Patients recovering from stroke, or any acute illness or condition, have an increased need for adequate nutrition. This includes calories, protein, and vitamins & minerals. It is imperative to maintain weight during recovery. If weight loss is necessary, it should be achieved after recovery, or at least once well on the way to recovery. The body generally does not recover from any illness as well or as fast if not receiving adequate nutrition.
A low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium diet is typically encouraged for all patients. This is the same diet prescribed for patients with heart disease and is usually referred to as a heart healthy diet or TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change) diet. By reducing dietary fat and cholesterol intake to less than 30% of calories per day and sodium intake to less than 2000mg per day, one can hope to reduce blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure, respectively. For those with existing diabetes or pre-diabetes, blood sugar control is also a concern. Poor blood sugar control may also increase risk for heart attack and stroke.
To achieve the TLC diet, the following should be the goal of intake:
Ideally, almost everyone (exceptions occur, of course) should eat at least 5 servings of fruits/vegetables each day for the vitamin, mineral, and fiber content and let the other food groups fill in as needed.
When requiring a texture modified diet, such as a pureed diet, there are foods commercially available. Several websites offer canned options for pureed diets, though these foods are far more expensive and not necessarily consistent with a TLC diet, as what can be prepared at home with a little time and know-how.
Thick-It Pureed Canned Products are roughly $6 per can when purchased individually, or approximately $4-6 per can when purchased in bulk. A 15 oz can is supposed to contain 5-8 servings depending on the food item (1/4 to 1/3 cup per serving) and contain stabilizers, preservatives, and sodium. A 1/3 cup serving of Salisbury Steak Pureed contains 9g of total fat, 1g of trans fat, and 310mg of sodium. In comparison, the polenta with chick peas and red pepper recipe contains only 3g of fat per serving, less than 0.5g of saturated fat, and no trans fat. Fresh, unprocessed foods typically have a higher nutrient content (vitamins and minerals) and a lower sodium content due to lack of processing and canning. Fresh is best!