Elderly individuals are encouraged to eat soft snacks. Even if you are confident your teeth and gums can handle the forceful impact of hard food, you’ll reduce the chances of bleeding gums, chipped teeth and other oral health problems by choosing soft snacks. Let’s take a quick look at the best soft food ideas for the elderly.
Consider These Soft Food Ideas for Seniors
The aging process takes a toll on the teeth and the gums. If you haven’t reached the point at which you find it difficult to chew through food, it is only a matter of time until you are looking to eat soft foods more often. Soft foods are better than hard and sticky foods as they can be chewed through and swallowed with comparable ease. An added bonus is the fact that soft foods are digested that much more easily than hard foods and those that are difficult to chew through.
Pureed foods are some of the best soft snacks for the elderly. You can puree your own food or buy prepackaged pureed foods in stores. From pudding to Jello, applesauce and smoothies, there are countless purees and puree variations on the market.
If you are looking for warm soft foods and soft snacks for the elderly, you won’t have to do much research. Macaroni and cheese is one of the best soft foods (1). Seniors who grow tired of eating plain macaroni and cheese can add some extra flavor by incorporating well-cooked diced vegetables and/or finely chopped meat.
Soup is another delicious soft food option for senior citizens. Opt for canned soup or freshly-made soup concocted in your own kitchen and you’ll find it is that much easier to swallow and process than comparably chunky stews (2).
Soft Side Dishes for Seniors- Another Option for Soft Food
In terms of side dishes and soft snacks for the elderly, look no further than mashed potatoes. Add some butter and salt to your mashed potatoes and you’ll agree they are the perfect complement to your entrée.
Instead of chopping and baking your vegetables, steam them. Steamed soft vegetables are easy to chew through, even if you have few or no teeth (3). Just be sure to cook your vegetable side dishes all the way through when using the steamer before chowing down.
Applesauce is another popular side dish for dinner and lunch. Some seniors even save soft applesauce for dessert as it provides that tasty sweet final finish after a satisfying meal, yet is still considered healthy, even for diabetics.
Basic Guidelines for a Soft Foods Diet
When planning your meals for the week, square your focus on entrees, sides and desserts that are soft in the form in which they are sold. Give preference to soft foods when grocery shopping and you’ll have that much less work to do when preparing your meals and snacks. Opt for pureed, ground and chopped foots including those that can be easily broken apart with utensils. However, it is a mistake to overemphasize form over function. If your soft food diet has a nutritional imbalance, your physical health and possibly even your mental health will suffer.
Eat a balanced diet of soft foods containing essential nutrients and vitamins and you’ll find it is easy to chew through food while maintaining a healthy body and mind (4). When in doubt, give preference to soft snacks for the elderly that have added moisture or can be pureed or mashed without a considerable amount of effort. Incorporate fruits and vegetables, even if in smoothie form, with soft fish and ground meat and you’ll feel satiated without compromising your nutritional requirements.
A general rule of thumb is that you should consume five servings of well-cooked veggies and/or fruit for every two servings of meat or other protein. If you opt for soft fish, be sure to remove all the bones before digging in. The last thing you want is to bite down on a hard bone that causes significant gum pain, bleeding gums or the chipping of one of your sensitive teeth.
Summary and Final Words To Maintain Your Oral Health
As is commonly said, if there is a will, there is a way. Plan out your meals for the week ahead of time, focus on soft snacks, entrees and sides when grocery shopping and the stage will be set for pain-free eating. Drink at least eight small glasses of water per day and pair water with each meal to provide your aging body with essential moisture. Every senior should be aware that the body dries with age, meaning water becomes even more important once you reach your golden years.
If you are struggling to prepare your meals or find it difficult to incorporate soft foods into your meals and snacks, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Elite Care at Home is here to help improve your loved one’s quality of life. Our at-home nurses provide essential assistance to improve seniors’ quality of life. Reach out to us today at (305) 231-0555 to find out more about our services.
1. 18 Examples of Soft Foods For Elderly With No Teeth
2. Soft Food Recipes for the Elderly
3. 10 Foods for Seniors Without Teeth
4. Healthy Snacks for Older Adults