Problems Swallowing? Try These Tips to Make Eating Easier

Problems swallowing can change eating from an activity you used to enjoy into a regular chore you dread. If you have problems swallowing, you may suffer from dysphagia, a condition that prevents your mouth and throat from properly working together to digest food and liquids. A Modified Barium Swallow (MBS) test can help your treating physician identify this difficulty and determine how to help you eat normally again, but in the meantime, these tips can make eating a little bit easier:

  • Pack your diet with softer foods, like yogurt and pudding, that are easier to swallow and digest.
  • Mash or blend harder foods to make them softer. You can also try moistening drier foods with butter, sauces, or dressings.
  • Add more thickening liquids to your foods. You may want to try gelatin, tapioca, or even baby rice cereal.
  • When you drink liquids or softer foods, consume them with a straw.
  • To reduce pain and discomfort when you swallow, only eat foods at room temperature.
  • Cut your food up into small bites. Chew each bite slowly and thoroughly to reduce the likelihood of something getting caught in your throat.
  • When you eat or drink, sit upright to allow gravity to work in your favor.
  • If you are losing weight, drink meal replacements or nutritional supplement beverages. You should also choose foods high in calories and protein.

You may also want to consult with a registered dietician who can give you guidance on eating a well-balanced diet while helping you manage your problems swallowing.