Preparing No Chew Foods with a Hand Chopper
Preparing "No Chew" Foods.... without Electricity!
I cook for someone who has trouble eating because he doesn't have any teeth to chew his food. We first tried to cope with this dilemma by buying and eating only soft foods. But a soft food diet can be limited and difficult to follow over the long term, so we have transitioned into preparing no chew foods from "regular" foods for lunch and dinner.
We own about 3-4 different blenders and choppers, and all of them work adequately but require electricity. This isn't usually a problem, but we were worried about what would happen if there was an emergency and we lost power for an extended time. I imagined that if we needed to we could try to grind food manually with a fork, but this could be quite labor intensive. He thought we could buy a meat grinder, but when we started searching for a solution, we found something that looked even better: a hand powered mini food chopper!! (Who knew such a thing existed??!)
Above you see the picture of what we found, it's called the It was designed by someone in Seattle and its intended purpose is for chopping nuts, veggies, and making hummus, pesto, salsa, guacamole and similar dishes while traveling or camping. Chef'n VeggiChop Hand-Powered Food Chopper.
To our surprise (again!), we found that this chopper is an ideal solution for eating food at someone else's house. Since it doesn't need to be plugged in, it can be used anywhere, so now we can go to dinner parties and even barbeques again! We actually did go to a family BBQ, and we used this device to chop up a hot dog and baked beans.
We also plan to go on vacation next month and we can use this to chop up any take-out order. I guess if we felt like having a picnic, that would be an option now too. It's so wonderful to have options!
You can buy this on Amazon - and it has over 300 reviews!
This thing has a string that you pull, just like starting a lawnmower. For best results, you hold it down with one hand and pull the string hard and repeatedly with the other hand. It's fun and effective.
It has 3 blades and holds about 3.8 cups.
What I've Chopped with It
Preparing meals is easier when our whole family can eat the same food. So I use this to create my own soft foods by either just chopping the food as-is, or adding a liquid like water or sauce to turn the food into a puree or even soup consistency. It will depend somewhat on the individual on how soft or mushy they want the food. If their mouth is sore, then you may want to process it until it turns into a baby food like consistency. If they have trouble swallowing, then you also have to do things a bit differently. Use your best judgement and experiment.
So I've used this to chop up many dinner foods, including the following:
- Orange Chicken and Rice
- French Fries
- Actually works! Way faster and less effort than chopping food with just utensils.
- Small and portable - doesn't take up much space, easy to bring along wherever you go
- No electricity required. Good for power outages, vacations, camping, etc.
- Fun to use and unique, which makes it fun to show off to friends and family.
- Easy to clean with hot water, or in the dishwasher (except for the lid, which has to be hand washed)
- Noisy. Not noisy compared to electric gadgets, but you won't be able to use this at a restaurant without attracting tons of attention.
- Requires two hands and some strength
- Don't put steaming hot foods in it. We tried to chop up some hot pasta with sauce and it created a vacuum seal and made it very difficult to open. Let foods cool first or use prior to cooking.
Other Blenders and Choppers We Own
We bought the Ninja and while the blender container and mixer bowl both work well, it's overkill for chopping up food for just one person, unless you were going to freeze or otherwise save the food for future meals.
We do use the blender to make smoothies, and this has added a lot of good nutrition! One smoothie recipe we like a lot is: greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, banana, orange juice, and spinach or kale. It's a really a good what to get your green veggies which can be hard when you don't have any teeth. I highly recommend smoothie making (or even juicing) to anyone who's going to have problems with chewing for the long term.
This is our everyday go-to device. We put the food into a bowl with high sides, add a little liquid, and chop. It's super easy to use and to clean up... The easy clean up factor is the biggest plus for this one. If you've never tried an immersion blender, you don't know what you're missing.
If making soft food or easy-to-chew food is part of your daily routine, you probably have some good tips and suggestions. Feel free to post a favorite meal idea or recipe, or share your story.