Puréed Foods: How they can help
Here at Wiltshire Farm Foods we believe everyone should have access to delicious, wholesome food. This is especially true for individuals with dysphagia, commonly referred to as swallowing difficulty. If you have difficulty swallowing, or an issue with chewing due to problems with your teeth, you may be required to eat puréed foods. So whether it be swallowing or chewing problems, caused by whatever condition, the challenges presented by dysphagia make it hard to get the nutrition needed by an individual – let alone enjoy food.
We hope this blog will provide some helpful information as to how Wiltshire Farm Foods can help bring back some dignity and enjoyment to dining for anyone with swallowing difficulties.
What is Dysphagia?
Dysphagia is the most common reason for individuals to be restricted to puréed foods. This may also be referred to as a texture-modified diet by healthcare professionals, such as Dietitians and Speech and Language Therapists. Dysphagia is most frequently associated with neurological conditions such as dementia, respiratory diseases such as COPD, stroke and head and neck cancers. Symptoms of Dysphagia can include any of the following:
Individuals with dysphagia are at a high risk of aspirating food or drink which is not the appropriate texture. Aspiration occurs when food or liquid is poorly swallowed and travels down the trachea (windpipe) and into the lungs, as opposed to down the oesophagus and into the stomach. Food or liquid in the lungs can block your airway, causing coughing or choking and can also lead to aspiration pneumonia which requires immediate medical treatment.
How Can a Puréed Diet Help?
If a healthcare professional has recommended that you follow a (Level 4) puréed diet, it is because this is the safest texture for you to eat. Eating puréed foods can reduce your risk of choking on or aspirating food. Generally speaking, a puréed meal should always meet the following criteria:
• The texture is smooth throughout, with no lumps, husks, gristle, bone, shell or skin present.
• The food does not need to be chewed and is moist.
• Liquid on/in the meal e.g. gravy should be as thick as the purée itself and should not have separated off.
• It is a thick purée that is not rubbery or sticky in the mouth.
• The meal must not have a garnish.
Many individuals make their own puréed foods at home using a domestic blender. This can often prove challenging to achieve the above criteria, especially when blending items such as meat, fibrous vegetables or starchy foods such as rice. If meals are blended incorrectly, this can compromise the texture of the meal and what will be produced is often not a true puréed meal, posing a greater risk of choking or aspirating than a true puréed meal. Another challenge of home blending is that often water is added to aid the blending process which can literally dilute the nutritional content of each mouthful.
Wiltshire Farm Foods Softer Foods Range: Purée Meals
We have an award-winning range especially dedicated to ensuring delicious and safe purée meals are available without the hassle of blending at home – our Softer Foods range.
This range consists of 34 Purée Classic dishes and 20 Purée Petite dishes, all expertly created by our Head Chef, Phil Rimmer, alongside our in-house Dietitian. We have worked hard to ensure the food looks as good as it tastes - each meal is moulded into a shape that makes them recognisable and more appetising.
Every meal within the Purée Petite range has a 40% smaller portion size than our Purée Classic meals, whilst containing at least 500 calories and a sizeable 16g of protein. We also have a delicious range of puréed snacks, sandwiches, breakfasts and desserts, so that there is a tasty option for every time of the day.
All our meals are delivered directly to your freezer by one of our friendly local drivers, meaning that our great food is there when you need it, and on ice when you don’t.
Why not take a look at our Softer Foods brochure, which features all our puréed meals in more detail. Simply request a free brochure from the link below.