If you’re like me, you may be struggling with what to feed your elderly loved one or family member who has lost their ability to chew. You may be a bariatric patient following the pureed food diet, a mom wanting pureed food for your infant or simply be looking for pureed food options to add to your family recipes.
Whatever the reason, it’s not always easy finding the best pureed foods. Moving from solids to pureed food can be difficult for both the patient and the one making the food. Suddenly there seems to be a whole new set of challenges when it comes to cooking or grocery shopping. To help make this easier for everyone, I’ve compiled some this guide to pureed food.
I’m sure this article on pureed food along these tips for making pureed the most of the pureed food diet will help!
Helping Your Mom and Dad Swallow Their Pureed Food.
Since swallowing problems are so common for the elderly, having the right tools and knowledge of how to cook with pureed food is essential.
So what types of foods should you start with if you want to make pureed food?
Some of the best pureed foods to start with are things like:
- Soups, stews and chilies
- Applesauce and other fruit dishes
- Cheese and cream cheese dishes
- Plain yogurt and cottage cheese or dairy free options such as almond and soy milk.
You could also offer the elderly a high calorie smoothie or high calorie shake which is smooth in consistency and packed with nutrition.
Using an Instant Pot to Batch Cook Pureed Food
The best buy for pureed foods is probably the Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cooker . This is because it comes with a number of great functions including:
- Ability For Batch Cooking
- Cooking Stews and Soup
And….you can can blend the foods directly in the pot using an immersion blender. Saving time and dishes!
This means you can use the Instant Pot to steam, puree and cook as well as a cooker. If you want to make great pureed food for yourself or your loved one, but don’t have the time or energy to spend hours in the kitchen, this is an excellent option.
It All Starts With High Quality Ingredients
If you’re going to make pureed food, the best place to start is with high quality ingredients.
High quality means nutrient dense foods that are locally sourced whenever possible and minimally processed because this will result in better tasting food for your family member or yourself.
When preparing your meal, consider adding a healthy ingredient like bone broth. Bone broth is a good way to add protein and collagen to pureed or soft foods. As those following a pureed food diet are likely to have several health problems it’s good to pack in as much nutrition into your pureed meals as possible.
Don’t Forget the Condiments and Tasty Food Combinations
When you’re making foods for your loved one, don’t forget about tasty condiments to add to the food.
Here are some ideas:
- Sour cream or vegan options like cashew sour cream
- Cream cheese (can be blended into the puree)
- Cheese that can easily be grated or blended
- Jazz up your food with seasonings like salt, pepper and garlic
The great thing about pureed foods is that most of the time they are already seasoned. You can just add in some condiments or spices to enhance the flavors.
Thickening Agents for Pureed Foods
When you’re making your food, it’s a good idea to thicken them up. Here are some suggestions:
- Puree the vegetables and then add in cheese at the end
- Add rice or oatmeal into your meat purees which has been prepped by steaming or cooking. Learn how to cook rice perfectly in the Instant Pot here!
- Use pureed fruit to sweeten up your food
- Add cream cheese, sour cream or butter to thicken things up
Pureed Food and the Bariatric Diet
The Bariatric Diet is an eating plan designed specifically for individuals who have had weight loss surgery. This means it’s low in fat, sugar and sodium with no processed foods.
This means if your loved one has had weight loss surgery, they will be on a very similar eating plan to those following the pureed food diet. This is great news because it means that much of your preparation for this diet can be shared including shopping lists and recipes!
You can read more about the Bariatric Diet and pureed food stage visit this article here!
Bariatric pureed recipes should have plenty of protein to help in the healing process following weight loss surgery.
Pureed Meals for Elderly With Protein Options
Pureed meals are very important for elderly because they can be difficult to manage. The best pureed foods for elderly should have protein sources, vitamin E and enough calories to provide needed nutrients without too many empty calories.
The key is to make sure you’re adding in nutritious condiments or spices, making the food tasty and having their favorite condiments around.
