food - nutrition  - recipes



eating problems



HINTS for those who eat slowly


Keeping Food Hot for Slow Eaters: Many of us eat very slowly and hot food becomes cold and unappetizing before we have finished eating. Here are some clever ideas from our members for keeping food hot.


1. If it takes you so long to eat that your food gets cold, try the Heat Magic Microwaveable Plate. It works great.

2. Look in baby sections of stores. There used to be dishes available that you put hot water in the bottom section and the food sat in the plate section on top.

3. Some restaurants serve hot metal platters on wooden insulators (to keep from burning the table)

4. Pottery bowls and plates and cups tend to be thicker than store bought ones and thus they have more mass. the more mass something has, in general, the more heat it holds and the longer it holds the heat. Remember that pottery can get VERY hot -- so use pot holders.

5. You can have one plate fit inside another one -- so it fits like a lid. Fill the bottom plate with the kind of fish tank gravel you find at an aquarium store, heat it up, then set your heated plate on top of that other plate and the gravel in it will act as a radiant mass and keep the plate above it warm longer. Gravel won't spill as easily water.

6. Heating any plate first under hot water - or a nanosecond in the oven if you have baked the meal - or even putting a wet plate in the micro for a quickie - at least keeps things hot until they arrive at the table, and warm for a bit thereafter.

7. Caution. I can understand how undesirable it is to eat luke warm food unless you have had the experience I had. I was once proudly served some real nice hot food. My wife was about to burst a button at her achievement until I took a bite and quickly spit it out all over the plate. It was then I realized I had no feelings in my mouth or on the left side of my face. I burnt my tongue quite badly and from that day on, I have opted for the luke warm food. For me, it is the safest way to eat.

8. Another obvious solution is to keep food in larger containers, perhaps on hot-plates or even on the stove, and take smaller portions. Finish the small portion, and then take a second portion.

9. A microwaveable heating pad to sit your plate on could serve this purpose of keeping food warm.


Something stuck in your throat?

Because the esophagus is smaller or sometimes has a stricture, a number of us have had food caught in that area.  Being neck breathers, it doesn't cut off our air supply but, if you can't get it "down" or "up and out", it can be uncomfortable and might necessitate a trip to the ER or your doctor's office.  Here are some methods recommended by our members

1.  Yesterday I got something caught in my esophagus. (which I had reconstructed due to a stricture) Anyway, I wasn't able to swallow anything. Whenever this has happened before, I have been able to dislodge whatever was caught but, yesterday, I wasn't able to. I called my doctor's office and spoke to his assistant. She suggested that I mash up banana and then drink water -- and it worked. I thought that this was worth sharing with the group. Needless to say, I will always keep bananas in the house.  (Rita in NJ)

2.  I want to add another tip,take a small piece of bread, without crust,chew it well and it works too. (Marianne Peereboom)...[Ed. note: Several people commented that bread was one of the problems for them.]

3.  I have a TEP and several times I have had to occlude the stoma and just blow.  That can be enough to dislodge a pill or a bite of food stuck above the level of the prosthesis or even one that covers it.  (Pat W Sanders)


Food and Adapting - from our members

1. I am a slow eater. I chew, swallow, and enjoy but, at home, if I make a large salad with mixed raw veggies, nuts, greens, some fruit and left over chicken, I prop up a book and read for an hour while I eat. I have to take my time. I find ways to adapt to this because I am so grateful that I can eat regular foods, even if slowly. Foods are disappearing from my list gradually. For instance, raw carrots are now cooked unless they are chopped well, but I can get carrot juice if I want the health benefits of eating raw carrots.

Alas! In a restaurant, I am at the table just a little bit too long for the server to like it and if I am eating with others, I order something that goes down easy because, when I look up and see others with clean plate and a waiter hovering to take away the empties, I might as well pack it up. I am not just looking at the menu for "soft" foods but easier to eat foods that are not dry. No matter how many sips of water I take, foods that are cooked with moisture go down easier for me than dry ones. For instance, noodles slip and slide compared to rice, unless it has a gravy.

Many laryngectomees have surgery or radiation making it difficult to swallow because of a narrowed esophagus but some larys have lost molars to radiation or age so the swallowing might be easy but you can't chew it well. Somewhere in one of my cabinets, I have a small, individual service size, food chopper. I need to find that and try some favorite foods in it. It adds another step to preparation but it might help when I have a craving for pot roast, which can require more chewing even if cooked to tenderness.

If you are having any difficulties along this line, please remember that we have a section in our Library on the website called Food, Nutrition, Recipes. You will find hints in there as well as some easy ways of cooking soft foods.

