As we age, nutrition becomes increasingly varied and at times difficult to manage. Getting the proper nutrition for older adults can be a challenge due to dietary restrictions, injury, inability to chew specific foods, or digestive upset or other health concerns. Often times, in order to get the best nutritional health benefits, a pureed diet is key.
What is a Puréed Diet?
According to the Alberta Health Services, a puréed diet is needed for people who have trouble chewing or swallowing. Puréed foods are soft, moist and smooth. They have the look and texture of pudding or mousse and they hold together. Puréed foods should not be lumpy, thin, or runny.
Benefits of Purée
Puréed foods are easier to swallow and digest. Meals that are puréed are often used when recovering from an illness or surgery, help to prevent weight loss and maintain your health or the health of your elderly loved ones. This option is not only easy to to make, but it packs a nutritional punch that your body may be lacking as it adds the necessary proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates for a balanced diet.
What Foods Can Be Puréed?
There are a variety of food options when it comes to purée. Most popular and delicious are those made from fresh, canned, cooked, or frozen vegetables and fruits. Surprisingly, you can also purée cooked meats and grains as well!
Some popular vegetables used for purée, are potatoes, squash, pumpkin, cauliflower, sweet potato, and carrot. Fruits, such as banana, mango, avocado, strawberries (strained), and apple are popular not only for nutrition, but taste as well. Recipes for puréed whole meals such as chicken and potatoes are also great options to maximize nutrition and offer variety, as well.
It may seem like you can purée just about anything, and yes, that may seem the case, but try to ensure you are choosing foods that are smooth, not chunky. Avoid using foods that have too many small seeds or hard skins that make it difficult to blend (such as raspberries or blackberries), fibrous fruits like pineapple, as they tend to be difficult to digest and maintain a smooth texture, and avoid adding nuts, seeds, and eggs to your purée.
Tips to Purée
A proper food processor is key when learning to purée foods. You can also use a blender to puree your food, but we find that food processors are better at creating the ideal texture and consistency. Most foods need to be cooked properly before you purée. This may include steaming or boiling vegetables or roasting meats and fish. Adding minimal water as you purée will also asisst in creating a smooth texture, without it being to watery.
There are many resources online or at your local health care facility that can assist with making the right choices.
Here are a few recipes we found from SeniorLink that you can try at home!
Avocado, Chicken, and Potato
A healthy dinner that covers all of your bases, avocado, chicken, and potato blend well together. Dice one cooked potato; one small, boneless chicken breast; and half of an avocado. Place your ingredients in the food processor alongside salt, pepper, and two teaspoons of milk. Process until the meal is smooth and creamy – there should be no chunks.
Mac & Cheese
Everyone loves macaroni and cheese. Thankfully, it’s quite an easy meal to puree, and your loved one will enjoy it. To start, prepare the meal as if you were making it for yourself. Add your mac and cheese to a food processor or blender alongside one cup of warm milk and blend. That’s it! Consider serving with some applesauce or pudding as a dessert.
Mango Banana Smoothie
A healthy dessert beverage, this mango banana smoothie recipe is delicious for everyone. Blend a frozen and sliced banana with a frozen and diced mango alongside a cup of plain Greek yogurt, a bit of honey, and two teaspoons of almond milk. Process until the smoothie is smooth with no fruit chunks.