The following foods have a good amount of protein in them:
- Poultry (chicken, turkey)
- Milk, including dairy milk, or powdered milk
- Yogurt (especially Greek yogurt)
- Eggs and egg whites
- Beans and bean purée
- Nuts and nut butters
- Soy products, such as soy milk, tofu, and edamame (soy beans)
- Protein powders
- Liquid nutritional supplements, such as Ensure®, Ensure Plus®, Boost®, or Boost Plus®
Tips on Preparing Pureed Foods
When you blend and puree food, especially items such as beans, legumes and rice, be sure to add liquid to help it blend more easily.
As stated previously be sure to add condiments and flavours to your food as you puree them as well as thickeners.
Don’t worry about making perfect purées or foods, what’s most important is that your loved one is eating and getting the nourishment they need to recover from illness or surgery .The more they eat the better!
How to Puree Vegetables?
Some vegetables that can be good to add into your meals such as pureed vegetables:
How to Cook Vegetables for Pureeing?
You can steam, boil or bake your vegetables before pureeing them. When steaming or boiling vegetables, be sure to cook them until they are soft .
You can also bake the vegetables in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes or until they are soft
How to Puree Soups?
You can blend soups in a high-powered blender or you can use an immersion blender.
When using an immersion blender, make sure to puree the soup in the pot in which it was cooked .
Making too much food at once is great because then you have meal ideas and leftovers that you can freeze for later. This is especially good when recovering from surgery or if you’re feeding a family member with cancer or someone who is elderly as it saves time. The chances are if you are caring for someone you have several roles in addition to cooking meals.
How to Puree Fruit?
Fruit can be easily pureed using a food processor or blender. Just place the fruit into the bowl of the food processor, turn it on and let it go for one minute or until you have reached your desired consistency .
You can use an immersion blender as well but make sure to not blend too long or else you’ll end up with a fruit soup rather than a fruit purée.
How to Puree Meats?
You can use a knife and fork to cut the meat into small chunks but there is an easier way! You can place the meat right in your food processor or blender and pulse until it’s fine enough for your purposes. Just make sure you don’t over pulse it, you want it to be like ground beef rather than like hamburger helper.
How to Puree Fish?
Fish can also be easily pureed using your food processor or blender by the same method of putting the fish into chunks and pulsing until fine enough.
Just make sure that you do not over-puree or else you will have fishy soup rather than fish.
How to Puree Bread?
You can use a food processor or blender to puree bread. Just pulse until it reaches your desired consistency .
You can add liquid while you do this if needed, just add tablespoon by tablespoon until the right texture is achieved for you.
For dryer textures, adding liquid can be difficult so using an immersion blender may work better.
Final Texture of Pureed Food
The final texture of pureed foods should be smooth and creamy, not chunky or lumpy.
Additionally it should be of a similar consistency to that of baby food as this is what is commonly fed to babies and young children as they learn how to eat real food.
The whole point of pureed foods is so that those who have difficulty with chewing or swallowing can still get proper nutrition. If the texture is too thick, even if it’s smooth, they may not be able to swallow it.
The final consistency should always be tested by feeding a small amount of the food to your loved one before you serve them the rest . If this small portion is swallowed easily then the consistency is fine but if it gets stuck in their throat or won’t go down then you
Containers for Pureed Food
You can store pureed food in:
- Ice cube trays – Like these silicone ice cube trays!
- Plastic or glass containers – I have rubbermaid food containers.
- Bags and pouches – Eco Friendly reusable storage bags
Cookbooks for a Pureed Diet
There are special cookbooks that cater to the pureed diet. You can use these for ideas on what to make or you can simply come up with your own recipes based off of regular foods.
Also there are many websites dedicated to making pureed recipes. Just do a quick google search for “pureed food recipes”. Here at the Instant Pot table we have plenty of tasty stews, chilis and soups, which are packed with flavor and nutrition and can be blended for your loved ones on the pureed food diet.
We also have a guide to pureed vegetables using the Instant Pot and immersion blender stick.
Getting good nutrition while on the pureed blended diet is so important. I’ll leave here a list of recipes you can cook and blend. I’m sure you will love these…
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Hearty And Healthy Black Bean Chili
- Creamy Chicken Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Stew
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Easy And Cheesy Ranch Chicken
- Clam Chowder
- Carrot And Leek Bisque
Frequently Asked Questions
What Exactly Is Pureed Food?
