Crunchy carrots, thick steaks, sticky caramel – these are all foods that can make a TMD (temporomandibular disorder) patient’s mouth water and hurt at the same time. One of the biggest challenges for people with TMD is finding food that they can eat without straining their jaw. However, often it’s not what you’re eating, but how you’re preparing it.
Slow Cooking to Make Food More Tender
Longer cooking times at lower temperatures make food more tender, especially meats. Here in Texas, if you talk to any BBQ pit master they will tell you the same. But you don’t need a grill or smoker to tenderize your food. An electric slow cooker, also called a crockpot, is a convenient piece of cooking equipment that allows you to cook food unattended for long periods.
They are super simple to use, sometimes having only a low/medium/high temperature dial. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen, slow cookers are fairly foolproof. Slow cookers are also serious timesavers. All you have to do to make an entire meal is prep the ingredients, put them in the slow cooker and then push start. Clean up is also easier since there are fewer pots and pans to wash. You’ll get a deliciously even-cooked meal without having to stress about it.
What You’ll Need: Crockpot/Slow cooker
Steaming the Firmness Out of Food
Cooking with steam gives food a moist texture without making it mushy. Instead of food going directly in water it is held slightly above the boiling liquid. The steam from the boiling water rises and cooks the food. It’s a common cooking technique for vegetables and seafood.
One of the other major benefits of steaming is that it’s a healthy option. No fat is required for the heat conduction, and up to 50% of the nutrients are preserved compared to other cooking methods.
What You’ll Need: Steaming pot or a steaming tray, along with a pot and lid
Sautéing to Soften Food
Sautéing is another soft cooking method that will make food easier to eat without making it soggy. However, you will need to use butter or a high smoke point oil in order to cook the food. This adds flavor, but it also adds fat.
The process is fairly straightforward. Heat a large pan that can hold all of the ingredients without overcrowding. Next add your cooking oil and let it heat up for a few seconds. Finally add your ingredients. Sautéing typically requires constant movement so that the food sears and softens without burning.
What You’ll Need: Large sauté pan with a lid
Blending Foods Until They’re Smooth
Few people blend their food, but it is a regular kitchen practice for TMD patients. When you have to eat a soft diet, smoothies are an easy way to get essential nutrients. Blending is also much more versatile than you may realize. In addition to making smoothies you can also blend butters, chop vegetables and create entire meals like delicious cold gazpacho soups.
What You’ll Need: Blender
Juicing Fruits and Vegetables Instead of Eating Them
Fruits are an amazing source of vitamins, fiber and more, but they can also be a pain in the jaw to eat. Apples, coconuts, pears – biting into some fruits turn nature’s candy into anything but a sweet treat. Like blending, juicing gives you another option for enjoying any and all fruits as well as vegetables.
Today’s juicers are easy to use and require little more than cutting up fruit. However, clean up can be a bit of a pain. Look for a juicer that has a strong engine and an easy way of containing and cleaning up all the pulp.
What You’ll Need: Juicer
We hope these tips will help you prepare foods that will care for your jaw successfully. Our goal is to conservatively maintain proper and healthy jaw function. If you believe your jaw stability has been compromised, we invite you to call or visit us online to schedule an appointment. At MedCenter TMJ, we do everything we can to improve the health of your jaws. It’s all we do!
Patients should consult with their dentist for more advice on creating a meal plan that works with TMD. If you don’t yet have a dentist, come to the TMJ dentist Houston, Texas, patients know they can trust. MedCenter TMJ’s dentists have been providing in-depth TMD diagnosis and treatment plans for decades. Call or schedule an appointment online in minutes.