About Us

Food Modification for Special Needs is an education program based out of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida/IFAS. It provides curriculum regarding texture-modified food preparation, menu planning and other related topics.

The target audiences for this program include educators, staff of care homes and senior services, and family caregivers. The main goal of the program is to provide individuals with information on how to properly prepare texture-modified foods that can be safely consumed by those with chewing and swallowing problems. This will help avoid risk of choking, aspiration, dehydration, weight loss, and malnutrition.

Whether you are a nutrition educator, caregiver who regularly assists those with chewing or swallowing problems or you have a loved one that needs assistance, this program offers resources that may help you improve the nutritional wellbeing of those with chewing and swallowing problems and other special needs.

This website provides links to a variety of educational EDIS (Electronic Data Information Source) publications from University of Florida/IFAS Extension. These publications are free to use and copy. Publications are peer-reviewed, research-based, and updated every three years. University of Florida/IFAS Extension is a collaboration among state, federal, and county governments in the state of Florida to provide expert knowledge to the public.

Malnutrition is of concern for individuals with difficulties swallowing or chewing food, particularly older adults. These individuals are at a higher risk for inadequate food intake, choking, aspiration, dehydration, and weight loss leading to decreased quality of life and increased health care needs.

Risk of malnutrition may be reduced by providing quality and safe texture-modified foods. Texture-modified foods, specifically pureed foods, can be difficult to prepare and often are less than acceptable. Appropriate preparation methods, and nutritious and tasty recipes and menus are needed to optimize texture-modified diets.

Program Director

Wendy Dahl

Wendy Dahl is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist with the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida. She teaches undergraduate level nutrition and disease, as well as, two graduate level medical nutrition therapy courses.

Wendy Dahl holds a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics, a BEd, and a MSc and a PhD in Nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is a Registered Dietitian and a Fellow of Dietitians of Canada.

See more information about Wendy Dahl at:UF/IFAS: Food Science & Human Nutrition Department.

Frequently Asked Questions



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What is a pureed food?

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Why do we prepare pureed foods?

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Why are we concerned with swallowing problems?

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Why do older adults develop malnutrition?

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Why are we concerned about malnutrition?

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What are the food safety concerns with preparing pureed foods?


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Which are preferred, shaped or unshaped pureed foods?

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How can I improve the flavor of pureed foods?