Drink your Meals- Real Food Recipes for Persons on a Liquid Diet
Nutritious and Tasty Drinkable Meals
Help! I Need to Make Foods that You can Drink!
I never thought I would be needing to prepare recipes for a liquid diet- but life has a way of teaching you things! My grown daughter recently fell and broke her jaw, requiring it to be wired. As painful as that was, and as miserable as she is feeling, the difficulty of eating just compounded the problems. She lost 3 pounds in just the first couple of days! That's not such a bad thing, you might be thinking. In fact we kiddingly commented that very same thing- to which, being unable to speak well with her mouth wired shut- she half-heartedly winced!
My mother's heart broke as I saw how she had to pour some liquid in a little plastic cup, put a towel to her chin, put her head back and let the liquid make its way through her barely open lips into her mouth to swallow. She'll never get enough nourishment like that, I thought. Of course, her husband is preparing her smoothies and buying the nutrition drinks that are available now- he's been so wonderful! She was still feeling weak, however and, naturally, you get tired of drinking nutrition drinks which definitely don't give you that satisfying feeling of eating real food.
What to do? Talking to an old friend about this situation, she related to me how she had her mouth wired many years ago for a teeth alignment problem and developed her own homemade liquid diet. She says she is probably the only person who ever GAINED weight while having their jaw wired shut :) So, very hopefully and gratefully, I followed her instructions and prepared the following foods for my daughter. She loves them and is able to eat (drink) them daily.
I will not be discussing "breakfast" or "desserts" since there are so many recipes out there that are easy to drink. I will only be sharing ideas for "main meals."
If you are in a similar situation with a loved one who has had oral surgery or mouth injury, or just unable to eat solid or soft foods, I hope that these ideas will be of some help to you.
The Main Ingredient of a Liquid Diet: The BROTHS
Make LOTS of BROTHS!
To make your foods "drinkable", you will need to make LOTS of broths! That is what will give them the flavor and will give your foods the consistency they need to be able to be able to be swallowed easily. So, this is the key and the basic ingredient to your liquid diet recipes.
The basic broths to make are: VEGETABLE, CHICKEN and BEEF. You can also make fish broth (although I have not made any of that as of yet).
CHICKEN BROTH- To make the chicken broth, I simply boiled 2 chicken breasts in a large pot of water. To give it some flavor (which I like to do, as this makes the broth a little more tasty), I added some onion powder and garlic powder (a couple of pinches each) and some powdered chicken bouillon (about a tablespoon) to the water. If you have a favorite spice, that you like to use for your chicken dishes, you may want to add that instead of the garlic/onion spices.
BEEF BROTH- I had some nice ground sirloin beef in the freezer and, after defrosting it, I boiled it to make the beef broth. I then added a couple spoonfuls of beef bouillon to give it a little extra beef flavor.
VEGETABLE BROTH- For the vegetable broth, which you will need a lot of, I boiled 2 packets of frozen MIXED VEGETABLES. I did add some spices to the water to give it a little extra flavoring (I used a lemon herb spice, but you can use your favorite spices). Of course, if you have fresh vegetables, all the better! I also had some frozen spinach and made some spinach broth by just boiling the spinach.
Basic Broths: Vegetable, Beef, Chicken
MASHED POTATOES- Down the hatch!
Making "Drinkable" Mashed Potatoes
How to Prepare Yummy Drinkable Mashed Potatoes
I know that mashed potatoes are a side dish, but we LOVE mashed potatoes, and, if I do say so myself, I make some of the best mashed potatoes! (I add carrots!) So I will describe how I prepared some mashed potatoes so that my daughter would be able to drink them with her "meal" (whichever meat she chose).
To make my "world-famous" mashed potatoes :) I peeled and cut 2 large potatoes into chunks and placed them into a pot of boiling water. I then chopped and added several baby carrots to the pot. I added a little salt and let them boil until done. I test them with a fork to know when they are soft and fully cooked.
I then put the boiled potatoes and carrots (along with the water in which they were boiled) into the food processor. (There should be enough water to cover the potatoes and carrots). Add about a half cup of butter or margarine (I like butter, but you can adjust the amount to your liking). Add a half cup of milk. Set your food processor to "liquefy". Taste and check the mashed potatoes for the consistency you want. If too thick, add more milk or broth.
One meal that she really enjoyed: the mashed potatoes, the chicken (also liquefied) and a V-8. (So much more tasty than a nutrition drink :) Delicious!
Veggies to Drink- Mixed Vegetables
"You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach, Baby!"
And Now to the "meat" of the Subject!
My good friend, who taught me all this, says there is no reason why a person who is unable to eat solid foods can't enjoy some of their favorite tastes. You just have to use some imagination and tell yourself, "OK, now I'm going to have a delicious chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables."
So, how to make it possible for a person who is unable to eat solid foods to enjoy chicken/turkey, beef, pork and other meats/fish? Having broths to add to food to liquify them is the key ingredient to a liquid diet. The next thing, for me, was what did I have on hand? I started out with chicken, beef and pork- mainly because those were the meats I had in my freezer :)
Another thing she suggested that will make it easier to prepare meats for a liquid diet is using ground meat, which allows the food processor to do a better job. The only ground meat I had was the ground sirloin. However, I found that after I had cooked the chicken, I cut it into chunks before putting it into the blender. Adding plenty of the broth, there was no problem with getting a liquid consistency for the chicken. Here is how I prepared the three meats.
1. The two simplest meats to prepare were the chicken and the beef. I used 2 large chicken breasts (which gave me enough for 6 small mason jars (the 6 oz. size). I boiled the chicken in a large pot filled about 3/4 of the way with water (to leave me plenty of broth). I like to add a little spice to my chicken broth- so I added a couple pinches of garlic powder and onion powder. For additional flavor I put in a couple tablespoons of powdered chicken bouillon. When the chicken was cooked, I let it cool and then cut it into chunks, put it into the food processor and added enough broth to liquefy it. I poured the mixture into the small mason jars, and they were ready!
2. The ground sirloin was just as easy as the chicken. I put the 1 and a half pounds of ground sirloin into a pot of water (again, I put in lots of water so that it would give me lots of broth). I seasoned the water with some powdered beef bouillon. When the meat was cooked, I just put it into the food processor with enough broth and liquefied it, poured it into the mason jars, and the beef was done!
3. For the pork, I decided to give it a little more of a homey flavor reminiscent of a pork stew that I cook and which my daughter likes. I put some olive oil in the frying pan, I cut up the pork loin that I had- about a pound- and let that fry until the meat was cooked. Then I chopped up some onions, added them and let them fry until soft. I added a small can of crushed tomatoes (I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand :( ...). Then, because I was making a liquid recipe, I added water to cover the mixture. I let it boil, then covered the pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. When it was done, I turned off the heat and let it cool for a little while. Then I simply poured the entire mixture into the blender and liquefied it. Done! It was ready to pour and store!
Drink Your Meals: Beef, Pork, Chicken
What You Will Need
- MEAT: preferably GROUND- chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish
- VEGETABLES- fresh or frozen
- Beef and Chicken Bouillon- preferably powdered
- Spices- your choice
- Canning jars- I like the 6oz for the meats and vegetables.- this will give you 2 meals each apiece. You can use the larger size to freeze and store the broths!
- Labels (very helpful to identify what is in the jars!)
- Pitchers- for the broths- IF you will be using them quickly- if not, store the broths in canning jars and freeze.