How to Attend A Holiday Event
The best part of a holiday meal is the atmosphere. The gathering of family and friends, the decorations, the music and the games, all of these are as important as the meal itself. Eating with family and friends can be magic.
Then again, if your family suffers from a little or a lot of dysfunction, you have developed your coping strategies. I shall say no more. As long as no one goes to the hospital or to jail.
How can the person with dysphagia attend? These tips allow the person with a swallowing disorder to be part of holiday celebrations.
The only thing required is a little advance planning. You need a kit, so you can enjoy the same food that the rest of the family and friends are enjoying. Just because the form of food has changed, doesn’t mean the person has to be isolated or become a wallflower.
The first thing you need is your own equipment for pureeing on site. You need a carry case and a cooler to take home leftovers. With the bounty of the holidays, leftovers are traditional. If you bring glass storage containers with lids and a cooler with ice, you can take food home with you and puree it the next day. See my blog posts on the website for how to puree a sandwich and how to puree pie or even how to puree cookies.
- My portable machine of choice is a nutrition extractor, a NutriBullet. This has the most power to liquefy most vegetables and proteins by using a little liquid. The liquid can be water or it can be stock. It can also be gravy. You may want to bring a little stock in a closed container for this purpose. The Nutribullet is good for salads and for veggies, because it will liquefy plant skins.My second portable machine of choice is the mini food processor or mini blender. The small Ninja or any other mini food processor are perfect. The Ninja has flat bottom and the double blades. These are excellent for puree and they are small enough to be easy to take along.
- Bring a small mesh sieve and a silicone spatula to use to create the best texture for your puree. Mashed potatoes are best put through a sieve to remove any lumps or skins, as putting them in a blender or mini food processor may turn them to glue.
All of the above tools should be washed after use.
- In your carry case, place single portion envelopes of instant thickener, either gel or powder. Each envelope is enough for four ounces of liquid to nectar or honey consistency. Bring enough to cover several items or thickening to your level of thickening. With the holiday meal, some of the food will serve as a thickener and the instant thickener will bind the puree. Use gravy to puree the turkey or a little glaze or sauce to puree ham.Bring thickener for alcoholic beverages from SloDrinks (wine, beer, champagne, carbonated beverages) if you are cleared for alcohol.
- Bring a small cooler to take home leftovers. Foods should be kept cool with ice packs or ice in zip bags. Individual items can be packed in covered glass dishes, if you bring your own along.
- Follow food safety rules. Food should not sit out for more than two hours. Take leftover food straight home and refrigerate or freeze it immediately.
With a little planning, the person with the swallowing disorder can be part of holiday celebrations.Have fun.