A swallowing difficulty can make eating or drinking problematic. In social situations, eating and drinking with a swallowing difficulty can also become cause for embarrassment. While some patients may require diet modifications to live with a swallowing difficulty, others may be able to make a few behavior changes to cope with these issues:
- Avoid talking while eating – If you have a swallowing difficulty, try not to speak while you eat. While this may seem simple, talking while eating is a common behavior that occurs during many social situations.
- Always eat with a full glass of water nearby – While eating, small pieces, like beans and seeds, can get stuck in the mouth. Having a glass of water near you to drink while you eat can help you move these small pieces from the mouth to the throat.
- Stick to smaller bites of food – It is difficult to fight the inclination to eat larger bites when you are extremely hungry or in a hurry; however, with a swallowing difficulty, it is better to keep your bites smaller and to eat slowly.
- Go for softer foods – If you have dysphagia, you may want to incorporate more soft foods into your diet. For example, you may want to eat more mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal, all of which are soft and highly nutritious.
- Eat before social events – Before you go out to eat with family or friends, try to eat something beforehand. This way, you are less likely to eat hard or chewy foods because you are hungry.