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An Introduction to Texture-Modified Diets

Maintaining good nutrition depends on one’s ability to consume a wide variety of foods. Unfortunately, health problems can sometimes make eating difficult. For example a texture-modified diet may be prescribed for someone who has had a stroke, suffered a head/neck injury or has difficulty chewing properly. The required level of food and fluid texture is prescribed by a speech pathologist, while dietitians ensure individuals are meeting their hydration and nutrition needs.

The provision of thickened fluids and texture-modified foods is a routine part of the assessment and management of feeding and swallowing difficulties. Patients should be assessed and monitored by a speech pathologist and dietitian to ensure suitability of products. Further information regarding the complete guidelines can be obtained from the Dietitians Association of Australia and Speech Pathology Australia.

For a demonstration on these three textures, please click Texture A, Texture B or Texture C. These videos appear courtesy of Loqui Speech Pathology.

Texture C - Pureed Food
Puree foods are, by definition, smooth, moist and lump free. Traditionally the presentation methods applied to smooth pureed foods have been limited to using an ice cream scoop to place each meal component on the plate, serving meal components separately in bowls or on a divided plate and sometimes mixed all together.

Texture modified foods, in particular pureed diets; have been implicated in the high prevalence of inadequate nutritional intake in aged care residents. They can have poor nutritional value compared with regular foods especially where liquid is added to achieve a smooth puree. Residents may be embarrassed eating pureed meals in front of other people and this can lead to both poor intake and social isolation. These foods can be unappealing in appearance, texture and taste and therefore poorly consumed.

Studies have shown that those on a texture-modified diet consume significantly less energy than those on a regular diet, which can contribute to an increased risk of malnutrition and dehydration. Using moulding techniques to serve pureed foods in shapes that resemble their original form has been found to increase patient satisfaction with meal appearance, increase nutritional intake and reduce plate waste.

Shape It
Flavour Creations' Shape It is a natural product that is gluten, soy, nut and dairy free. Shape It was developed to specifically address the need to enhance the dining experience by ensuring the food served looks as natural and or appealing as possible without compromising flavour or aroma. Adding Shape It to pureed foods allows them to be moulded or shaped to a three-dimensional form that either resembles the original food, or is in a shape that adds interest and visual appeal to the plate; while maintaining a texture that is still suitable for people on a smooth puree diet.

Moulding foods and fluids with Shape It will not take any additional time. By adding Shape It into the front part of the food service process, will save more time at the back end. There will be no more scraping half-eaten plates of food into the trash (up to 50% waste currently occurs in facilities) and soaking plates to remove dried uneaten food will become a thing of the past.

Finger Food
Forming food into shapes suitable for use as finger foods is especially important for dementia patients who might have difficulty using a knife and fork and find it much easier to pick food up and eat it. Finger foods can also be eaten whilst standing or moving around, which is ideal for people who have difficulty remaining seated during mealtimes. Being able to choose what they want to eat when they want is far more preferable to being fed by someone else. It helps restore some dignity and offers them greater control over their mealtimes, which in turn can enhance their self-esteem and engagement and ultimately help improve food intake and nutritional health.

Shape It Moulds
Flavour Creations' Shape It Moulds are designed to improve the visual appeal of pureed meals to enhance the dining experience and nutritional intake for those on textured-modified diets. Many of the moulds can be used for a wide variety of foods making them very economical and offering maximum meal variety and more efficiencies in the kitchen. With 20 – 40% of residential aged care residents now on a textured diet, moulds are an essential part of serving appetising recognisable food to enhance compliance.

From sausages and carrots to peas and potato wedges the mould shapes are easily recognisable with a focus on a small footprint ensuring the portion size is not daunting and meets state-based nutrition standards. Ideal for use Each silicone mould is dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe and includes a food safe lid.

Flavour Creations' Founder and CEO Bernadette Eriksen's new cookbook shaped: your essential guide to shaped cuisine simplifies the often challenging world of texture C or pureed food diets by offering helpful tips on menu planning and presentation ideas that bring smooth pureed foods back to life. Incorporating Shape It and Shape It Moulds across many of the 100+ recipes, shaped shows how quick and easy moulding pureed foods in shapes that resemble their original form can restore dignity, social engagement and ultimately help improve food intake and nutritional health for those on texture-modified diets.

(Picture credit: Shaped Fish & Chips)






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