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Soft food ideas for the elderly

Updated July 20, 2017

As you age, it becomes more challenging to obtain an adequate amount of food due to poor oral health or difficulty in chewing solid food. Oral surgery, diseases of the throat and mouth or wearing dentures are common factors that often make it harder to chew and swallow a variety of foods to stay healthy. A diet of soft food or food that is easy to chew and swallow can allow you to meet your nutritional needs while still enjoying the pleasure of eating.

Breakfast

A breakfast of soft foods does not need to be boring. It should be based on a variety of foods to meet your nutrient needs. Soaking hard cereals and grains in milk or cream can make them softer and easier to tolerate. Examples of soft foods for breakfast include stewed fruit with yoghurt, scrambled eggs and porridge, baked beans, or French toast without crusts and with fruit sauce or syrup.

Lunch

Ideas for lunches based on soft foods include egg salad, liver pate, or tuna salad on soft, buttered bread with no crusts. Puréeing vegetables and legumes into soups is an easy way to increase fibre intake. Dips such as hummus, cream cheese or guacamole with soft breads are also options for healthy lunches that are easy to tolerate if you have trouble swallowing or chewing.

Dinner

Eating a variety of foods that include adequate amounts of protein should be the main focus for dinner time. Make a stew with slow-cooked meats and colourful vegetables. Cook minced meat, chicken or pork in gravy or cook lean meats until they are tender. Pasta dishes such as macaroni and cheese or buttered noodles with Parmesan cheese are well tolerated if you have difficult swallowing. Casseroles or shepherd's pie are also examples of soft food dishes that add variety and taste to your diet.

Desserts

Desserts based on soft foods do not have to be bland. Cream pies, custards or sponge cake are examples of delicious soft foods. Cookies can be dipped into tea or coffee to soften their texture. Canned fruit soaked in juice or syrup can be substituted for hard, solid fruits. Puréeing fresh fruit into a smooth consistency can make a sweet treat as well.

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About the Author

As a leading expert in nutrition, Wan Lu is a consulting dietitian for healthcare professionals and individual clients. She delivers nutrition seminars focused on healthy eating and nutritional supplementation. Having graduated from the University of Guelph with a master's degree in applied nutrition, Wan is currently a member of College of Dietitians of Ontario, Dietitians of Canada and the Canadian Society of Nutritional Sciences.