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Easy to swallow foods

Download the "Easy to swallow foods" PDF

Protein foods

Meat and fish

  • Stewed, braised, or ground meat and poultry
  • Fish fillets, canned fish
  • Casseroles (e.g. creamed chicken, tuna casserole, shepherd’s pie)
  • Blenderized or minced meats, pâté

Dairy (lactose-free if needed)

  • Milk, milkshakes, smoothies with protein
  • Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, grated cheese (add to veggies, omelets, casseroles)
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt (choose Greek or Icelandic for more protein), yogurt drinks, kefir
  • Cream soups

Eggs

  • Scrambled or poached eggs
  • Quiche, soufflés, omelets
  • Egg salad

Plant-based

  • Soy milk
  • Tofu
  • Smooth nut butter
  • Hummus, bean dip, baked or refried beans
  • Mashed lentils, beans, or peas (mix with tahini or mayonnaise)
  • Split pea, lentil, or bean soup
Grains
  • Hot cereal (oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, oat bran, corn meal, rice cereal, grits, congee)
  • Pierogi
  • Buttered rice or noodles
  • Soft pasta dishes (e.g. macaroni and cheese)
  • Soft bread dipped in oil
  • Soups thickened with barley, noodles, or rice
  • Pancakes, french toast, or waffles with syrup
Vegetables
  • Well-cooked, soft vegetables like squash, cauliflower, green and yellow beans, peas, turnip, beets, yams, zucchini, carrots
  • Creamed spinach or corn
  • Mashed, whipped, or scalloped potatoes
  • Grated or shredded vegetables
  • Vegetables added to smoothies
Fruit
  • Avocado, banana, berries, melon, papaya, mango, soft pear
  • Applesauce, baked apples, stewed fruit (e.g. plums, apricots, pears)
  • Canned peaches or pears
  • Fruit added to smoothies
  • Low-acid juices like apple, grape, and white cranberry juice
Desserts
  • Cheesecake, cream pie, custard, mousse
  • Pudding, Jell-O
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet
  • Cookies dipped in milk or coffee

Others (great for adding extra calories)

  • Gravy, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, oil
  • Tahini
  • Cream and cheese sauces
  • Cream cheese
  • Table cream, whipping cream
  • Honey, jam, syrup
  • Specialty coffee drinks (e.g. Frappuccino)
  • Nutrition supplement drinks

Meal ideas

  • Oatmeal made with whole 3.25% milk topped with peanut butter and berries
  • Congee made with tofu, eggs, or meat
  • Pierogi with sour cream and green beans
  • Tuna salad on soft bread with a side of applesauce
  • Macaroni and cheese with peas and tuna
  • Well-cooked cauliflower dipped in hummus, with a side of sliced avocado
  • Tender beef stew with potatoes and carrots
  • Creamed salmon with mashed potatoes, beets, and creamed spinach
  • Split pea soup with soft bread dipped in oil
  • Cream of broccoli soup served over rice
  • Shepherd’s pie with a side of zucchini
  • Scrambled tofu with baked beans and avocado
  • Omelet served with mashed sweet potatoes
  • Homemade smoothie with berries, spinach, Greek yogurt, and whole 3.25% milk

Helpful hints

  • To make foods even softer:
    • Cook meats, fish, chicken, and vegetables in sauces, stews, or soups until tender
    • Eat foods with gravies and sauces or drink fluids with your meals to help wash foods down
    • Dunk cookies and crackers in tea, coffee, or milk and dip bread in oil or cheese sauce
    • Use a blender to make smooth soups and smoothies
  • To add extra calories and protein:
    • Use high-fat dairy products like whole 3.25% milk, cream, and full-fat yogurt in recipes
    • Include a food from the “protein foods” section at every meal
    • Add skim milk powder, unflavoured protein powder, or shredded cheese to soups or veggies
    • Beat an egg into hot cereal or soup while it is cooking
    • Blend healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nut butters into smoothies
  • Avoid foods that can make eating more painful:
    • Rough foods like raw vegetables, hard fruits, toast, crackers, nuts, popcorn, and chips
    • Acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits (e.g. lemons, oranges), pickles, and vinegar
    • Spicy foods like pepper, chili, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce
    • Fried, crispy foods like samosas and chicken wings
    • Tough, dry meats
    • Carbonated beverages (e.g. pop, soda water) and alcohol
    • Very hot or cold foods – these can be painful if your skin is sensitive

If swallowing soft foods becomes too painful, you may need a liquid diet. Ask your dietitian about high-calorie and high-protein fluids. Nutrition supplement drinks may help.