A sore mouth, caused by illness, nutritional deficiency or side-effect of drug treatment (it classically occurs with many types of chemotherapy), or something as basic as poorly fitting dentures, can affect the types of food you feel like eating. As with nausea, discuss with your doctor to see if anything else can be tweaked drug-wise, and try these ideas to bring back some of the joy in eating.
- Drink plenty to keep your mouth moist and less sore, which may increase your appetite. Maybe try a little organic aloe vera juice, a traditional anti-inflammatory which can soothe a sore mouth. Note: as with all supplements and herbs/remedies, it’s best to check your medical team is happy for you to take this while undergoing treatment.
- Try easy-to-swallow dishes if the soreness is intense, like risotto loosened with plenty of stock; small-shaped pastas or lasagne or stuffed cannelloni, made with plenty of rich tomato and meat sauce; soup/noodle dishes with a good base stock with some soft chicken or small prawns and peas or mushrooms.
- Cut the crusts off soft, fresh bread and have plenty of moist fillings inside, such as egg mayonnaise, soft cream cheese and very thinly sliced cucumber, or salt beef with thinly sliced tomatoes and a little mild Dijon-style mustard. Brioche are particularly soft and now you can buy very soft wholemeal rolls, so softness doesn’t mean that you can’t include some beneficial fibre in your diet.
- Crumpets and drop scones can be soft and delicious when warm, buttered or topped with something like a little smoked mackerel pâté, or a pure fruit spread or compote on top.
- Make soups as nourishing as possible by adding ingredients such as Greek yoghurt, crème fraîche or cream at the end. Adding some Italian bread and drizzling with olive oil before serving also helps to make a soup more substantial yet easy to swallow.
- Casseroles and tagines tend to produce soft textures and can be a good option if you add some little dumplings or serve them with gnocchi. Cooking meat for a long time, for example a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb, can render the meat ready to melt in the mouth.
- With fish, go for larger, fleshier varieties where the bones are easier to remove. Bake or poach them in stock for soft flesh or make a fish pie with creamy sauce and fluffy mashed potato. See my delicious, light Smoked Trout and Dill Pâté.
- Soufflés and omelettes can be great if your mouth is sore, and all sorts of ingredients from mushrooms to a simple mature cheddar cheese work really well.
- Sorbets, jelly, ice creams and frozen yoghurts need not be seen as treats but more of a necessity! Little pots of cold yoghurt or chocolate mousse are also worth keeping in your fridge.
For more information on a nourishing healthy diet, see Nutrition Basics.
Discover easy-to-eat recipes by clicking on the boxes below.