Having a complete and healthy diet is one of the biggest challenges of living with dysphagia. People who get diagnosed with the disorder often start losing their desire to eat because of how their meals have to be prepared. Some people didn’t know how to eat healthily before they were suffering from the disorder and now have to learn on the fly. You should know, however, that it is possible to eat properly on a dysphagia diet and make it fun as well. Let’s take a look at how you can eat a healthy diet when you have dysphagia.
Understand the Basics of Proper Nutrition
The very first thing you’ll have to understand is what having a healthy diet actually means. Many people still assume that eating healthily means eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and cutting sugar and fats. But that’s a gross misrepresentation and you can have an unhealthy diet even if most of your calories come from fruits and vegetables.
You need to have a balance of fats, carbs, protein, and vegetables in your diet if you want to be healthy. It’s all about getting them from the proper source and in the right quantities.
Slow digesting complex carbs are the best form of carbs that you can eat. These do not send your insulin skyrocketing like simple sugars and will give you steady energy for long periods. Pureed whole wheat bread is a great way to add them to your diet. They can also be found in fruits, which can be cooked or pureed.
When it comes to fats, go for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat sources like olive oil and fish. You can also get fat from various nut butters. When it comes to protein, you can get this from minced or pureed meat, eggs, and things like Greek yogurt, among others.
Look at Supplementation
If you have difficulty meeting your nutritional levels because you’re struggling with pureed foods, you’ll need to look at supplements. Various gel-based multivitamins are perfect for people with dysphagia. Look for vitamins that contain things like Vitamin D, iron, Thiamine (B1) folate, cobalamin (B12), zinc, manganese, and copper as these are the nutrients people who suffer from dysphagia tend to be deficient in the most.
Get Used to Thickeners
You should also learn how to use thickeners to make thickened versions of your favorite foods and drinks. Thickeners like SimplyThick can be added to soups to give them the proper consistency, for instance. Soup can also be blended and is one of the most convenient and nutritious dishes for people with dysphagia.
What’s great about soups is that you can fill them with all the nutrients you need, whether it’s protein, carbs, or vegetables. They also taste delicious when thickened.
As you can see, people with dysphagia can have a nutritious diet. Learn what that really means first and don’t be afraid to ask for advice if you’re having difficulty planning your meals.