A pureed food is any type of food, cooked or raw, fruit and vegetables that have been finely chopped and mashed to a texture your loved one can easily swallow. These foods usually resemble baby food in consistency, but there are many ways you can prepare them so they still retain some of the flavor of their original form.
Pureed food is a great option for elderly people who may have lost the ability to chew their food properly. This type of eating is also perfect for those with dysphagia which is difficulty swallowing that can come from many causes including strokes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Since swallowing problems are so common for the elderly, having the right tools and knowledge of how to cook with pureed food is essential. Engaging in hobbies for the elderly like cooking can not only provide them with a sense of purpose and enjoyment but also address their specific dietary needs. By exploring creative and nutritious pureed recipes, seniors can continue to savor delicious meals while ensuring their safety and well-being.
Additionally, cooking can foster social interactions, as it offers opportunities for family and friends to come together, share stories, and create cherished memories around the dining table.
When Is Pureed Food Recommended?
Pureed food is a good option for you and your loved one whether they have early signs of dysphagia, difficulty swallowing or it has already been diagnosed. Pureed food is also an essential stage of the bariatric diet following a gastric bypass or other weight loss surgery procedure.
No matter the reason, pureed food is often needed and finding the best pureed food options that has flavor and is appealing is an important part of the pureed diet.
Why Are Some People Against Pureed Food?
Many who are against the idea of pureed food are worried it limits their loved one’s diet too much. It also means they have to compromise with their choice of foods and flavors, but this isn’t necessarily true. You can make tasty and delicious pureed meals for loved ones or yourself with the right tools and recipes. You can even eat pureed food on a liver shrinking diet in preparation for surgery.
Why Do Elderly People Need Pureed Food and Why Is Pureeing Food Necessary?
Pureeing food is necessary when a person has lost the ability to eat in the traditional sense due to neurological damage or other injuries. This can mean parts of their throat have become injured through surgery, strokes, muscle degeneration or brain damage from an accident.
What Foods Should You Puree?
There are tons of different varieties and flavors of food you can puree. Just as important as choosing the right flavor is choosing the right consistency of your food.
Here is a list of foods that puree well for the pureed food diet:
Chicken: This lean protein purees smoothly and adds a mild, savory flavor that can be paired with various seasonings and sides.
Poultry: Other poultry like duck or turkey offers a richer flavor than chicken, providing variety and a hearty base for purees.
Turkey: Is a lean and flavorful protein that blends well into purees, perfect for adding a festive touch to meals.
Fish: Can be easily pureed and provides a light, delicate flavor along with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
Beef and Veal: These meats offer a robust, savory flavor to purees, making them more satisfying and filling.
Pork: Purees well and brings a slightly sweet, rich flavor to dishes, adding depth and complexity.
Fruit: Can be pureed to create sweet, refreshing dishes or to add natural sweetness and vitamins to savory purees.
Vegetables: Contribute a wide array of flavors, colors, and nutrients to purees, and can be mixed and matched for endless variety.
How to Make a Puree?
You can prepare a puree by cooking or steaming the food to break it down. After that, you should mash the food until it’s smooth and thin enough for your loved one to comfortably swallow.
As a huge fan of the Instant Pot, I find that steaming food in the Instant Pot is a great way to prepare easily swallowable foods quickly and easily. In fact, you can steam a number of vegetables in your pot in one time using the pot in pot method and you can batch cook some great recipes to help make cooking and food prep easier for family members on the pureed food diet.
Once your food is cooked or steamed, you will need to mash or blend it. There are tons of different kinds of blenders you can buy depending on your needs, but the Vitamix is an excellent option for pureeing food.
You might also want an immersion blender also known as a blend stick.
How to Buy the Right Food Processor?
Choosing a great food processor is just as important as choosing a great blender. A good food processor will allow you to prepare, cut and puree food. Many food processors also have the ability to slice, dice and julienne vegetables of all different shapes and sizes.
How to Freeze Pureed Food?
It is best to always thaw frozen foods before serving them. To thaw, transfer the container from the freezer to your refrigerator and let it sit overnight or until it is thawed.