For many, summer is a time to enjoy picnics in the park, backyard barbecues, baseball games, and the great outdoors. But for those with swallowing disorders such as dysphagia, higher temperatures can pose an increased risk of dehydration and lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, as foods and drinks are at the center of many seasonal activities and events.
Although they must often follow a diet of modified food textures and thickened liquids to help prevent aspiration and choking, there are many ways that those with dysphagia can enjoy the wonderful activities summer has to offer. Check out the following tips from the Thick-It® brand’s new Summer Guidebook.
Soak up the Sun
Take advantage of warmer weather by spending more time outside. Whether you choose to take a stroll at a local park, lounge on the beach, or do yoga in your own backyard, exposure to sunlight helps your body generate vitamin D — a necessary nutrient for a healthy brain, bones, and muscles.[i] Some doctors even prescribe sunlight as a source of vitamin D, which research has shown can improve cognitive function and mood.
Those who are physically able can also take part in outdoor activities with family and friends. Attend a baseball game, a grandchild’s soccer match, or a concert. If you are unable to leave home, host a backyard bonfire and sing-along. Share stories of the past or create new ones by going around the circle, having each person add the next sentence.[ii]
Maintaining proper hydration during the hot summer months can be difficult, especially for people with swallowing difficulties.[iii] The Thick-It® brand offers a variety of hydration solutions that can help you stay hydrated at home or on-the-go.
- NEW—Clear Advantage® Plus Electrolytes Thickened Beverages are pre-mixed with essential electrolytes to help your body stay balanced and hydrated. Available in refreshing Grape and Fruit Punch flavors, Clear Advantage® Plus Electrolytes thickened beverages are ready-to-drink whenever you are, no measuring or mixing required.
- Clear Advantage® HydraICE™ Electrolyte Freezer Pops provide the electrolytes our bodies need to stay hydrated and balanced in a refreshing, pineapple-flavored freezer pop. Expertly crafted with xanthan gum, HydraICE™ Freezer Pops maintain their thickness over time, even after thawing, and can also be enjoyed by those without swallowing disorders.
- Thick-It® Clear Advantage® Ready-to-Drink Beverages make it easy to take pre-thickened bottles of water, juice, coffee, or tea with you wherever you go without measuring or mixing.
You can also quench your thirst by sharing easy-to-mix, dysphagia-friendly mocktails like the Thick-It® Sunrise Mocktail (yield: 3 servings) with family and friends at your next summer get-together.
- 4 fl oz. Clear Advantage® Thickened Cranberry Juice Blend, Mildly or Moderately Thick
- 12 fl oz. Clear Advantage® Thickened Orange Juice Blend, Mildly or Moderately Thick
- Wash hands before beginning preparation. Sanitize surfaces and equipment.
- Pour Clear Advantage® Thickened Cranberry Juice Blend into a liquid measuring cup or pitcher.
- Add Clear Advantage® Thickened Orange Juice Blend and mix lightly.
- Pour 8 fl oz. into a tall glass or champagne flute and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, then cover and hold at 40°F or less until service (CCP).
- Test prepared recipe per IDDSI Testing Methods. Refer to IDDSI.org for details.
- Discard any unused portions of prepared recipe.
Enjoy Seasonal Flavors
Planning a cookout or barbecue this summer? Enjoy the flavors of the season with delicious and nutritious dysphagia-friendly recipes like the Puréed Barbecue Beef Sandwich (yield: 1 serving):
- 2 slices (1 oz) White bread, sliced with crust removed
- 1/2 cup Thick-It® Clear Advantage® Thickened Water Mildly Thick (Nectar)
- 1/3 cup Thick-It® Beef in Barbecue Sauce Purée—Smoke Flavor Added
- Prepare PU4 Bread: Place bread slices on a sheet pan in an even layer. Pour Thick-It® Clear Advantage® Thickened Water Mildly Thick (Nectar) over bread. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate. Allow bread to thoroughly soak for 2–4 hours or overnight.
- Place Thick-It® Beef in Barbecue Sauce Purée–Smoke Flavor Added in a microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave on high for 30–60 seconds until hot and steaming (165°F). Stir. Hold at 140°F or higher until served.*
*ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Place Thick-It® Beef in Barbecue Sauce Purée–Smoke Flavor Added in a sauce pan. Heat until hot and steaming (165°F), stirring occasionally. Hold at 140°F or higher until served.
- Test Thick-It® Beef in Barbecue Sauce Purée–Smoke Flavor Added and prepared PU4 Bread per IDDSI Testing Methods (Puréed Diet, PU4) using the Fork Drip Test and Spoon Tilt Test. Refer to IDDSI.org for details.
- To serve, place one slice of prepared PU4 Bread on bottom of serving dish. Top with 1/3 cup of Thick-It® Beef in Barbecue Sauce Purée–Smoke Flavor Added and remaining slice of prepared PU4 Bread. May form as an open-faced sandwich, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Discard any unused portions of prepared recipe.
For 10 other dysphagia-friendly recipes, download the Thick-It® brand’s free Variety Comes to the Table recipe book (including recipes for both single- and multiple-servings).
Dine with Dignity
People with dysphagia can be self-conscious about their condition and become embarrassed or angry during mealtimes, especially in public.[iv] However, there are several ways you can help your loved one proudly take their seat at the table during summer gatherings.
- Plan an outing. Let your loved one choose the restaurant and order their meal. Contact the restaurant in advance to alert them to the diner’s special requirements.
- Help your loved one maintain their clothing and appearance. Cravaat scarves offer a variety of discreet and stylish garments that protect clothing from spills.
- Stay engaged. Let your loved one weigh in on their preferences for what, where, and when they eat.
For more ideas for how to help your loved one with dysphagia safely enjoy the best summer has to offer, download the Thick-It® brand’s free Summer Fun Guide.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, treatment, or the use of Thick-It® or Sqwincher® products. The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment in any manner.