Blending meals so they are suitable and safe to eat for someone with swallowing or chewing difficulties can be very challenging.
Certain foods do not blend down well and it can be hard to get the right texture and consistency that is safe to eat. For example, blending peas or sweet corn can leave husks in the blended meal which create a choking risk.
There are other foods that don’t blend well, or can present problems when they are blended. Some things to bear in mind:
Fresh fish containing bones should not be blended as it increases the risk of choking
Vegetables that are stringy or have skins such as runner beans, peas, sweet corn and celery are difficult to blend to a smooth consistency and increase the risk of choking
Fruits that have pips, seeds or skins pose the same risk of choking. Blending these fruits and then sieving will reduce the risk
Bread can also be hard to liquidise and freshly baked bread should be avoided
Other foods that do blend well are:
Meat and chicken, which should be cooked first and any fat or gristle removed before blending
Pasta should be cooked first until it is soft and then blended with a sauce such as a cream or cheese based sauce
Potatoes are also easy to blend and should be cooked first until soft and then blended with milk and butter or margarine. Be careful not to over blend as they can go sticky
Adding cream, milk (including evaporated or condensed), yoghurt, ice cream and custard to puddings will help achieve the right consistency
You can use tinned fruit but ensure you drain the syrup or juice first before you blend
It is also hard to make blended food look appetising, something that is key if you or the person you are caring for is struggling to eat. It’s important to prepare appetising and nutritious meals to ensure the person with swallowing difficulties eats well and doesn’t become malnourished.
Our range of Shaped Puréed and Soft Meals are designed to bring the dignity and enjoyment back to dining. We have worked hard to ensure the food looks appetising and tastes great, whilst also having the right texture and consistency to give you peace of mind.
Our ready meals come frozen and ready to pop in the microwave or oven – much quicker and easier than blending. They are also nutritionally balanced, so you or your loved one is getting the goodness needed to recover an illness or to stay well.
Helen worked in the NHS for over seven years, and has been very impressed by the soft foods range at Wiltshire Farm Foods, in particular the moulded meals which are incredible and are a real breakthrough for Wiltshire Farm Foods.
Helen Willis BSc RD Wiltshire Farm Foods Dietitian