Tooth loss is one reason your dad may need softer foods. After a stroke, softer foods might be necessary if swallowing becomes difficult. People with dementia also have a harder time with chewing and swallowing.
Softer foods can seem unappealing, but they don't have to be. Meals with softer foods can be visually appealing and tasty. They don't have to be difficult to make. Create gourmet meals that your dad will love.
Make Purees in Advance
A blender or food processor is one of the most important tools for creating soft, easy-to-swallow meals. You're going to puree foods. One benefit of pureed foods is that you can make them in advance and store them in the freezer or refrigerator. This will make it easy to put meals together.
You'll just need to heat them in the microwave. Even better, invest in reusable silicone food storage bags that you can put in a slow cooker or steam basket for reheating.
Plate With Color in Mind
When you're plating a meal, keep colors in mind. Pair duller ground or shredded meats with brightly colored purees. For example, a minced chicken patty could be placed on a bed of pureed sweet potatoes. Add spoons of creamed spinach to the side of that. Finish the plate with some roasted and mashed purple carrots.
Choose Meats and Vegetables That Are Softer
Aim for foods that are softer or puree easily. Winter squash is going to puree more easily than spaghetti squash. Celery could be cooked, but it's not always palatable when cooked. It can be stringy. Celeriac may be a better choice.
Carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, rutabaga, and tomatoes are other foods that do puree well. Fish, chicken, and turkey are going to puree better than steak or pork.
Your dad may not need foods to be pureed to a baby food consistency. He may be able to manage chewing small pieces. Chop or puree to his requirements. If pieces are still too large, you can chop them to the size he can handle.
If you're having a hard time balancing meal preparation with feeding your dad, there's an easier way. When you're stressed and frustrated, you may not remain as patient as your dad needs. With the help of a home care aide, you have time to take a break and de-stress. Talk to a home care agency to discuss how caregivers help you clear your to-do list each day.