Cooking for someone who can't chew well

jane__ny

Elderly friend/neighbor who wears dentures which do not work. He won't go to a dentist because of Covid. I feel so sorry for him, he is alone and has lost so much weight I am worried.

I thought I'd make food he could eat without having to chew a lot. I am worried about him, he lost his wife and his kids live out of State.

I was thinking soups but the meat would have to be really mush. He drives to the Chinese restaurant and buys egg-drop soup and that's what he eats.

He could eat mashed potatoes, rice, etc. But how do you get meat or vegetables that would be very soft that he could eat that would still be nutritious?

I really want to help him, it breaks my heart. I just want to figure out how to cook something he can eat that is nutritious and high in calories.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Jane

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plllog

Vegetable stews, like vegetarian mulligan or ratatouille can be very soft without seeming like baby mush. Recently, I started making veggie popsicles with a little fruit, a bit like frozen smoothies. Very refreshing, and much nicer than green smoothies to eat. But maybe he'd like smoothies?

If you make meatloaf or poultry loaf with some sausage, and run it lightly through the food processor before mixing in the eggs, etc., it can be very tasty, really soft, without being babyish, too. You can also make terrines, aspics, etc., depending on how much trouble you want to go to.

Baked sweet potatoes and some other root vegetables can be very soft, comforting and filling.

Then there are eggs, custards, omelettes, etc., and all kinds of dairy, from yoghurt to baked cheese.

It's very good of you to do this. Good luck!

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Jim Mat

Bone broth, a glass of milk, oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, smoothies.


Ypur neighbor may be depressed, a few hundred extra calories a day will not help. Can you take the neighbor for a walk, exercise, fresh air, talk.

Bring an ensure or similar for the neighbor on the walk.


eta: watermelon!

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Islay Corbel

Stuff like cottage pie doesn't need chewing. Fish pie with mash. Cheese soufflé . Macaroni cheese......

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lindac92

Cheese cake, fritatta, chicken soup with dark meat chicken minced really fine. If a baby with 4 teeth on the bottom can manage such things, he should be able to as well. Can he eat cottage cheese? That's some good protein easily chewed.
Saying he likes egg drop soup perhaps he's craving something very flavorful but easily chewed....maybe like mac and cheese with some mexican seasoning, or a chicken soup with garlic and some ginger. Ask him!

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nancyofnc

Jars of baby food plopped in a fancy cup with drizzle of yogurt or olive oil, sprinkle of herb or spice for some other flavors. Pudding cups and applesauce are good. Boost or Ensure are good for elders. V-8 juice is really good and would give more nutrition than egg drop soup - sprinkle some hot pepper sauce in it. Scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes with ground up cooked bacon soaked in hot milk, mini pasta cooked soft with minced cooked veggies, meat cooked to mush with milk. Elders taste buds have lessened so spicy or sugared things are needed.Ask his doctor if he is taking a multi vitamin!

And, please buy him some Polident.

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Chili with the ground beef chopped up very small with or without beans wouldn't require much chewing.

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chas045

This thread just became critically useful for me since I just lost a tooth leaving only two molars in lower jaw while I wait for an implant crown to be finished and then a Partial designed. Thanks for the above ideas.

I have two additional thoughts: Mexican Rice with Refried Beans give complete protein.

Second: I have spent lots of time at the dentist recently. They are all taking Covid 19 very responsibly, all gowned up, masked etc and patients spread out. Wife and I are both serious pulmonary risks and yet with continued dental and medical appointments, we are still OK. Perhaps this info could convince him to see a prosthodontist or at least his dentist.


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bbstx

Canned chicken is pretty mushy, as is canned salmon and sardines.

My sister had oral surgery and could not eat anything with texture for 8 weeks. She like Muscle Milk Protein Shakes. They come in a lot of flavors. She preferred vanilla. 25g of protein in a 14 oz bottle.



When DD had jaw surgery, I often made Jacques Pepin’s Potato Leek Soup, thoroughly puréed.

Gruyere Grits are tasty. Stop after Step 3. They are much softer before baking.


