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How To Eat When You're Having Trouble Swallowing

How To Eat When You're Having Trouble Swallowing

People who have trouble swallowing often can't get the nutrients they need. Watch this film to make sure you stay healthy when this issue arises.

Step 1: You Will Need

  • Ice
  • Food
  • Things to make your food smoother
  • A Blender
  • A Spoon

Step 2: Prepare

Plan your meals. Five smaller, more frequent meals may be easier for you to handle than the traditional three daily meals. As you prepare for the meal, get rid of any distractions that may interfere with your concentration.

Step 3: Choose Your Food

Your first concern should be your nutrition. If swallowing issues are preventing you from eating the larger meals you're used to, make sure your smaller meals are packed with the calories and nutrients you need.

Eating soft foods. They should be smooth, easy to chew or can blend easily. Also consider meal-replacement products that offer compact nutrition.

Step 4: Avoid Trouble Foods

Avoid foods that crumble or break into small pieces, such as muffins, nuts and potato chips. These pieces can tickle an agitated throat and start a coughing reflex.

Also, avoid foods that are tough. Steak and beef jerky are hard to chew and swallow when you aren't having swallowing issues, and it won't be any easier today.

Step 5: Smooth Your Food

The key to making food go down smoothly is to make your food smooth. Add moisture to your food, using things like sauces, dressings, creams, condiments and butter.

Another way is to blend, or "puree" your food. Cut up a nutritious food, put it into the blender. Add a little water or juice and blend.

Step 6: Thicken Your Liquids

If you are having a difficult time drinking thin liquids, you should thicken your liquids, so your fluids go down easily.

See VideoJug's "How To Drink When You're Having Trouble Swallowing".

Step 7: Ice Up

Chew on a few crushed ice cubes for about 20 minutes before mealtime. This likely will reduce swelling you have in your throat, and possibly improve saliva production, which is helpful if you have dry mouth.

Step 8: Sit Up

During your meal put both feet on the floor and sit upright.

Sit like this during your meal, and for half an hour after eating. Lying or reclining can get food caught in your esophagus and also delay the natural process of digestion.

Step 9: Breathe

Breathing through your nose will reduce the risk of inhaling small parts of your food. If your nose is clogged, blow your nose before you start eating, and between bites.

Step 10: Take A Bite

Take half a tablespoonful of your food. Put the food in the front of your mouth.

Step 11: Keep Your Lips Sealed

Make sure you keep your mouth closed. This will assure your mouth doesn't get dry, and you won't accidentally breathe through your mouth, which could cause food to go down the into the lungs.

Step 12: Chew

Keep your chin down as you chew. Move the food from one side of the mouth to the other. Chew until the food in your mouth is well-mashed and soft. It may take longer than you're used to.

Make sure you have enough saliva built up to swallow smoothly. If your mouth is too dry, very carefully take a sip of water to compensate.

Step 13: Prepare To Spit

If you feel you've bitten off more than you can chew, you must spit it out.

Step 14: Swallow

Once your food is thoroughly chewed and moist, attempt to swallow. If all your preparation went well, you should be able to swallow enough for a healthy small meal.

If you can swallow, but it's still painful, try sucking on ice between bites.

Step 15: Seek Help

If you find yourself coughing throughout the process, or it's just too painful to swallow using these methods, your swallowing problems may be the sign of a larger problem, so seek medical attention. Pain medication, feeding tubes or other methods are available to help those with more serious swallowing problems.