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August Activities for Seniors to Stay Active Reading 10 Soft and Nutritious Food Recipes for the Elderly 10minutes Safety Tips for Seniors Showering

10 Soft and Nutritious Food Recipes for the Elderly

As we get older, eating can become more difficult. Medical conditions like dysphagia or denture issues may make it hard to chew and swallow some foods. Many elderly people find they need to transition to a soft food diet.

But eating soft or pureed foods doesn’t have to be boring! With a little creativity in the kitchen, you can make nutritious, delicious meals that are easy to eat.

Here are 10 amazing recipes for soft foods that both you and your loved ones will enjoy.

Breakfast

1. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Starting your day with a warm bowl of oatmeal is comforting and nourishing. It's a simple breakfast that can be customized with preferred spices, fruits, nuts, or seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Maple syrup or brown sugar, to taste (optional)

Steps:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the oats, milk, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the diced apple and butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the apple is tender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon and maple syrup/brown sugar as desired.

2. Veggie Egg Bake

Eggs are a great source of protein and this veggie egg bake provides a big nutritional boost. Serve with a side of soft fruit or applesauce.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1 cup cooked, chopped vegetables (like spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking dish with butter or non-stick spray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk or cream.
  3. Stir in the chopped cooked vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into prepared baking dish and top with shredded cheese.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until set in the center. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Lunch

3. Salmon Patties

Salmon patties are packed with omega-3s and have an irresistible flavor.  Serve on soft bread or a muffin with tartar sauce, lemon wedges, or gravy for extra moisture.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz canned salmon, drained and flaked
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter or oil for frying

Steps:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the salmon, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, lemon juice, dill, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Form into patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, cook patties in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add more butter/oil as needed between batches.
  4. Enjoy salmon patties warm with desired condiments.

4. Twice Baked Potato

Buttery mashed potatoes stuffed back into the potato skin makes for a comforting, protein-packed lunch. It has a soft interior with crispy, cheesy skins.

Ingredients:

  • 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake for 45-60 minutes until very tender when pierced.
  2. Once cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato in the skin.
  3. In a bowl, mash the scooped potato with butter, milk, sour cream, 1/2 cup cheese, bacon, and salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato skins and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until hot and cheese is melted.
  6. Serve warm.

5. Tuna Salad Wraps

Tuna salad wraps are simple to make with pantry staples and full of flavor.It is smooth, creamy and easy to chew, while the wrap adds a fresh crunch. Boost nutrition with sliced avocado or tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (5oz) cans tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large lettuce leaves or tortillas

Steps:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the tuna, mayonnaise, celery, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, and salt and pepper until well combined.
  2. Lay out the lettuce leaves or tortillas. Scoop the tuna salad onto the center of each leaf/tortilla.
  3. Top with any additional desired vegetables or condiments.
  4. Roll up the lettuce leaves or wrap the tortillas. 

Dinner

6. Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's pie is the ultimate comfort food, with protein, vegetables, and mashed potatoes all in one dish. The soft mashed potato topping provides familiar creamy comfort.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 lb ground beef or lamb
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the mashed potatoes:

  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Make the filling: Sauté ground meat and onions until browned. Add carrots, peas, corn, tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Simmer 10-15 minutes until carrots are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Make the mashed potatoes: Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash with butter, milk, salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer meat mixture to a casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes, spreading to cover filling completely.
  5. Bake 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

7. Chicken and Dumplings

Warm up with old-fashioned chicken and dumplings.The broth soaks right into the dumplings, making each bite moist and soothing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken or 2 bone-in chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Steps:

  1. In a large pot, combine the cooked shredded chicken, broth, onions, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, milk and egg until a sticky dough forms.
  3. Drop tablespoon sized dumpling dough into the boiling chicken broth.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and cook 5 more minutes until dumplings are cooked through.
  6. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Summer Corn Chowder

This luxuriously creamy corn chowder is full of summer flavor. it can be served chilled or warm - both ways provide a wonderfully soft, spoonable consistency.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn, husked and kernels cut off the cob
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. In a pot, combine the corn kernels, potatoes, onion, garlic and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup until smooth and creamy.
  4. Return the soup to low heat and stir in the heavy cream, butter, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat through but do not boil. Serve warm, garnished with extra corn kernels if desired.

9. Beef Stew

For the ultimate soft and tender meat, make a classic beef stew. Beef chuck roast is simmered for hours in a flavorful broth until fall-apart tender. Serve stew over buttery mashed potatoes or soft egg noodles.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Pat the beef cubes dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear the meat in batches in a hot skillet with oil until browned on all sides.
  2. Transfer meat to a slow cooker and add the broth, carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, peas, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme.
  3. Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, until beef is very tender.
  4. Remove bay leaf. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Serve stew warm over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

10. Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is comfort food at its finest. The creamy chicken filling and flaky crust are sensationally smooth and simple to savor.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Topping:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust or puff pastry sheet
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Make filling: Sauté onions, carrots and celery briefly in butter. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and milk. Simmer until thickened. Add chicken, peas, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer filling to a pie dish. Cut pastry to cover top of dish and crimp edges to seal. Brush with egg wash.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Conclusion

Tips for Smooth Meals

  • Choose foods that are naturally soft or easy to puree. Great options include eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, ricotta cheese, bananas, ground meat, and well-cooked vegetables.
  • Cook vegetables until very tender before mashing or pureeing. Adding broth, oil, or milk will thin the consistency.
  • Cut food into small pieces or chop finely before eating for easier chewing and swallowing.
  • Moisten food with gravy, sauce, dressing, broth, or beverages to help it glide down easily.
  • Ensure adequate denture fit or dental work to make eating less painful.

With a little forethought and creativity in preparation, you can produce nutritious meals that both look and taste appetizing while being easy to chew and swallow.

The key is including soft foods from a variety of categories – protein, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Vary flavors and textures to keep mealtimes interesting. No one should have to miss out on the joy and nutrition of delicious food.

With these recipes, people with chewing and swallowing limitations can continue to eat satisfying, healthy homemade meals.

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