Acute care speech-language pathologist Ann Collins is used to getting questions from people newly diagnosed with dysphagia. Below she answers some of the more typical questions she receives.
Can I put thickeners in my morning coffee or other hot beverage?
“Yes,” says Collins. From chamomile to Darjeeling, almost any hot beverage can be thickened and enjoyed with thickening powder. Patients looking for the comfort of their daily cup can also try pre-thickened hot beverages, such as coffee and tea, available in either nectar or honey-thick.
Can wine or beer be thickened?
“Yes, but check with your physician first,” Collins advises.
Are these products okay people with diabetes?
“It’s always a good idea to check with a doctor before making dietary changes for people with diabetes,” she explains. There are interesting and varied choices available, including specially formulated reduced-calorie or low-sugar versions of chocolate and vanilla puddings, instant breakfast mixes and nutritional shakes.
Can I thicken large quantities of foods and beverages ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator?
“Yes,” says Collins. “[Thickened foods and beverages] will be just fine in refrigerator storage, so they can be prepared, chilled and used as needed.” Hot or cold, THICK & EASY® thickeners and pre-thickened products maintain their consistencies. This makes it easier to get creative and get the most out of each meal. For instance, with a little sugar and spice, a pureed bread mix easily transforms into warm, tasty cinnamon rolls.
Can I put ice in thickened beverages?
Collins warns against putting ice in thickened beverages. Melting ice cubes can dilute thickened liquids, making them unsafe to swallow. Instead of adding ice, advises Collins, “chill the beverage before thickening it.”
Can I take pills with thickened beverages?
Collins approves. If you generally take your pills in the morning, consider flavorful pre-thickened orange juice which is fortified with a day’s worth of Vitamin C.
Should I use thickening powder, or order pre-thickened foods and beverages?
Says Collins, “You may want a combination.” With thickening powders, many favorite foods and beverages won’t have to be shelved for the sake of swallowing safety. Add even more variety and convenience with pre-thickened foods and beverages.
Travel and tight schedules can be easier managed with such options as Italian style lasagna with meat sauce, roasted turkey with bread stuffing and green beans.
Ann Collins is an acute care speech-language pathologist with Carolinas Medical Center/Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, N.C.
Tags: dysphagia, dysphagia diet, meals for swallowing problems, ready to serve, THICK & EASY® Instant Food & Beverage Thickener, THICK & EASY® Plus Fortified Instant Food & Beverage Thickener, THICK & EASY® Pureed Bread Mix