The EAT Snack: What is a transitional food?
Being a speech language pathologist and mother of two young children, I realize that many of the diagnostic skills I used with my patients I also used with my children as they began eating. My sensitivity of choking and aspiration pneumonia strongly influenced decisions I made with my children as they transitioned from puree to solid bolus. I searched for dissolvable or melt-able finger foods that required limited oro-motor skills.
Many of the same principles apply to adults. There were times when conducting bedside swallowing evaluations that I would be hesitant to try a solid bolus for fear of the patient choking. During those food trials, I often wished I had a transitional food to present to medically compromised patients that required less oral-motor skills. Solving this dilemma is one of the goals of our EAT Snack.
According to the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative, “Transitional food textures are those that start as one texture and change to another texture specifically when moisture is applied. The food texture is used in development teaching or rehabilitation of chewing skills.” (Transitional food texture assessment, IDDSI.org) EAT snacks exemplifies this classification as it starts as a solid bolus and quickly transitions into a minced moist bolus with saliva.
Visit www.iddsi.org for further details regarding food classifications. The initiative to standardize food and liquids across health care setting will help to ensure the best quality care for patients of all ages.