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Caregivers and persons with stroke need to remember that following a stroke several issues may occur that can affect nutritional status.

For example:

-lack of or poor appetite
-decreased swallowing ability
-decreased chewing ability
-diminished taste sensation
-decreased vision
-increased time to eat snacks and/or meals
-prescribed and over-the-counter herbal products and/or drugs all affect nutritional status after a stroke.

Maintaining adequate nutrition is of vital importance for regaining health as well as for future health concerns and also prevention of another stroke.

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What You Can Do?

spicesMaintain Good Nutrition:

There are several ways to improve mealtime so that adequate nutrition can be maintained.
1. Use of spices and herbs, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic, and paprika to increase the tastes of foods, may improve appetite.

2. If eating takes a lot of time, focus on foods high in calories and protein. Examples of these foods include, but are not limited to, the following: meats, such as chicken; vegetables; and carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes.

3. Consider the use of soft foods such as cheese, eggs, pasta, yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, milk shakes, blended drinks, and macaroni with cheese, if swallowing and chewing problems are present. YOU MUST CONSULT YOUR SPEECH THERAPIST, DIETITIAN, OR YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER FOR FOODS THAT MEET YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS.

4. If visual problems are an issue, make sure food is within the person's sight. Refer to the clock method, such as foods are at two o'clock, or try telling the individual where food may be located on the plate.

5. Dine with family or friends and play soft music to help increase the appetite.

6. Vary food textures and temperature to increase the appeal of a meal.

7. Consider exercise as a way to increase appetite and aid with digestion of foods. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER [doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant] BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.

Eat the Right Kinds of Foods

Eating the right kinds of foods is also important. Always remember to follow the diet that your healthcare provider has prescribed for you.

While there is no true "right diet or right way to eat," adequate nutrition involves eating a balanced diet. Use your plate and the guidelines at to help you determine the right balance of foods for you. Visit for your specific diet recommendations.

nutrition chartCheck with your physician and/or dietitian for the calorie level right for you.

-Remember to enjoy your food and choose smaller portions.

- Consider your environment and ways to make mealtime easier. Try making larger meals and freezing leftovers. Eat meals that are quickly and easily prepared or try home delivered meals.

- Make fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat/fat free milk/dairy the basis of your food choices.. An example of a meal using guidelines would be a 3-ounce chicken breast, ½ cup green beans, ½ cup whole wheat pasta with fat free margarine, 1 cup of strawberries and 1 cup of fat free milk.

- Choose at least half of your grain servings as whole grain servings. Include brown rice, bran cereals, wheat pasta, 100% whole grain whole wheat bread or other breads with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.

- Limit your intake of high sugar, high solid fat, and high sodium foods. These include cakes, pies, cookies, pizza, hot dogs, sausage and other similar foods. Enjoy these as a treat occasionally.

- Drink plenty of water and other calorie free fluids.

- Limit your sodium intake to 1500 to 2000mg of sodium per day. One teaspoon of salt delivers about 2000mg of sodium. Be sure to read food labels for sodium content of foods.

Following these Guidelines, will help you maintain adequate nutrition and your overall health will benefit.

Additional Information:

The following are some web sites to provide you with more information about nutrition:

Nutrition Information

American Society for Nutrition

Food and Nutrition Information Center

American Dietetic Association


American Dietetic Association. (2011). Nutrition care manual. Retrieved from

National Stroke Association. (2009). Stroke risk reduction: A healthy nutrition guide. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2011). Choose my Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Agriculture / U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. Retrieved from

Originally developed in 2001 by Julie L. Smith, MS, RD, LD, CDE; The University of Toledo for Caring~Web©.

Revised 2010, 2012


Last Updated: 6/27/22