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Garga

Need mushy food and puree recipes

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My dad had tonsil cancer (is in remission now—yay!) and is still recovering from the radiation.  When you have radiation on your neck area, it makes your throat swell and become almost unbearably painful (swallowing water is like swallowing razors).  You have to be fed through a feeding tube in your stomach.

But he’s on the mend, and is now able to eat a *few* foods the normal way, though some food are still just too painful to get down.

One of the biggest problems is that the radiation messed with his salivary glands (very common) and they’re not fully functional yet.  This means that foods will simply not go down his throat because it’s just too dry.  Things like potatoes are just too dry and it all gets kinda stuck. 

I’ll be visiting my parents next week (I live 2500 miles from them.). My mom simply doesn’t know how to cook anything, so has been only feeding my dad things like soup packets or canned cream of chicken soup and Dinty Moor stew (my dad can’t eat the potatoes in the stew, but he can eat the sauce and the meat because it’s practically mush.). 

Does anyone know of recipes, or even items to buy in the store, that are outrageously mushy (like applesauce) or are pureed?  Like, I make a broccoli cheese soup, and I could puree the broccoli and it would still taste good.  I’d like to take some recipes with me on my trip and teach my  mom how to make them. A few years ago, I visited and taught her how to make tilapia fish and she’s been making that for my dad, because tilapia is so soft that he can get it down.  I can teach her how to make things, but she won’t try it on her own.  

Also—he can’t eat anything too hot or too cold or it just hurts his throat too much.  He could probably eat a soup that has cooled off, but very cold things like ice cream are out.

 

Any ideas?

 

ETA:  things high in calories are a good thing right now.  When I search online for recipes for people in my dad’s predicament, they suggest lots of milkshakes and things like that to try to get lots of calories in the person.  When you can only gag down tiny bits of food, food with lots of calories is good.

Edited by Garga

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When I cared for my relative who had Stage 4 oral cancer, one of his favorite things I would make for him was pureed chicken, pasta and carrots. 

you are right about the high calories! So I'd oven braise chicken thighs with olive oil and a little salt. He couldn't have pepper bc it burned his mouth. (He had enormous sores in his mouth). I cooked the pasta and add diced carrot to pasta water after I scooped out the pasta. After the pasta was cooked, added olive oil. Then I'd make little packet s with scoops of chicken, pasta, car rots. If he was eating right away, I'd use the pasta/carrot water to thin it. It all got pureed in a bullet style blender. The other packets went in frig or freezer for later meals.

What he could tolerate was very limited. We had to add fat ( & protein) boosters to nearly everything he ate. The chicken was one of the few things that the calories was high enough on its own that it didn't need a booster.

He mostly ate the chicken packets, very high calories "fresh prepared " soups...the kind in the refrigerator section like lobster bisque. He never wants to eat lobster bisque again! Oatmeal, pureed with protein boosts, room temp "hot" chocolate...again with protein and whole milk. He could not eat much dairy bc he was already producing too much phlegm as a side effect of his treatment.

He also needed therapy for swallowing and to work on his neck and mouth muscles bc the treatment contracted them and tightened everything up and made it nearly impossible to swallow normally. 

HTH

Edited to add...what we used to boost calories, (fat and protein) was called Benecal. It was "flavorless" and 1.5 fluid oz added 330 calories. You got a lot of calorie bang for a small amount. It was recommend by the oncology nutritionist.

Edited by unsinkable
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KETTLE and FIRE bone broth-fortified soups are really good. They make tomato, butternut squash, miso, mushroom chicken, and a curry chicken soup. DD just had several teeth extracted and this is what she’s eating for the first few days. It’s not cheap but one box is a full meal for DD, maybe 2 or 3 for your patient.

Bone Broth Soup Variety Pack, Mushroom Chicken, Beef, Chicken, Thai, Tomato, and Miso by Kettle and Fire, Gluten Free, with Collagen, Protein, 16.2 fl oz (Pack of 6) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NLL6SWK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_2JgvDbJBS2CS3

Edited by Sneezyone
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I want to make sure you don't miss this:

Edited to add...what we used to boost calories, fat and protein was called Benecal. It was "flavorless" and 1.5 fluid oz added 330 calories. You got a lot of calorie bang for a small amount. It was recommend by the oncology nutritionist.

