3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Swallowing, eating and nutrition

Swallowing, eating and nutrition

4) Thickening fluids

Video running time: 03.45 minutes. The film may take time to download depending on your broadband speed.
To enlarge to full screen click on arrows at the bottom right of the control bar

If you are having problems playing the video, download the clip here [.mp4, 14.4 MB] (Right click this link, and “Save As”).

View Voice Over Transcript


  • Some fluids are naturally thick like milk you can see it leaves a residue on the cup and the spoon.
  • Milkshake is also naturally thicker, see how it coats the spoon.
  • Fruit smoothies can be bought commercially, they are thick too.
  • Some fluids, for instance orange squash, however require to be thicker.
  • The speech and language therapist will recommend the amount of thickener and consistency you should be aiming for as this will vary from person to person.
  • It is best to sprinkle the thickener onto the liquid while trying to whisk it in with a fork, adding some at a time and giving a good stir in between.

Tea – You can also add thickener to hot drinks such as tea Mix it well, adding as required, a bigger mug may need more thickener.

  • It is very important to leave the drink to thicken up leave it to stand for at least a minute.
  • Don’t be tempted to add more thickener too soon.
  • You can also use the thickener in hot drinks.
  • Again sprinkle on the thickener and whisk with a fork.
  • Some fluids such as milk maybe more difficult to thicken and have the tendency to go lumpy.
  • A shaker can help.
  • Here are some thickened drinks…no lumps.

Orange juice, see it’s smooth, the tea and you can see the thickness of the milk now when it is stirred.
If you are not sure of the consistency you should be aiming for, check with your speech and language therapist or die titian.