Eating Resources For Those With Medical Treatments And Conditions

Eating is a very complex process. It requires multiple, highly coordinated steps in order to be carried out properly. Here is a brief explanation of the steps involved in eating:

  • Jaw muscles have to open the mouth. Then lip muscles work together to guide food or liquids into the mouth. Lip muscles continue to work to keep the food or liquids from falling out of the mouth.
  • Chemical and mechanical receptors in your mouth detect the presence of food and cause salivary glands to secrete saliva. Saliva moistens the food, makes it easier to break down and helps the food become easier to swallow.
  • Muscles of mastication move the mandible up and down and side to side, grinding food against the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Food is broken down until it forms a kind of ball, known as a food bolus.
  • Muscles in the tongue help form the food bolus. When the food bolus is ready, the tongue presses against the roof of the mouth to push the food bolus to the back of the mouth towards the throat, also known as the pharynx.
  • When food reaches the pharynx, a complex sequence of both voluntary and involuntary nerve signals cause muscles in tongue to push the food bolus backwards while the lips create a tight seal. Then nerve signals cause pharyngeal muscles to further propel the food bolus down the pharynx into the esophagus all while closing off the airway so food and liquids do not get aspirated.
Eating can only be successful when each step is successfully carried out. Any disruption in muscle function, salivary production, or nerve conduction can lead to difficulty in eating. There are many medical treatments and medical conditions that affect any number of the above mentioned steps involved in eating. Understanding the source of the eating difficulty is important in finding a solution. Modifying the way food is cooked and prepared is critical in making foods more accessible for those with eating difficulties.  Easy-To-Chew recipes can help make delicious foods accessible to everyone, regardless of their medical conditions or health status
Doctor feeding breakfast to patient
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Medical Treatments And Conditions That Affect Eating:

Your Goals When Preparing Meals For Those With Medical Treatments And Conditions​:

  • Cook three meals a day and provide healthy snacks in between meals
  • Try to have a variety of foods at each meal. Be mindful of food preferences and try to communicate effectively to find out which foods work and don’t work for their situation.
  • Try to provide a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein as dietary restrictions allow. 
  • is a great resource for creating a balanced diet!
  • Talk with your physician and dietitian about the specific nutritional needs of the individual you are caring for.
  • Be sure to work with your physician and speech pathologist to know which food textures are appropriate for your situation.
  • Eat together as a family whenever possible. Meal times are a great opportunity to strengthen social and family relationships. Eating with others is generally a more positive experience than eating by yourself.
  • Try to make meals stress free and positive. Even if the act of eating is less fun than it used to be, mealtime itself can be a fun daily event to look forward to!
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Easy-To-Chew is a food blog created by a dentist, a public health professional, and a registered dietitian. Their mission? To cook up delicious recipes  dedicated to those who are in need of foods which are easy to chew, easy to swallow, and easy to love!

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A crock pot is a simple way to prepare meals in advance. Cooking foods, especially meats, at controlled temperatures for long periods of time makes them delicious and easy to chew!

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There is no finer way to puree foods than a Vitamix Blender. It can turn any food into a single, smooth texture which is easy to swallow.

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A food processor is a must have for finely chopping, slicing, and pureeing foods. It does all the work for you!

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