How To Make Thickened Beverages More Enjoyable

Sunrise Senior Living  |  August 28, 2015
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Many seniors experience dysphasia, or difficulty swallowing, as they get older. One of the treatments for this condition is drinking thickened liquids to prevent foods from slipping into the airway. While this treatment is effective, some seniors dislike the texture of thickened beverages.

Types of thickened beverages
There are a few different types of thickened liquids, and they vary based on consistency. Your healthcare provider will be able to recommend one of the three common types, as defined by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:

  1. Nectar-thick liquids: Easy to pour, consistency of a thick cream soup.
  2. Honey-thick liquids: Less pourable, more likely to drizzle from a cup.
  3. Pudding-thick liquids: Unable to pour, should be eaten with a spoon.

Most adults need 6 to 8 cups of fluid every day, and it can be hard to meet this requirement if you don't like the thickened beverage you're drinking. Luckily, there are recipes that taste delicious while still preventing aspiration.

Mixed Fruit Juice
If you're a big fan of fruit juice, you may be upset to learn that this thin liquid isn't an option for dysphasia patients. However, you can still get the taste you love and all the beneficial nutrients of fruit with this recipe from UPMC. The drink uses natural thickeners to create a tasty mixed fruit juice that doesn't require any commercial thickener.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup canned pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

Directions
Simply combine these ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. You can adjust the recipe with more or less pineapple juice to achieve your ideal thickness.

Strawberry Smoothie
Who doesn't love a fresh fruit smoothie? You can make a perfectly thick beverage with just a few ingredients from your pantry. Feel free to swap out strawberries for your favorite fruit.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dry baby rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 2 tsp. canola oil

Directions
Combine all the ingredients in your blender and process them until smooth. If the recipe makes too much for you to drink in one serving, you can refrigerate the remaining smoothie to enjoy later in the day.

Mocha Frappe
Just because you can't drink thin liquids doesn't mean you can't enjoy a caffeine boost. This recipe is both sweet and energizing, so it's perfect for a morning snack. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 2 Tbsp. instant coffee
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 pint vanilla ice cream

Directions
Combine all the ingredients in your blender and process until smooth. Enjoy your frappe with a spoon!