ARTICLES / General /
Foods for Stroke /
By Marie Santangelo, Staff Writer
Loved ones know the impact their illness has on
the family and may struggle against using special
utensils or following a dietary change. When a
caregiver takes control and incorporates changes in
diet and exercise into the family matrix, everyone
benefits. There are no excuses for why dietary
changes aren’t followed because there are no
differences in “who gets what.”
Stroke can diminish the capability to chew and
swallow. The patient who enjoyed vegetables
and salads may not be able to handle these larger
pieces. Adapting to chopped salads and
vegetables can be an option. Wilted or
“cooked” salads have made their way into finer
restaurants and can be featured on your dinner
table. This simple change in a meal will offer
everyone at the table something new to try together.
Mealtime is favored by many households as a time
to get together, chat, and connect. Food, its
taste and presentation bring people together in many
ways. Instead of caregivers feeling stress
about preparing more than one meal type, new dishes
can be served and evaluated.
Since the taste of food may be altered after a
stroke, and the patient placed on a sodium
restricted diet, suggestions for flavoring can be
obtained from the dietician. Asking about
products like dulse or seaweed to replace salt is an
option. They also add healthy minerals to
dishes in ways iodized salt doesn’t.
Soups can be an easy option as an entrée as long
as a caregiver is not required to monitor fluid
intake and output. Even when fluid is
restricted, a balance can be found by changing
portion size to fit the fluid intake restrictions.
Stews and other broth-based items like gravies and
sauces have to be included in fluid intake as well.
However, this is where portion control for the whole
family comes in, and is an advantage.
Jar sauces provide a great deal of convenience
when cooking, but the sodium content and other
additives may be deemed off limits after a stroke.
A caregiver may be encouraged to cook with fresh
ingredients, but this may not be practical on a
day-to-day basis. However, cooking ahead and
keeping some things frozen may be a way to save time
and stress while using homemade ingredients.
The time spent one day will be saved by reheating on
Sauces and gravies work well when reheated
carefully. A crock pot can be set on low at
day’s start, with the meal ready by dinnertime.
Whole grains like amaranth can be cooked well and
mixed with other cereals like grits or oatmeal.
Amaranth has a surprising quality of being very
gravy-like in consistency, and can work as a gravy
alternative. Since it also holds other flavors
well, small amounts of honey and cinnamon or other
“warm” spices keep away the salt factor while