Posted by Brianna Maguire on Nov 13th 2020
Getting the proper nutrition can be tricky, especially if you have a loss of appetite or difficulty swallowing. That's why we offer convenient, microwavable meals that make mealtime a breeze. We even offer special options for those that need pureed foods and those that are undergoing treatments.
What are they?
Purees and meals are designed to provide convenience and dignity, even for those with conditions that make eating difficult. Easy to store and easy to prepare, these pre-cooked meals make mealtime a breeze. Plus, they come in delicious flavors like chicken and dumplings, lasagna, and vegetarian stew.
What kind of purees and meals are there?
Our purees and meals are specially designed to help those that struggle to maintain nutrition through traditional meals. We offer advanced nutrition solutions that help those undergoing cancer treatments, facing dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), or anyone that wants to add a boost of nutrition to their diet.
Our main options are:
Pureed foods, like Thick & Easy
Pureed foods are delicious meals pre-pureed into convenient, single-serve packages. These are a smooth-textured meal ideal for those that have trouble chewing and swallowing traditional food. Like other microwave dinners, these can be prepared in the microwave and safely store on the shelf - no refrigeration required.
Microwave meals, like Vital Cuisine
The microwave meals we offer are specially created to help those battling cancer or undergoing treatments. Vital Cuisine meals, made in partnership with the Cancer Nutrition Consortium, provide light, convenient meals that help cancer patients with weight management and energy. Plus, they’re delicious and nutritious - anyone can eat them!
Nutritional pudding, like Ensure Pudding
Nutritional puddings are delicious, dessert-like alternatives to nutrition shakes. Packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, these are ideal for those with dysphagia, texture sensitivities, or anyone with a sweet tooth!
What is dysphagia?
The term “dysphagia” refers to any difficulty swallowing, and can encompass a wide range of conditions. For those with dysphagia, a speech pathologist or doctor should recommend a consistency that works for you.
The most common consistency types for thickened liquids include:
- Nectar thick. Check out our nutrition drinks for nectar-thick options!
- Honey thick. For a honey thickness, use a thickener, like those in our food additives category.
- Pudding thick, or pureed food. All of our purees and meals fit into this category.
How do purees and meals work?
All of our purees and meals work like traditional food! Just prepare them according to the package instructions and enjoy delicious, nutritious meals.
Here’s some more detailed information about our most popular types:
Our purees are pre-prepared meals that allow you to conveniently microwave and serve food, no blender required.
Here’s how they work:
- Real food is blended into a mashed potato-like consistency. Unlike thin purees, this thicker consistency prevents pureed food from running down the throat and into the lungs
- Liquid is bound to food pulp during the pureeing process, meaning that liquid won’t separate from the food and become difficult to swallow
Vital Cuisine Microwave Meals
Vital Cuisine is a special line of meals designed for the nutritional needs that come with cancer treatment. Many people undergoing chemo and radiation therapy suffer a loss of appetite and energy. Vital Cuisine makes it a little easier by offering a convenient, microwavable meal solution specially tailored to their unique needs.
Here’s how they work:
- Added calories help with weight loss prevention, promoting faster recovery
- Extra protein helps prevent muscle mass loss
- Special vitamins and nutrients give added energy
- The ingredients that usually affect taste and smell have been taken out, so it’s easier for those undergoing treatments to consume the meals
Nutritious pudding has the same delicious taste as regular pudding, but with the added nutritional value of a nutrition shake. They feature vitamins, minerals, protein, and the extra calories needed to maintain or gain weight.
Here’s how they work:
- Used as a nutritious alternative to snacks or desserts
- For those with dysphagia, nutritious pudding offers a thicker alternative to nutrition drinks
What features exist?
Our purees and meals come in an array of delicious flavors like roast beef and gravy, Italian beef lasagna, turkey with stuffing and green beans and more. Plus, our sweeter options come in rich chocolate and creamy vanilla flavors.
Range of thickness/consistencies
For those with swallowing difficulty, our products come in various consistencies. Check with your doctor to see which textures are best for your needs.
Amount of vitamins and minerals
Some of our products contain 26 essential vitamins and minerals, for those that are looking to add some extra nutrition.
Appropriate for use with dysphagia
Some of our products - like puddings and purees - are designed to accommodate difficulty swallowing, but make sure you talk with your doctor about what consistencies are safe for your unique needs.
Amount of calories
If you’re trying to gain weight or hit a certain calorie count per day, you’ll want to be mindful of the amount of calories in each product - you can find this information in the product description.
Amount of protein
For some - like those recovering from an illness or undergoing treatments - maintaining a certain level of protein can be vital for well being. Be sure to keep your protein needs in mind when choosing which product is right for you.
Most of our purees and meals feature convenient and simple preparation - just pop them in the microwave for a minute, and you’re good to go!
Suitable for lactose intolerance
Many of our puree and meal options are suitable for lactose intolerance, but keep in mind that this doesn’t mean they’re suitable for galactosemia.
Gluten-free, Halal, and Kosher
We offer gluten-free, Halal, and Kosher options - just check the product descriptions for details.
Who should use them?
Purees and meals are ideal for:
- Those with texture sensitivities
- Those with difficulty swallowing
- Those undergoing cancer treatments
- Those who want a quick, simple meal
- Those looking to gain or maintain weight
- Those who struggle to cook meals
- Those who want a healthier dessert alternative
- Those looking for something they can use as sole-source nutrition
- Those with lactose or gluten-free diets looking for nutritious meals
Who shouldn't use these?
Our purees and meals are not ideal for:
- Those who are looking to lose weight
- Those on low-sugar diets (check specific product descriptions for sugar counts)
- Those who are environmentally conscious, or don't like the idea of pre-packaged meals
- Those who prefer to cook their own meals
How do I choose?
When deciding what purees and meals options are right for you, keep in mind:
Your own health needs.
- If you have dysphagia, go with a pureed meal or a pudding
- If you’re undergoing cancer treatments, go with something like Vital Cuisine
- If you’re just looking to add a boost of extra nutrition, choose a pudding
Your flavor preferences.
For our meals, we have delicious options like Italian Lasagna, Chicken and Dumplings, and even breakfast options like Maple Cinnamon French Toast. For puddings, we offer both rich Chocolate and creamy Vanilla.
Our caregivers love purees and meals from brands like Ensure, Thick & Easy, and Vital Cuisine.
Some of our caregivers' favorite products are:
Ensure Original Pudding
Delicious and nutritious, our caregivers love this pudding. For those with dysphagia, it’s a tasty alternative to pureed meals. For those with a sweet tooth, it’s a great way to kick those cravings will adding a little extra nutrition to your diet.
Thick & Easy Purees, Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
This is a fan-favorite for those with dysphagia - the flavor is subtle but delicious and with 250 calories and 14 grams of protein, these dinners are as filling as they are tasty.
Even if a puree or meal says that it’s suitable for lactose-intolerance, that doesn’t mean its suitable for those with galactosemia. Galactosemia is a more rare form of lactose-intolerance, where someone is intolerant of the sugar portion of the milk-sugar protein. Basically, as long as you don’t have galactosemia, you should be good to go!