A pediatric dietician I follow on Instagram, gives the following recipe for a Banana Milk Shake:

2 large ripe bananas

1.5 cups whole milk

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter.

Blend until smooth. P.S. She says she just eyeballs the ingredients.

Her nutrition break down is per 8 oz, 10g protein; 15% calcium.

I think at this point, calories are more important than well-balanced. Assuming he’s not diabetic, load him up on anything high in calories, cream soups (can you get more calorie dense than cheese soup?), puddings, candy, cakes (pudding cakes, molten lava cakes).


P.S. My toothless 1 y/o DGD eats Cheerios - one at a time. There are a lot of baby snacks that dissolve quickly in the mouth. To save his dignity, you might want to re-package in a plain Ziplock.

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sheilajoyce_gw

Quiche is delicious too.

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CA Kate z9

The problem amy be more that he doesn't know how to cook, and the denture problems only make it worse.

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olychick

Is there a Meals on Wheels organization in your town? I would think they have options, or at least some things each meal that could be easily eaten by someone with difficulty chewing...it's a common problem for many elderly

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Jim Mat

Re Meals on Wheels...No in Silicon Valley, No in Mendocino County. Does your local MoW provide those meals?

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olychick

Also, tofu, esp silken tofu, is very nutritious and easy to chew/gum. If he could be convinced to dice some into his egg drop soup, it would be flavorful and up the protein and calorie count.

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morz8

Jane, I'd try to encourage something like Ensure Plus to supplement (not replace meals). Boost has a Plus formula too. Extra calories over the others. Another option is Carnation Instant Breakfast in whole milk (all three of those come from Kaiser's nutritionist when helping me with my mother who also had some dental issues and little interest in cooking, or eating). A good high quality full fat ice cream if he likes something sweet....ie Haagen Dazs

Chicken thighs can be incorporated into things and don't require lots of chewing. Salmon, tuna, egg salad. Think proteins, he needs those to maintain weight and stay healthy. Many, many cream soups (chicken thighs again, a chicken wild rice cream soup). Mac and cheese. Cheddar soup.

Bananas. Also banana bread, zucchini bread. Meat loaf with mashed potatoes.

Many egg dishes, quiche, a scrambled plate with some vegetables added.

If he's otherwise healthy, dismiss thoughts of sugar, fats, salt and go for the calories, nutrition where you can fit it in.

And thank you for noticing and taking the time for him. We had the same with a widowed elderly neighbor. DH would take him a plate and sit with him while he ate. Then bought him an electric kettle with auto shut off when he learned he'd burned two pans heating water for instant coffee and tea. (darned kids, two hours away and busy and he was a gracious lovely old guy).

DH and I have both been to the dentist since all this had begun. Last Monday I took my mother from her assisted living to an emergency dental appointment. The protocols in all three offices were exemplary. Screening, masks, and air cleaners sitting everywhere. I've been comfortable with their precautions if that in any way helps. I don't think anyone is offended by being asked when making an appointment just what those precautions are. I made an appointment today for a bone density test in a few weeks and I asked. Staff told me what they were doing to distance and keep patients safe then added....if you are not comfortable with that you can return to your car after signing in and we will come for you, let you walk straight through the waiting area.

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nancyjane_gardener

You might contact his dentist and ask about a diet/recipes for those who can't chew. I recall my hubby getting several teeth pulled and it was a couple of weeks before he could chew much!

I just tried to make regular recipes, then soup them. Things like sheppards pie, but put it through a couple of pulses in the food processer or with a stick blender. All of the ingredients of a lasagna, green pepper casserole, spaghetti, broccholi casserole etc. soaked and blended still have the same flavors!

I even made a chicken tortilla soup the other days that tasted just like tacos, but was soup!

Good luck, and thanks for helping this guy!

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Annie D

If you are trying to prepare meat, might I suggest ground turkey. I have found that ground poultry is much, much softer than is red meat. Soft turkey meatballs that have had some soft bread added to the mix make very soft meat.

What a sweet person you are to do that! I hope that someone would be so kind to my husband if he finds himself in such a state of affairs.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

You are a good neighbor!

