Easy Chew Easy Swallow Recipes to Help Celebrate the Holidays

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while the COVID-19 pandemic could change the way people around the country celebrate this year, the holiday for many remains centered on the feast. Before planning your meal, be sure to check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tips on celebrating Thanksgiving during the COVID outbreak.

Once ALS takes away a person’s ability to swallow safely, maintaining adequate nutrition can become a challenge for people living with ALS and their caregivers. And finding delicious family friendly recipes for all to enjoy during the holidays can be difficult.

For people living with ALS, it is important to ensure that a meal is not only nutritional and tasty, but also easy to swallow. To help maintain a healthy and nutritious diet, there are many tactics to consider as you plan your meals.

For example, choose foods that are normally soft that require little chewing, such as bread, rice, pudding, hummus, soft boiled eggs, and apple sauce. “Lubricating” foods can make it easier to swallow dry foods using sauces, gravies, dips, and dressings, all of which are often plentiful with holiday recipes.

Modifying the consistency of food using a blender or food processer can help make foods easier to chew and swallow, turning them into a pleasantly thick liquid by blending with water, milk, almond milk, or soup.

While adjusting to a “new normal” of eating with ALS can take a little creativity at times, there are many delicious and healthy recipes to consider. To find more high calorie and easy to chew recipes to try this holiday season, visit our website HERE.

Given the important role that pumpkin plays for many Thanksgiving feast, here are two additional recipes to incorporate that seasonal favorite in your meal:

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients: 3/4 cup water, 1 small onion, chopped, 1 can (8 ounces) pumpkin puree, 1 cup unsalted vegetable broth, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 cup half and half, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 green onion, green top only, chopped.

Directions: 1) In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the water over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Don’t let the onion dry out. 2) Add the remaining water, pumpkin, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the milk and cook until hot. Don’t boil. 3) Ladle into warmed individual bowls and garnish with black pepper and green onion tops. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Ingredients: 1 can (15 Ounce) Pumpkin Pie Filling, 3 cups half and half (more if needed), 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt (up to 1 Cup), A Few Dashes of Cinnamon, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, Cinnamon Graham Crackers, Crushed.

Directions: 1) Well ahead of time, place pumpkin pie filling into a freezer-safe container. Freeze for a few hours or until frozen solid. 2) To make the smoothie, add half and half, yogurt, and brown sugar into a blender. Drop in the frozen pumpkin pie filling and blend until the frozen filling is completely pulverized. Add more half and half or yogurt as needed to get it the consistency you’d like. 3) Pour into individual glasses and sprinkle the tops with graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately! *Can also sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg instead of graham cracker crumbs.

The ALS Association has additional resources available to help make sure people living with ALS do not struggle with nutrition issues throughout their ALS journey: