“Pureed Foods for Adults” was written by Kierra Brown, RD & edited/updated by Katie Dodd, MS, RDN, CSG, LD, FAND.
Kierra is a Registered Dietitian with a M.S. in Nutrition Sciences at Indiana University Pennsylvania.
Pureed food is blended and requires virtually no chewing.
A pureed diet can help people get enough food during times they are having difficulty chewing or swallowing. In addition to maintaining sufficient oral intake it can even reduce choking risk.
Pureed foods for adults are easy to make.
This article dives into the specifics of pureed food for adults, how to make pureed food, where to buy pureed foods, and some pureed food recipes to get you started.
Why Do You Need Pureed Food?
Pureed foods are a type of texture modification used to address problems related to chewing and swallowing. A pureed diet consists of foods that are blended, whipped, or mashed until they are a “pudding-like” texture.
Pureed Food for Swallowing Problems
For individuals with swallowing problems, making sure the food is the right consistency is important. Pureed fruits and vegetables, milkshakes, pudding, and soups are examples of pureed foods for swallowing problems.
A Speech Therapist is often involved with making recommendations for texture modification recommendations. A dietitian is involved with providing diet education and supporting individuals in preparing the appropriate foods.
If you are having difficulty swallowing foods it is always important to talk to your doctor. Certain tests may be required to make sure you are eating the right texture of foods for your individual situation.
Learn more about Dysphagia in the Elderly.
Pureed Food for Chewing Problems
Individuals with missing teeth, pain in their mouth, or those recovering from an oral procedure may benefit from a pureed diet. Pureed food benefits individuals with chewing problems since these foods require no chewing.
In addition to pureed foods, there are soft foods that don’t require chewing for those with chewing problems. You can learn more in our articles 75 Soft Foods to Eat When Chewing Hurts and 15 Best Foods You Can Eat Without Chewing.
High calorie drinks are also beneficial for those who cannot chew for a short period (ex. after tooth removal or oral surgery).
How to Make Pureed Food
Making pureed foods is a relatively simple process with few instructions. If you have a food processor or blender, you can start pureeing foods today!
Basic Pureed Food Instructions
- Remove any seeds, pits, skins, bones, or inedible parts from food.
- Cut the food into small pieces.
- Cook food until soft and tender, if needed.
- Use a food processor or blender to puree. Add small amounts of water or liquid to help achieve desired consistency. The more water added, the thinner the consistency will be.
The amount of liquid you need to add will vary based on the type of food you are pureeing. Some foods contain a higher water content (an easy example is watermelon!) and require less water for pureeing.
Finding the Right Blender to Puree Food
If you are going to make your own purred foods, you’ll need the right tools. A blender or food processor will make it easier to puree foods. And the stronger the blender, the quicker and easier it will be to puree food.
Now keep in mind, a machine is not required to make pureed foods. You can always manually mash foods if they are cooked soft and you take the time to ensure a smooth consistency.
Consider the following characteristics when choosing a blender:
- Capacity (how much it can hold)
- Power (how strong the blender is)
- Functions (special features)
- And price (low or high)
A quality blender should also be easy to use and easy to clean. Some lower price blenders will mix liquids easily, but may not mix whole foods or frozen foods well. Investing in a more powerful blender may be beneficial for making pureed foods for adults.
Some people prefer to use a full-sized blender, a single-serving blender, immersion blender, or even a commercial milkshake blender. A food processor will also work.
Recommended Blenders for Pureed Foods
Here are some of my favorite blenders for pureed foods. Note, this section includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Vitamix Blender for Pureed Foods
The Vitamix Blender* is a more high-end blender (i.e. it’s more expensive). However, it is one of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment. This blender is powerful and versatile.
You can use this blender for making pureed foods as well as smoothies, shakes, soups, nut butters, and so much more!
The Vitamix blender is strong enough to puree foods quickly and is easy to clean. To clean, just add some soapy warm water and blend (with the lid on, of course). Then rinse and dry.
Magic Bullet for Pureed Foods
The Magic Bullet* is perfect for making single serving pureed foods.
The Magic Bullet is small enough to make one serving. You can puree foods or make a smoothies or shakes right in the serving cup.
This product is great for convenience, ease of serving, and ease of cleaning. To clean, just throw the cups in the dishwasher!
Cuisinart Smart Stick for Pureed Foods
The Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender* is my favorite immersion blender. The hand blender works great for pureeing foods in a bowl or pot.
If you are cooking foods to make them softer to puree, you can use an immersion blender to blend the food right in the pot. You can also pureeing foods in the bowl you plan to eat from.
This particular immersion blender set also comes with a whisk and chopper/grinder attachment, which can be helpful for cutting and breaking down harder foods and meats.
The Pureed Diet
With a pureed diet it is important to maintain a balanced diet and incorporate as many different healthy choices from each food group as possible. Try to focus on providing variety in the diet, particularly if an individual needs to be on a pureed diet for an extended period of time.
Ensuring a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Changing the texture of a food can reduce cause the variety consumed in a given diet. A healthy, balanced pureed diet should include foods from all food groups. This includes fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and whole grains.
Experiment with different types of pureed foods and be sure to add seasonings to make them taste good. It can be a shift going from eating a diet with a variety of textures to just eating pureed food.
Being mindful of eating from each food group can ensure you are eating a more balanced diet.
Foods to Select/Limit
Most foods puree well but any foods with lumps, seeds or chunks should be avoided. Anything that can cause an individual to choke or would require additional chewing should be avoided.
Select stewed, boiled, or mashed fruits and vegetables, well cooked pasta, meats and poultry in sauce or gravy to puree. Adding additional liquids to pureed foods can make them easier to swallow (ex. gravy on mashed potatoes).
A strong blender may be required for a smoother texture (see our section above on recommended blenders for pureed foods).
High Calorie Pureed Foods
Some individuals require a high calorie diet to prevent unintended weight loss or to gain weight.
If someone is new to a pureed diet, they might find themselves eating less. Sometimes pureed foods can be less appealing, especially if not prepared right. And pureed foods lack a lot of texture that most people are used to eating.
If you need to add more calories to your pureed foods, you can substitute the water for a liquid with calories.
High calorie liquids to use with making pureed foods include:
- Whole Milk
- Nutrition Drinks
You can also add butter, olive oil, nut butter, or other high calorie foods to the foods you are pureeing.
Check out our article, High Calorie Soft Foods for Weight Gain, for more ideas for high calorie soft foods. If you require blended foods over just soft foods, use this article for ideas and inspiration. Start with the soft foods and use them to make a pureed dish.
Delicious Homemade Pureed Food Recipes
Strawberry Puree Recipe
- 1-pint fresh strawberries
- Water (small amount)
- Wash, dry and remove stems from berries.
- Place in food processor or blender with a dash of water
- Blend until desired consistency, add more water if needed
For more variety or to switch up this recipe you can add juice instead of water (lemon juice or lime juice adds a fun twist) or add some sugar to make it more of a dessert.
Potential add-ins for strawberry puree:
- Lime juice
- Lemon juice
- Fresh mint
- Fresh basil
Mango Puree Recipe
- 1 mango
- Water (small amount)
- Slice mango in half and remove flesh from seed
- Cut mango into small cubes and cut away from skin
- Place diced mango into blender with a dash of water
- Blend until desired consistency, add more water if needed
For more variety with this recipe you can replace the water with half and half or add some sugar. Adding in some coconut or coconut cream can make this a delicious tropical dessert.
Potential add-ins for mango puree:
- Coconut cream
- Peppers for spice
Apple Banana Puree Recipe
- 1 medium apple
- 1 small banana
- water/milk as needed
- Wash apple, peel skin with a peeler. Chop into small pieces.
- Boil/steam in water for 10 minutes (or cook in microwave).
- Place steamed apples and peeled banana into blender with liquid
- Blend until desired consistency, add more liquid if needed
For more variety you can add sugar for dessert or more fruits for more flavor.
Potential add-ins for apple banana puree:
- Greek yogurt
Savory Broccoli Puree Recipe
- Chicken broth, as needed
- Wash broccoli and remove stalks and florets. Cut into bite sized pieces.
- Cook broccoli in broth and boiling water, until tender (or cook in microwave).
- Drain and add to blender, with chicken broth
- Blend until desired consistency, add more liquid if needed
For more variety you can add sautéed onions and butter to this dish to make it extra tasty. Adding sour cream or herbs/spices can add even more variety.
Potential add-ins for broccoli puree:
- Olive oil
Premade Pureed Foods for Adults
Don’t feel like making your own pureed foods? There are premade pureed foods on the market if you want an option you don’t have to make yourself.
Sometimes having a stash of premade pureed foods on hand can be helpful if you don’t feel like cooking. Or are in a rush to get a meal made.
Pureed Foods from Amazon
We order a lot of things from Amazon. Who knew you could also order pureed foods?
Here are some pureed foods from Amazon. Note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Example of premade pureed food options available through Amazon:
Pureed Food Delivery Services
There are also meal delivery services that will deliver premade pureed foods directly to your front door. Here are some meal delivery services that provide pureed foods.
Mom’s Meals Pureed Meal Delivery
Mom’s Meals Pureed Meal Delivery offers fully prepared meals for those with dysphagia. Their menu includes several breakfast meals and even more lunch/dinner options.
The pureed meals are balanced and include desserts to make meal times more enjoyable. Check out their Pureed Menu to see current offerings.
Gourmet Pureed another website that offers freshly prepared and nutritionally balanced pureed foods for adults.
Once you dig around this website you may notice some similarities between Gourmet Pureed and Mom’s Meals. This is because they are the same company… they just market in a couple of different ways.
Sun Meadow Meals
SunMeadow Meals offers pureed meals for seniors. While they have a limited selection of meals available, they are nutritious and balanced. The meals are frozen and can be purchased in bulk if needed.
You can check out their menu to see which pureed meals are available.
Pureed Food Adults Will Want to Eat
Puree foods may not the most appealing, but presenting the food in creative ways utilizing containers and food molds can improve visual appeal and intake.
Think about it, how appealing does a scoop of mashed potatoes look? With intention you can make pureed foods look delicious.
Consistency and Containers
Pureed foods should be blended to a pudding-like consistency. The food should be one consistent texture and not separate into liquid and solid parts.
You can prepare pureed foods in bulk and placed in appropriately sized containers. Meal prepping can save time and energy.
Glass containers may work best as they hold their shape, do not absorb odors, and can be reheated. Here is a nice set of 12 Glass Food Storage Containers* that come with lids and are completely dishwasher safe.
Food Molds for Pureed Foods
Food molds can help make foods more visually appealing and appetizing. Preformed foods compared to unformed foods are more likely to be consumed thereby increasing calorie and protein intake. Food molds can be purchased from several websites (just Google it!).
Here are some options we found on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Broccoli Food Mold
To go along with our Pureed Broccoli recipe above, you can use a broccoli food mold*. By using this mold, the broccoli you serve will look more like normal broccoli on the plate.
Pork Chop Food Mold
This pork chop food mold* is a great option for making pureed meats look more like regular meat on the plate. The pork chop and broccoli molds together would make a great looking puree meal.
Premade Molded Puree Food
In addition to buying food molds, you can also buy premade molded puree foods. This pureed shaped fruit mix* includes mixed berry, peaches, pears, pineapple purees.
Pureed foods can make eating a safe experience for those with chewing and swallowing difficulties. Pureed foods may not appear the most appetizing, but mealtimes can still be a pleasurable experience for those on pureed diets by using food molds and incorporating delicious recipes.
You can make your own pureed foods or buy premade pureed foods delivered directly to your door.
We hope this article gave you some good ideas and next steps for getting the best pureed foods for you. Best of luck!
University of Virginia. Pureed Diet. https://med.virginia.edu/ginutrition/wp-content/uploads/sites/199/2014/04/Pureed-Diet-Nov-2017.pdf.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Eating Guide for Pureed and Mechanical Soft Diets. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/pureed-and-mechanical-soft-diets.
Keller HH, Duizer LM. What Do Consumers Think of Pureed Food? Making the Most of the Indistinguishable Food. J Nutr Geron Geriatrics. 2014;33(3):139-159. https://doi.org/10.1080/21551197.2014.927302
McBride S, Atkinson B, Groat NB, Issacson L, Nordlund et al. Effects of Preformed vs Unformed Puree Texture on Food Intake in Acute Care. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018;118(9):A46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2018.06.178.