One of my dear blogging friends, Marion, asked me in her comment today for help planning a menu for an Advanced Parkinson’s guest she was expecting, who has trouble swallowing. After Googling on the subject, this seems to be the best general information I could find.
This is an excerpt from a very well written pdf article titled, Parkinson’s and Swallowing.
It is important that you continue eating your regular food until you are no longer able to do so safely. A regular diet with a wide range of tastes and textures is important to keep all of your muscles working, and encourage proper nutrition and hydration. Only if you begin experiencing significant difficulty, you may need to adapt your diet. While each individual will have different problems and therefore different solutions, the following suggestions may help.
• Food that is soft and moist, with a good flavour and smell, tends to be easier to swallow: custards, jelly, pureed fruit, sauces, spices and herbs.
• Avoid foods which are hard, dry, crumbly or stringy.
• Avoid mixed consistencies (e.g. solid plus liquid).
• Be careful with foods which stick to the roof of the mouth or get caught around the mouth: dry mashed potatoes, tomato with skin on, biscuits, bran flakes, hard-boiled eggs.
• Thicker fluids (e.g. nectars, milk shakes) may be easier to control and swallow than thin clear liquids, as they move more slowly.
• Keep food presentation appetising: flavour, smell and appearance of food.
• Relax and enjoy your food. It is good to have a break between mouthfuls and take sips of water during the meal. This will not only help you relax, but also allow you to clear your throat and mouth. You may need to swallow twice to clear each mouthful.
• Eat smaller portions more frequently, especially if time for meals is limited.
POSSIBLE PROBLEM FOODS
• mixed textures, like liquid with bits in (e.g. minestrone soup or watery mince);
• flakey biscuits;
• hard toast or nuts, chocolate, grains, seeds;
• stringy, fibrous vegetables
FOODS THAT MAY BE EASIER TO SWALLOW
• mousse, custard, yogurt, ice cream
• souffle, omelette
• soup (Creamed would be my suggestion, based on other articles I’ve read.)
• fruit juice, pureed fruit
• pancakes (with syrup etc.)
• soft boiled rice
• well cooked vegetables
Hopefully this information will be of some help to Marion as she plans her menu, and possibly to others as well.