It wasn't your typical protein  powder bc it was so concentrated that it was easy to finish when every bite counts.

Edited by unsinkable

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Could  he do a slightly overcooked pasta in meat sauce? Sweet potatoes cooked all day in the crock-pot? Scrambled eggs? Any vegetable cooked soft & pureed, such as carrots, celery, squash.

Pureed soups are a great idea. Maybe also a smoothie that has been allowed to come close to room temperature. Tapioca or other pudding. Cottage cheese (some people like it with pineapple, which you could puree). Pumpkin custard? I would eat lemon curd with a spoon, but not everybody feels that way.

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Just now, unsinkable said:

I want to make sure you don't miss this:

Edited to add...what we used to boost calories and protein was called Benecal. It was "flavorless" and 1.5 fluid oz added 330 calories. You got a lot of calorie bang for a small amount. It was recommend by the oncology nutritionist.

It wasn't your typical protein  powder bc it was so concentrated that it was easy to finish when every bite counts.

Thank you!  I was wondering what the protein booster was that you used.  I’ll find out if they already have this or not and get it for them if they don’t.

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3 minutes ago, whitehawk said:

Could  he do a slightly overcooked pasta in meat sauce? Sweet potatoes cooked all day in the crock-pot? Scrambled eggs? Any vegetable cooked soft & pureed, such as carrots, celery, squash.

Pureed soups are a great idea. Maybe also a smoothie that has been allowed to come close to room temperature. Tapioca or other pudding. Cottage cheese (some people like it with pineapple, which you could puree). Pumpkin custard? I would eat lemon curd with a spoon, but not everybody feels that way.

These are all great ideas!  Yes, he can eat scrambled eggs, but I hadn’t thought of the sweet potatoes—he might be able to get those down better than regular white potatoes.  I like the idea of cottage cheese with a very soft or pureed fruit. 

Edited by Garga
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18 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Miso soup is very nutritious and not difficult to make.

 

Just be aware that if immunosuppressed or neutropenic, as many cancer patients are. miso is often on the list of foods to avoid.

Greek yogurt with puréed frozen fruit, and avocado are two foods I serve a lot.

 

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Canned pumpkin? DS eats it straight from the can.

Can he drink smoothies? Made with protein powder, spinach or pumpkin, almond butter, avocado...they can be calorie dense and totally smooth (and can be room temperature). If you are interested I can send you a couple of my favorite “recipes”. 

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I belong to a FB group for people who prepare blended food for tube feeding.  There are a number of people who say that the recipes from here are delicious.

https://www.naturaltubefeeding.com/

I have not tried them, I blend without a recipe (and my blends are not always delicious) but they have some free recipes on the blog that you could try before buying the book.  

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Just now, MEmama said:

Canned pumpkin? DS eats it straight from the can.

Can he drink smoothies? Made with protein powder, spinach or pumpkin, almond butter, avocado...they can be calorie dense and totally smooth (and can be room temperature). If you are interested I can send you a couple of my favorite “recipes”. 

Yes, I'm interested!  I've never made a smoothie for myself and don't have any recipes, so I'd love to know your favorites.

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3 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Does he have specific foods that he misses?  That might guide us towards flavors that he would like.

That's a good question.  I know they're out right now so I can't call them, and then I'm out a lot tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, he loves just about everything, so as far as I know there is no flavor to avoid.  

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I would see if his insurance will cover a visiti to an oncology nutritionist as they would have the best advice.

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9 minutes ago, Garga said:

That's a good question.  I know they're out right now so I can't call them, and then I'm out a lot tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, he loves just about everything, so as far as I know there is no flavor to avoid.  


One thing to think about, that might not apply here, is that some people who are restricted in volume and/or texture find that what the want is food that has strong flavors.  They seek to replace the oral stimulation they might have previously received through texture, or volume, with intensity in flavor or temperature. My son (whose feeding issues are different) needs textures that you'd feed to a baby or toddler, but that doesn't mean he only wants babyish flavors.  He's actually my most adventurous eater, and will happily eat something like spicy dal or my SIL recently made some spicy garlicky gazpacho that he liked.  

Having said that, my kid's issues are totally different, and it may be that spicy or acidic foods irritate his throat.  So, I wouldn't assume, but I'd definitely ask. 

