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Pureed Food for Adults

Chad Birt
Written by Chad Birt on Wed Mar 24 2021.
Pureed Food for Adults

People who have difficulty swallowing, biting, or chewing can benefit from pureed food for adults. 

By serving your loved one meals with a soft, pudding-like consistency, it’s possible to provide them with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need while lowering the risk of choking or digestive issues.

To determine if pureed foods are right for your senior, it’s important to know a little bit about them. This article answers the following questions:

What is pureed food?

The term pureed food refers to a texture-modified diet that consists of snacks and meals that don’t have to be chewed. These items are mildly thick or soupy by nature, making them easy to swallow and digest. 

If you care for someone who experiences difficulty swallowing or chewing, they’re more likely to experience nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies are dangerous at any age, but in older adults, they can compromise the immune system, slow down the body’s natural healing process, and increase the risk of infection.

Pureed foods can combat these and other issues by making it easy to access critical nutrients and maintain a healthy weight.

Who can benefit from eating pureed food?

Often, pureed food is recommended to people who have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). Your  loved one might also benefit from a pureed diet due to:

  • Oral or dental surgery

  • An injury to the jaw or gums

  • Digestive disorders

  • Oral infection (like gum disease)

  • Bariatric surgery

  • Missing teeth

  • Dementia

Certain neurological disorders can also affect an individual’s ability to bite, chew, or swallow, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or a stroke.

Related reading: What is Thick Water?

What types of foods can be pureed?

It’s possible to puree almost any solid food, but each type requires a slightly different approach:

Vegetables

Vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and cucumbers have tough, starchy exteriors. To make them more palatable, peel the skin and remove all the seeds before cooking or blending.

Fruits

To ensure a smooth consistency, peel fruits with skin like apples, peaches, or pears. Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, require a little more effort. Peel them, remove the seeds and stringy membranes, and then run what’s left through the blender or food processor. 

Meats and fish

Proteins like beef, chicken, and fish are rich in nutrients, including vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals support healthy muscle mass and help boost immune function. By combining solid proteins with gravy, broth, or cream sauce, it’s possible to smooth out their consistency and convert them to an easily digestible soup form.

Dairy products

Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk are high in fat and can help boost calories. Extra calories can provide a source of energy and prevent your loved one from losing weight.

Legumes

Peas, lentils, and beans (a group of vegetables known as legumes) are low in fat and contain no cholesterol. When cooked, they’re incredibly easy to break down and make an excellent base for soups or other pureed dishes.

Herbs and spices

It’s perfectly okay to include herbs and spices in a pureed diet, but don’t go overboard. Certain ingredients, like cayenne and black pepper, are strong and may irritate sensitive taste buds. You can minimize some of the excess flavor by incorporating a thickening agent or mayonnaise. 

What do I need to prepare tasty pureed food for adults?

Preparing tasty pureed foods for adults is easy and hassle free. To get started, you’ll need:

  • A blender or food processor

  • Knives for cutting and chopping

  • Peeler

  • Thickening agent(s)

The steps for making pureed food depends on the recipe, but the process typically requires three steps:

Step one. Peel and chop up large fruits or vegetables into small, bite-sized chunks. If you’re preparing meat or dairy, cut them into pieces that are safe for a blender or food processor.

Step two. Move the bite-sized chunks into a blender or food processor and break them down into even smaller pieces.

Step three. Add water, broth, or another type of liquid to ensure the correct texture and thickness. If the mixture is too watery, incorporate a food or drink thickener into the mix to achieve a more pudding-like consistency.

If you don’t have the time or necessary tools to make pureed food at home, you can purchase it pre-prepared. 

What should I consider when selecting pureed foods?

When selecting pureed foods for your loved one, there are several important factors to consider, including:

Nutrition

A pureed diet should provide the same amount of nutrition as one consisting of traditional whole foods. To achieve this goal, it’s important to incorporate all of the food groups, including fruits and vegetables, protein, starches, dairy, and fat. 

When transitioning to a pureed diet, regularly monitor your loved one’s weight. If they start losing muscle mass or fat, add in protein or swap-in high calorie substitutes. For example, you can replace skim milk for whole milk or mozzarella cheese with cheddar. 

Texture

Some people find the texture of pureed foods unpalatable. To make dishes like beef or chicken more enjoyable, transfer the liquid mixture to a food mold. If a puree is too watery, you can add a thickening agent like cornstarch or arrowroot to make it more pudding-like.

Preparation requirements

Preparing a pureed meal doesn’t require a lot of extra tools, but it takes time to break everything down in the blender or food processor. If you work full-time in addition to caring for a loved-one, you can save a lot of time and energy by buying pre-pureed foods. If you enjoy making meals yourself, set aside a few hours each week for meal prep. 

Where can I buy pureed food for adults?

You can buy pureed foods for adults at most grocery stores and big box retailers. We also carry a number of items right here on the Carewell website. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our most popular product offerings:

Thick & Easy’s line of pureed meals offers exceptional quality and superior taste, no freezing or refrigeration required. When your loved one is ready to eat, simply place the ready-to-serve tray in the microwave and cook for 60 seconds. 

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Each order contains seven meals

  • Each meal is 260 calories

  • Ready to serve

  • Puree consistency

Ensure® Nutritional Pudding

Ensure nutritional pudding is a fun and delicious way to access extra calories without consuming an entire meal. Each four-ounce cup boasts a creamy texture and four grams of protein. It’s safe for people with unique needs, including those on gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, or low-residue diets.

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Provides nutritional support for people with dysphagia or malnutrition

  • Great taste

  • Comes in a case with 48 servings

  • Ready to use

Thick-It® Mixed Fruit and Berry Puree in a Can

Thick-It® purees were developed by a registered dietician. Each offering is pre-cooked, ready-to-eat, and specifically designed for people who have difficulty swallowing. Thick-It purees have a palatable texture and a balance of vitamins and minerals, ensuring hassle-free meal times and proper nutrition.

Key Benefits & Features:

  • 50 calories per serving

  • Ready to use

  • Puree consistency

  • 11 grams of sugar

What if I still have questions?

Making the transition to a pureed food diet isn’t always easy. Researching different products takes time and effort, and the texture and flavor of pureed meals can take a little bit of getting used to.

If you’re unsure where to begin or you still have questions, reach out to our friendly Care Team. Call (855) 855-1666 or send an email to support@carewell.com.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.