Protein is very important for older adults - Greek yoghurt, protein drinks can help:


And chicken and rice with the chicken cut in 1 inch pieces is pretty soft. I like to add green beans and spinach or chard to mine. I agree mac & cheese is a good one.

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nandina

This is a recipe invented by my mother during the Depression to fill youngsters hungry tummies. It is a fast recipe, very tasty, soft, easy to eat. Still a family favorite requested often by our great grandchildren. It could easily become a lunch favorite in your family.

PINK BUNNY

Open a can of tomato soup and pour it into a pan.

Add 1/2 can of milk to the tomato soup.

Add small chunks of cheddar cheese...about 1/2 cup.

Add 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning herbs.

Stir all together over medium heat until hot and cheese is melted.

Serve over toast.







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Cloud Swift

Pea soup or lentil soup can be very nutritious too.

Like others here, I've been to the dentist during COVID. I decided that the long term health risks for me missing cleanings were enough to justify going; I want to keep my teeth. The first time was very early on. When I went last month, they had stepped up their precautions and I felt quite comfortable with the decision to go.


So, in addition to providing food, you might suggest your neighbor contact the dentist to find out about what they are doing to protect their patients and reconsider going to the dentist.

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jane__ny

Wow, what good ideas! I might make some for my family and please everyone!


I'm hesitant to bring him food unless I say I made it for my family. He's funny about taking anything without paying me for it. Sometimes I lie when I bring him some fruit (he loves Mangos, bananas, avocados) and say they were buy one get one free. I call him when I go to the store and ask if he needs anything and sometimes get him things he doesn't ask for. He never asks for meat or vegetables, mostly fruit and fruit juices.


When I make something for my family, I will bring over a plate when I think its something he can eat. I made meatloaf the other day with mashed potatoes and made creamed spinach. He was thrilled. Whether he ate it, I don't know.


I had thought about beans but wasn't sure if he could eat them. He is Cuban but grew up in the US. I would think he might like chili or something like that and it is nutritious.


Not sure he would drink things like Boost or Ensure. I know if I brought it to him he'd insist on paying for it. I know he's not a milk drinker as he drinks his coffee black and does not like whipped cream or ice cream.


This elderly gentleman is a very interesting person who lived a incredible life (at least by my standards). He's a PhD scientist. Has traveled all over the world and is highly respected. Has written research articles published even today. He still works from home for a top US environmental agency, researching and publishing articles.


I fear he is depressed and isolated. He has health issues which I feel make him afraid of catching Covid. The teeth issue drives me crazy because he will not go to the dentist. I don't know why he had all his teeth pulled, but he did.


My husband and I have been to the dentist, doctors, etc. I tell him how careful they are and try to get him to go, but he won't consider it. Just says its no big deal.


You have all given me some ideas. Whether he eats things is another story but he seems thrilled whenever I bring over a home made meal.


Thank you all so much. I just want to say that if you had this man as a neighbor, you would all do the same as me. Men who lose their wife in old age, seem lost when it comes to food, shopping, etc. I don't want to sound sexist, I just think it is the reality.


Jane



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Islay Corbel

He's lucky to have you ad his neighbour.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

One more suggestion and if someone else shared this already, I apologize, but I make sure my 90 year old mom gets whole fat dairy and butter, along with other high calorie foods, since she is picky and won't eat big portions. The extra fat is helpful, IMO.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

That is what I would have suggested. Make a couple soups for your family and take over a couple pints. I've done that a number of times saying I make a big pot so have lots to share. Friends with newborns, a neighbors wife died, another neighbors husband fell down the stairs and lived just nine days due to complications. Neither of them really cooked so they did get soups and Thanksgiving meals. He downsized and move. She sadly passed away last year.

Do you have a cuisinart? I had a dental emergency a few months ago. I made a very veggie soup with all veg, the mirepoix etc, pulsed fine dice, Good broth, boneless skinless chicken thighs poached in the broth....shreds easily like the eggs in egg-drop. Crushed up wide egg noodles. Took half of the veg, added tomatoes and made a blender tomato soup. A potato leek with some of the veg, blendered. I make green veg juices anyway and freeze and always have miso and tofu so I sipped for 24 hours. I was warned of possible 10-14 day recovery so planned ahead. It was just a couple days. All I mean is dental surgery recipes like others mentioned are a good place to search.

