Having a child with a disability such as Cerebral Palsy, chewing and swallowing properly and safely can be challenging. At times, a child can aspirate on liquids and foods, which can affect his or her ability to breathe. A yearly swallow study is recommended to ensure your child’s safety while eating and drinking. Once a swallow study is completed, recommendations and restrictions may be given.
The following are some soft and purée foods that your child may like and have a easier time chewing and swallowing.
Raspberries are a favorable fruit for most kids. One good thing about raspberries is that they are soft and easy to chew and swallow. If needed, you can simply break the raspberry into smaller pieces or crush the raspberries with a fork.
Another fruit you can give your child is strawberries. To make this snack not a struggle to eat, you can have your special one take small bites out of a strawberry or pieces can be chopped. You can also crush the slices of the strawberry with a fork or slice the strawberries in small pieces.
Adding avocados to your child’s diet is beneficial due to this type of fruit being full of vitamins including iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins B, C, E and K. This fruit does not have cholesterol or sodium, however it contains healthy fats. Avocados are a great source of fiber which can help with special needs kids remain healthy and avoid constipation issues.
Avocados are smooth and creamy food, which makes it like a purée. Your child does not have to chew the contents of the avocado; they can just swallow it like ice cream or pudding. This makes this nutritious food easy to swallow.
Most crackers such as Belvita Biscuits, saltine or Ritz crackers, gold fish, Wheat Thins are a good satisfying snack for your special one. Because crackers always have a crunch to them, this type of snack can also be used to work on chewing. Crackers break down as you chew them, therefore chewing and swallowing takes less effort.
4. Sweet Potatoes
He or she will love sweet potatoes with butter and a little brown sugar. There’s many sweet potato recipes that your special one and you and your family will favor. Plus, sweet potatoes are nutritious to being full of vitamins including vitamins B, C, iron, Magnesium and calcium. Moreover, your child can consume a good amount of fiber from sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are a soft food that is easy to chew and swallow. This favorite food item can also be made into a purée, which lessens the risk of swallow difficulty.
Eating prunes not only gives you additional fiber, you consume several vitamins (A, C, K) and minerals (copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus). Prunes being apart of your child’s diet helps keep them healthy and to avoid constipation issues.
If prunes are boiled in a pot of water or broken apart, prunes are eatable for your special one. They will enjoy the prunes too.
6. Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is usually served at Thanksgiving, however it can be served at any time. This side dish is another soft and melt in the mouth type of food. Your child should not have a problem chewing and swallowing cranberry sauce. And cranberry sauce is delicious too.
Another tasty option of an easy to swallow food for your special needs child is yogurt. There is a variety of flavors you can choose from: strawberry, cherry, blueberry, vanilla, etc. Depending on the brand, yogurt can be thin or thick. Greek yogurt is a nutritional snack that gives your child some protein.
For an individual who’s ability to chew and swallow properly, soup is a good choice to feed him or her. Soup usually consists of a broth or cream and sometimes cooked beans and vegetables. Therefore, soup will be chewed and swallowed without a problem.
Most breads are soft and can be munched on without having an issue. If you put butter on a heated bread, it’s more likely to make chewing and swallowing better. Having bread before a meal or a snack is often delightful.
Desserts including ice cream, pudding, jello, cheese cake, pumpkin pie, cake with frosting are more food items that will be chewed and swallowed smoothly. Your child probably loves having yummy desserts.
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