the same things every day will help ensure you are getting a good balance of nutrition. It will also keep you from getting bored.
Eating Little and Often
Planning your meals may take some time, but it is an effective strategy to ensure you meet your daily goals. Meal planning can be done through apps, or in a journal – however you prefer. It also makes grocery shopping easier if you plan your meals in advance. You can select ingredients that are seasonal but make sure to work to your budget. If you need to meet calorific targets, meal planning can help you monitor what you are eating each day. Some people find eating challenging to do for more than 10-15 minutes at a time, which is perfectly fine. If that is the case, ensure you eat meals more frequently. Eat your required portion sizes but spread them out into smaller meals across the day to suit your comfort and needs.
Adapting to Change
Whether this is a condition new to you or it’s something you’ve been dealing with for a while, embracing change is the way forwards. While dysphagia presents challenges, you are still in control. Find the time to find recipes you love, prep meals in advance for those busy days, and invest in gadgets and equipment that enhance and improve your daily cooking and meal prep. If you don’t want to spend hours cooking from scratch, you can look for pre-made stocks and broths to add, or frozen chopped fruit and veg. Equipment such as slow-cookers work well for one-pot recipes and you can cook batches of your favorite meals to freeze.
For more tailored advice, you may need to consult a trained nutritionist. Hopefully these tips will help you in your daily life to take control over your dietary intake and make mealtimes more enjoyable.
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