A sheet pan of roasted vegetables for your family. A couple cups in a blender with a can of crushed tomatoes or fresh....nice soup.

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CA Kate z9

Jane, I had to go back and re-read your original post. I'm wondering... now:

Perhaps he can't have certain foods about which he's not telling you.


He might have a food sensitivity to dairy products.


If he has kidney issues he might not be able to have very much protein /or potassium.... meat and many vegaetables. (My 90 year old uncle has these issues.)


So, are you sure his dietary habits are only denture related? Your occasional family meal would be well received - and eaten up, but perhaps couldn't have on a regular basis. (as an example)


One thing I've found: if people want to repay you for what you bought - at their request - then let them do that. Trust me, they are very gratful that you did them this kindness but can afford to pay. I know that I have been in such situations in the recent past. If these kind people won't let me pay for the goods I requested, then I don't feel I can ask them to help me again. I'm am very sure that he is most grateful to you for being willing to run these errands for him.


I think it's great when people fuss over others. We need more of that!



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nancyjane_gardener

One thing I've been doing for ages is to make slab-o-soups. I'll make a big pot of soup/stew/chili and put it into 2 serving bags (I use a foodsaver, but you can use ziplocks) and freeze flat. This way they are easily stacked in the freezer for whenever needed.

My FIL in his 90s didn't always want to go down to the dining hall where he lived, so he would pull out a slab-o-soup and some crackers and be happy in his little place.

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wednesday morning

Jane, you are so lovely to help him out as you are doing.

I would suggest that you not dwell too much on the fact that he is of Cuban origin when you look for something to grace him with a familiar taste and cuisine. Like many immigrants, it is likely that he enjoyed that cuisine at home, especially him being first generation. That is a very common scenario in many immigrant homes. But, he also grew up in a dominant American culture and is, no doubt, just as familiar with meat and potatoes.

In Cuban cuisine it is more liklly to be Piccadillo which is a bit different from what most of us would think of as chili.

I am sure that your meat and potatoes and soups are more than welcomed and wonderful. That take out Chinese soup is not very good nutrition. That is likely to be made from a slew of chemicals and artificial flavors.

You are so kind to look after him! I will bet that he is eating very well under your care.

I shudder to think of how much my husband depends on me. He eats very well and he would be completely lost without me. Sometimes I try to teach him some simple things, but I have zero confidence that he could ever eat anywhere near the same again.

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petalique

Jane, you are a sweetheart.

Your gentleman neighbor sounds interesting and because he’s isolated (and lonely), I’d guess that leaning towards Comfort Foods would be appreciated. Many good suggestions here.

I second Sleevendog’s suggestion for Leek & Potato soup. I just made some (I puréed the entire batch). It freezes well. He can dunk toast into most soups.

One treat I made for someone with throat cancer and undergoing radiation therapy was a large Pyrex bowl of delicious custard (pie filling recipe). Just be sure to bake in a pan of water and don’t overcook, even if it looks wet and very wobbly (remove from the oven as soon as a returned knife is “clean”). I grate fresh nutmeg over the top. Ingredients include milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and a bit of almond extract. It is irresistible when ice-cold.

Some soups can be enriched with ground pork (I grind a boneless loin or center cut pork chop). Beef or chicken can be ground similarly.

I like the idea of “slab” freezing. I’ve been freezing our pizza doughs and soups that way. Much better geometry for freezing and the dough defrosts faster (defrost dough with bag opened).

If he like Chinese food, there is a simple, soft, roasted eggplant dish. Or, if he likes eggplant, Marcella Hazan’s recipe (I have) for mushroomed eggplant is good. Make some for yourself too — chilled, it is delicious with a baguette (for you).


I’m wondering if you might capture some photos of the newly equipped dental offices to help your neighbor appreciate how conscientiously outfitted many dental offices are in response to Covid. My dental office called to inform me that they have invested in numerous renovations to help prevent transmission of the virus, including improved ventilation, HEPA filters, and UV light sanitization.

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