I'll also add in two foods that aren't puree, but that have been really successful for us.  One is orzo as a substitute for rice, because it's slippery and goes down easier.   The other is barbeque ribs, where the combination of slippery sauce and tiny flaky pieces has been good.  

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Oh, your poor dad 😞 I didn't even know that tonsil cancer existed. Yikes. Yay for the remission though!!

I had to stop making this "smoothie" because DH and I both gained 5 pounds. Lol.

1 banana

2 tbsp peanut butter

Cocoa powder to taste (usually 1-2 tbsp)

Either canned occonut milk or regular milk (start with 1 or 2 cups, maybe, and add more to get it to the right thickness)

You can also add 1/4 of an avocado, which will be tasteless - but avocados thicken things, so you'll probably have to add more liquid.

Blend it up and enjoy! This makes enough for 2 full-sized glasses. You could also refrigerate servings for use later in the day or the next day. Sorry it's not an exact recipe... I just pour stuff into the blender and hope for the best 🙂 It's hard to mess up smoothies though... you just add more liquids or solids until it gets to the consistency you want.

 

 

 

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I've also made a dal-inspired recipe that's super simple. 

2 cups of dried red lentils

3 cups water (or broth if you want)

1 can coconut milk

Bring everything to a low boil, then turn to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. I like mine on the thinner side, so I add more water till it's how I like it. As for spices, sometimes I just do salt, sometimes I add some turmeric or curry powder. 

You can puree it to make it silky smooth. It's delish, and really inexpensive 🙂

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Garga said:

Yes, I'm interested!  I've never made a smoothie for myself and don't have any recipes, so I'd love to know your favorites.

I have one of these every morning:

2 cups almond milk (regular is fine, I just prefer almond), 2 cups baby spinach, 1/4 avocado, 1 scoop vanilla Spirutein protein powder, 1 Tbs chia, flax or hemp seeds, 1 Tbs almond butter (or peanut butter).

OR...2 cups almond milk, 1/4 cup or so pumpkin purée, 1/4 avocado, 1 scoop vanilla Spirutein, 1 Tbs chia, flax or hemp seeds, 1 Tbs almond butter, dash nutmeg,cinnamon and/or ginger.

Smoothies are totally adaptable— you can use whatever kind of milk he prefers, you can use blueberries or other fruit instead of the veggies, omit seeds etc if it’s too weird...I like the two above because they keep me full all morning and stabilize my blood sugars. And they are way yummier than they probably sound! Lol

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A quality blender will make all the difference. I have a vitamix and make smoothies all the time, but before I had a great blender it just did not work well. 

 

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5 hours ago, Myra said:

I would see if his insurance will cover a visiti to an oncology nutritionist as they would have the best advice.

I agree!  They tend to resist going to doctors and nutritionists though.  If they will agree see someone, that’ll be very good.  But if they poo-poo the idea, well...I’ll do what I can.  

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4 hours ago, lmrich said:

A quality blender will make all the difference. I have a vitamix and make smoothies all the time, but before I had a great blender it just did not work well. 

 

 

Yep. Swear by the vitamix. Today, I puréed some cooked ham that I diced with sautéed onions, and then added an egg, heavy cream, and cheese.  I baked this super smooth quiche in a few mini tart shells. This (and tomato soup with a dollop of cream) is DDs lunch tomorrow. If she can’t have solids, she can at least have flavor!

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11 hours ago, Myra said:

I would see if his insurance will cover a visiti to an oncology nutritionist as they would have the best advice.

 

5 hours ago, Garga said:

I agree!  They tend to resist going to doctors and nutritionists though.  If they will agree see someone, that’ll be very good.  But if they poo-poo the idea, well...I’ll do what I can.  

When DH first started on his cancer medication it caused all sorts of problems that affected his appetite and ability to eat. His oncologist is at a cancer center that has dieticians on staff, and he (the doctor) had one of them call DH and do a phone consult. I don't think there was any charge for it.

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18 hours ago, Garga said:

Thank you!  I was wondering what the protein booster was that you used.  I’ll find out if they already have this or not and get it for them if they don’t.

i edited my posts to clarify that it was a fat and protein booster. Most of the calories were from fat, but like I said it was recommended by the oncology nutritionist. 

 

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