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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tasty, Tempting Recipes for Caregivers to Make for Seniors on Soft Food Diets

Vegetable stews with pasta, home-made chicken noodle soup, and pureed vegetable soups are some of the aromatic and tempting foods that caregivers can make for seniors who are on a soft food diet. The smell of the stew or soup cooking, and the aroma when it's served, helps to encourage seniors with poor appetites to eat. When seniors are on a low-salt, low-sugar diet, the cooked fresh vegetables, perhaps seasoned with some herbs, make the food flavorful instead of too bland to seem appealing.

At Health Touch caregivers can read a check-list of foods allowed for seniors whose doctors have advised a soft diet due to swallowing or chewing difficulties. A diet of moist, soft food, eaten in very small bites, chewed slowly and eaten slowly, can be important for people with swallow difficulties, to prevent choking. The foods may need to be pureed, but if it only needs to be soft and moist below are some ideas for recipes.

For a soup base you can use water, salt-free bouillon or broth. Cut the vegetables up into very, very small pieces, and remove the seeds or skins. Add the vegetables first that will take the longest to cook. You can add herbs that the person cooking for you will be able to digest easily. Some herbs can be added right away, and others added toward the end of cooking the stew.

I have had good results with adding combinations of some of the following herbs, but not all of them at once; rosemary,thyme, sage, oregano, basil and parsley. The rosemary and thyme has been the most popular, and the smell of the herbs filling the house while they simmer is wonderful. It's a uplift by itself.

To choose the vegetables I ask the person whom I am assisting. If someone's memory is not good I can ask about certain vegetables individually. People often like to be included in the meal preparation, and to feel a part of the activity. They may enjoy sitting in the kitchen while I cut up vegetables and we can visit for awhile.

Adding small pieces of meat or fish is optional and up to the cook. Adding chicken or turkey, diced very small, works well.

Toward the end of the cooking you can add pasta, or cook it seperately and combine it before serving. Again, be sure it is diced into very small, fine pieces.

Health Touch recommends avoiding "broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts." Also the list said to avoid "cooked beans and peas."

If you make a large amount in a stew pot or crock pot you can freeze small servings in plastic containers and microwave it later. Some of it will have evaporated when you reheat it, but you can add water or broth so it has enough fluid.

Creamy soups, with pureed vegetables, can be made in a similar fashion. You will simply need to use a blender. Vegetables and cheese make a tasty creamy soup.

Making the stews and soups gives the house, condo, or apartment a warm, comforting feeling, and a friendly atmosphere. I like to ask people if they can remember what their favorite foods were when they were a child, and try to recreate those recipes.

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