People who have difficulty swallowing thin liquids often must drink thickened liquids. Drinking thickened liquids can help prevent choking and stop fluid from entering the lungs.
The 3 common consistencies of thickened liquids are nectar-thick, honey-thick, and pudding-thick. Your doctor or speech therapist should tell you what consistency your liquids should be.
As a general rule:
Know the best thickness for you, so you can tell when a drink is too thick or too thin. Most commercial thickeners include directions for getting the right consistency. If your brand doesn’t, use the following as a guideline:
Nectar-thick: 1 1/2 teaspoons of commercial thickener to 1/2 cup of thin liquid
Honey-thick: 1 1/2 tablespoons of commercial thickener to 1/2 cup thin liquid
Pudding-thick: 2 tablespoons of commercial thickener to 1/2 cup thin liquid
The recipes on page 4 were created with your convenience in mind. All of the recipes include basic ingredients and can be made at home using a blender. None of the products listed contains commercial thickening agents. Some do contain baby rice cereal in order to make the right consistency. Baby rice cereal has a neutral flavor and does not affect the taste of the final product. It is also less expensive than commercial thickening agents.
Unlike products made with commercial thickening agents, most of the products listed do not change consistency after refrigeration. So, you can make these recipes in larger quantities and store them in the refrigerator.
Some of these recipes include high-fat and high-calorie ingredients that may cause weight gain. Examples of ingredients that are high-fat and/or high-calorie are ice cream, whole or 2 percent milk, peanut butter, pudding made with whole or 2 percent milk, nutrition drinks (like Boost and Sustacal), maple syrup, and pie filling.
If you don’t want to gain weight, you can make substitutions. To reduce calories and fat, try using light versions of these foods and 1 percent or fat-free milk. You can also try decreasing portion size.
The provision of thickened fluids and texture modified foods is a routine part of the assessment and management of feeding and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).
If you need assistance with the level of fluid and food texture modification required, contact your Speech Pathologist.
To find a Speech Pathologist, go to www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au
If you require support to determine whether a textured modified diet is meeting nutrition and hydration needs, contact your dietitian.
To find an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), go to www.daa.asn.au