Choose to read about Soups, Soft Foods or Crock-Pot Recipes, along with others. Maybe it will help you and me to adapt to new ways.

Article from Whisper on the Web, Dec 2009
Pat W Sanders

2.I have had an occasional problem with swallowing, but its typically because I got too greedy and tried too large a bite or was trying to swallow too quickly in order to answer a question from some one at the table. My take on easier swallowing is to eat smaller bites, chew more thoroughly and have a glass of liquid always available.

Early on, I had a problem with swallowing and sandwiches made with store-bought white bread. I discovered that toasting the bread makes all the difference in the world to easy swallowing. I also have found that sandwich bread made with grains are easier to swallow even without toasting. I don't know why, but I'm sure there is a simple reason. Nowadays, I just am careful to read the menu and ask questions.

My surgeon also reminded me that gravy is my friend; it acts as a lubricant for the esophagus. I've discovered that applesauce and cranberry sauce also work quite well (depending on where you live, cranberry sauce can be difficult to find outside of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidayseason).

Pot pies are a great option in colder seasons; when I am home in warmer weather, I make pasta salads in the morning and keep them in the refrigerator until dinnertime. You will find those recipes under

Loyd Enoch




Taking Food Home


1. I could have written the article on Food & Adapting. At home I eat a "big salad" for dinner most of the time and it takes a good hour to complete.

I have learned a trick for eating out. When I order, I ask for a "to go box" to be brought with my food. If there is a liquid, I also ask for an appropriate container. I decide what I think I can eat in 20 minutes and put the rest "to go", setting it off the table. I get finished at the same time as my dining companion(s), enjoy a cup of coffee and have room for a shared dessert.

That way I never feel rushed or like I'm holding someone up. For some reason this works much better than asking for a box when others are through eating. If I'm hungry, I eat the rest of the food at home or save it for lunch/dinner at my leisure. Just a share, Janna


2. I order Chinese at a little shop up the road, tell them I will eat my egg roll and soup there while they prepare and package my main dish to take home. Since I live alone, it is perfect for me to have a prepared dinner and I can eat on my own schedule. Pat


Easy-to-Chew Recipes is an Alzheimer's Caregiving Site

They have coded their recipes for:

Low Calorie

Low Fat

Low Cholesterol

Los Sodium

Easy to Chew

Quick and Easy


Suggestions from people who have swallowing problems or those who have feeding tubes


1. I have problems swallowing food (Big Time). I buy "Bob's Red Mill" grained cereal, it is usually in a section by the health foods. I mix 4 or 5 of these together, just pick out your favorites, I use ground wheat, rice, flax seed, thick cut oats, and what ever else I can find to throw in there, mix it all up and cook over slow heat about 10 - 15 minutes. Put milk and sugar on there and it's healthy and goes down really well. (Marlene E. Snider)


2. For those on a PEG tube. I know it seems like you will never eat again, but hang in there. Your time is coming. I had a PEG for almost six months and these are a few things I did to try to get by. Suck on stuff like chips and pretzels, it gives you the flavor, then spit it out. You can also use sugar free hard candy, but you have to spit out the juice. It sounds terrible but it got me through many cravings to eat. I would also pour different liquids in my tube. A soda or even a beer would do wonders. A burp was something to cherish after a while. Same as above, take a sip for the flavor and spit it out. Coffee, soups, just about anything that would go down the tube. Even your Ensure and stuff, take a sip, just remember "NOT" to swallow. Like I said, your time is coming. As long as you keep using the tube until your doctor says "lets try some soft foods first." (Steve Verngren)

3. I just discovered a little trick to keep the syringe tips from slipping out of the feeding tube. I'm not on one but my wife is while she tries to recover from a couple of strokes. I've got her at home now. The syringes that were sent to me are the ones from Nestles and they have a shorter and fatter tip than the ones in the hospital. The tip kept slipping out of the tube and making a mess until I used my wife's nail file to rough it up. The nail file that looks like it has diamond dust on it is the one I used. I just made a couple of passes all around the tip and now I really have to pull hard to get it out of the tube. (Parnell Stratton)


4. If you're a laryngectomee with a post-operative or post-radiation eating, chewing, swallowing, or dry mouth disorders, I can heartily recommend a very helpful "cookbook" you might want to get and use. The title is: "THE NON CHEW COOKBOOK" - written by Dr. J. Randy Wilson of Glenwood Springs, CO. The book, which can be sampled and ordered "on-line", has 200 recipes especially developed for those of us with the above eating problems.



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