Stage 1 or Thin Puree: This consistency is similar to a slightly thickened liquid. It coats the spoon well but still drips off easily. This consistency is offered as a first step solid food because it is considered one to two steps "thicker" than breast-milk or formula. For older children this consistency is easy to swallow quickly, however it can pose a risk for children who are known to aspirate or choke on thinner liquids and foods.
Stage 2 or Thick Puree: This consistency is considerably thicker than stage 1. It can be similar to a smooth applesauce. It should stay mounded on the spoon when scooped but fall off the spoon if you tip it upside down.
Pudding Thickness: This type of puree is similar to, you guessed it, pudding! Foods that would be considered a pudding thickness are yogurts or smooth mashed potatoes. These foods can be very difficult to swallow for children with weak oral muscles or a weak swallow.
Stage 3 or Texturized Puree: This can be a very complicated texture for children with even mild oral-motor or sensory delays or impairments. It consists of a stage 2 or pudding thick puree with small, soft lumps throughout. I would say that about 20% of my initial evaluations are for children who are having difficulty transitioning from stage 2 purees to stage 3 purees. In future articles we will discuss strategies to help children transition to texturized foods.
Almost any food that you or your family eats can be blended into a puree. Foods should be allowed to cool to room temperature and then blended in a food processor or blender with liquid until the desired consistency is reached. Adding small amounts of water, milk, or broth will make a puree thinner, while adding small amounts of corn starch can add more thickness.