Planning Your Super Bowl Meal When Dealing with Eating Challenges

When the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs take the field for Super Bowl LIV, more than 100 million viewers are expected to tune in from homes, pubs and Super Bowl watch parties across the country. While the game itself is considered an iconic signature sports event for most Americans, many of us also identify this game with the smorgasbord of snacks that generally accompanies game watching. After all, a staggering 1.4 billion chicken wings are expected to be consumed during the big game this year, and the day is one of the biggest days for pizza sales every year. 

For people living with ALS, planning a Super Bowl watch party requires additional attention to the feeding and swallowing challenges the disease creates. Did you know that 85 percent of people living with ALS will experience dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, during their disease progression? This is an important issue in ALS care because of the high calorie, high protein requirements that people with ALS have to build and repair muscle and to maintain optimal body weight.

“There are usually periods that most patients have trouble meeting their (nutritional) needs,” said Kelly Woodbury, a registered dietician with the Providence ALS Clinic. 

“They may have difficulty chewing or swallowing; they may even have — and this is actually pretty common with people who have arm weakness — trouble feeding themselves, just getting that utensil to their mouths repeatedly,” she added.

To get the most out of your Super Bowl party, check out The ALS Association’s collection of high nutrition, easy-to-swallow recipes, including Super Bowl staples chili and taco dip here.

Now go enjoy the Super Bowl — and try not to overdo it! For more information on managing swallowing changes and nutrition, download the Association’s guide here.

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