Eating and drinking safely

The following may help to make eating and drinking safer and meal times more enjoyable:

  • Eat slowly and chew food well – allow extra time for eating & drinking
  • Don’t overfill your mouth – take small sips / mouthfuls
  • Smaller meals can be easier to manage. If losing weight, you may need to add in extra snacks between meals
  • Avoid foods which are hard, chewy, tough, fibrous, have stringy textures, pips/seeds, bones or gristle
  • Sit fully upright if possible – ideally try to remain sitting upright for 30 minutes after your meal
  • Make sure each mouthful is swallowed properly before taking the next – it may be necessary to swallow at least twice after every mouthful to make sure everything has gone down
  • Avoid eating or drinking when you are drowsy
  • Avoid using spouted beakers or straws unless specifically recommended by a speech & language therapist
  • Avoid distractions at meal times e.g. TV, music (you may be more likely to choke if you are focusing on something else)
  • Don’t try to talk while eating or drinking
  • Good oral hygiene makes eating more enjoyable and safer – regularly brush your teeth & gums or clean dentures


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