Nutrition-wise blog

Juicing and blending with a focus on flavor

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. May 22, 2013

If you're totally dependent on a blended or liquid diet, it's important that what you choose to blend is safe, nourishing and tasty.

In last week's blog, we covered safety tips. This week the focus is how to make sure that what you blend is as nourishing and tasty as possible.

  • Consistency. Your medical condition might dictate the consistency of your foods. Liquid consistency means that foods are pureed or blended and contain no distinct pieces of food. You may need to put the liquefied foods through a strainer to remove food pieces. Semi-solid foods require minimal chewing and include foods that are the consistency of mashed potatoes. Soft foods have distinct pieces about 1/8 inch in size that are moist, tender and easily chewed.
  • Nutrition. Think in terms of complete meals. Try to have a protein (meat, poultry, fish, beans/legumes, eggs) or dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), as well as a grain food (bread, cereal, rice, pasta) vegetables and fruit at most meals. This will help ensure that you get a wide variety of healthy nutrients.
  • Flavorful liquids. Use broth, vegetable juice, tomato sauce, milk or cream to thin savory foods. Choose fruit juices to thin sweet blends. You can even use salad dressings, mayonnaise or sour cream when blending vegetables.
  • Combinations. Foods can be blended and consumed separately or in combinations. For example, you could blend spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs together or liquefy the spaghetti and meatballs separately.
  • Seasonings. Season foods after blending because flavors may change when you blend them.
  • Temperature. Some foods are more appealing served cool — whereas others are best served warm. Let your preferences be your guide. However, most people needing blended diets are more comfortable when they avoid extremely hot or cold liquids.
  • Convenience. If you're in a time crunch — or you're not where you can easily blend up a meal — you can use pre-blended baby foods (season to your taste), cooked cereals (thinned with warm milk), smoothies or commercial meal replacement beverages. Just keep in mind that the foods you choose should be healthy and meet your nutritional needs.

I'd like to hear from those of you who have needed a blended diet. What tips do you have to share that have made your liquid meals safe, enjoyable and nourishing?

- Jennifer

May 22, 2013