Festive cooking for patients made easy

As the holiday season is fast approaching many of us are planning and preparing for the festive meals we will enjoy with our loved ones in the month of December. However, not everyone is able to share meals with the people they love. Patients with swallowing problems (or dysphagia) cannot have normal food and drinks. For them being able to enjoy especially adapted tasty and nutritious food, despite their condition, can have a tremendous impact on their quality of life.

It seems obvious. Yet many people with swallowing difficulties, whether in a hospital, a care facility or in their home do not get to enjoy tasty food. Preparing safe and nutritious food and drinks for patients with dysphagia is a daily challenge faced by families, chefs, professional carers, speech and language therapists and dietitians.

At Danone, we focus on the way people interact with and experience food and drinks, we know that the way patients experience food is crucial to their quality of life. To better support patients with swallowing difficulties, Nutricia, Danone’s medical nutrition business, teamed up with the Alicia Foundation, an institute for culinary research founded by Ferran Adria, the former head chef of the world-famous restaurant El Bulli. Together, Nutricia and the Alicia Foundation formed the Chef’s Council.

“Eating is one of the little everyday pleasures.”- Alicia Foundation

The Chef’s Council is a unique partnership of multi-disciplinary experts who work together to make eating and drinking more pleasurable for people who have been diagnosed with swallowing difficulties. It’s the fundamental belief of the Council that people with dysphagia deserve to enjoy mealtimes because it supports a better quality of a life.

This belief is central to Dysphagia Act – a document put together by the Chef’s Council that aims to inspire a collective movement towards better food for patients, contributing to encouraging healthier eating and drinking habits.

 “The Dysphagia Act aims to improve the patient eating experience and quality of life for patients with dysphagia.”- Pere Clave, President, European Society for Swallowing Disorders

To accompany the launch of the Dysphagia Act, Nutricia and the Chef’s Council released a recipe book with delicious dishes especially adapted for dysphagia patients. To mark the start of World Swallowing Week today, Nutricia is highlighting some of the festive recipes that would fit perfectly on any holiday menu, like these recipes for shrimp cocktail or brownies, for instance. Click here to find out more about the Chef's Council.

Dysphagia affects quality of life and clinical outcomes of patients

  • Dysphagia can result in a reduced food intake and an increased risk of aspiration
  • Up to 75% of dysphagia patients suffer from dehydration1,2
  • Every 1 out of 2 patients with swallowing difficulties is at risk of malnutrition3
  • Dysphagia patients are at an increased risk of pneumonia

1) González-Fernández M, et al. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep, 2013;1:187-96.

2) Leibovitz A, et al. Gerontology, 2007;53:179-83.

3) Carrión S, et al. Clinical Nutrition, 2017;36:1110-16.