Helpful tips for people on soft diets

A soft food diet can be difficult to follow but it is used to promote recovery. Therefore, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and comply till you are ready to transition back to a regular diet. The following tips may help you find it easier to follow such a diet.

1. Choose healthy options. While soft, sugar-laden foods such as cakes and pastries may seem appealing, making sure you are using healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and proteins. Choose a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

2. Season your food. Consuming herbs and other mild seasonings can help make food more palatable.

3. Focus on protein. Adding protein to every meal is particularly important for those who are recovering from surgery or are malnourished.

4. Eat small, consistent meals. Instead of consuming large meals, it is recommended by healthcare provider to consume multiple small meals throughout the day if you are following a soft diet.

5. Plan meals ahead of time. Finding meals that can work well with a mechanical soft diet seems to be difficult. So plan meals ahead of time to reduce stress and make mealtime easier.

6. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Eating and chewing food thoroughly is important for people following soft diets, including those who are having  neurological conditions and recovering from abdominal surgery. Sit upright and take small sips of liquid between bites.

7. Keep appliances handy. You can use strainers, blenders, and food processors to create delicious, soft-diet-approved recipes more quickly and easily.

Typically, soft diets are used as transitional diets for short periods till a person is ready to come back to a regular-consistency diet.

Ask your healthcare provider to give you instructions on how long you should follow a soft diet and ask a registered dietitian to provide any other pertinent information.

If you have any concerns about following a soft diet or how to transition back to a regular diet, ask your medical provider for advice.

Foods you should eat on a soft food diet

Soft diets feature foods that are soft and can be chewed and digested easily. They’re often prescribed to people who have undergone abdominal surgery, those with swallowing difficulties, and those with other medical issues.

Soft diets are used when highly seasoned or regular-textured foods can’t be tolerated, which may happen for some reason.

Soft diets should not be confused with puréed diets, which are totally different, although puréed foods can be allowed on soft food diets.

Here are some types of foods that can be enjoyed on soft diets:

  • Vegetables: chopped cooked spinach, soft cooked green beans, carrots, well-cooked broccoli florets, cooked zucchini without seeds, and more.
  • Fruits: bananas, avocado, cooked pears, puréed fruits, peeled ripe peaches, cooked, peeled apples or applesauce, and more.
  • Eggs: egg salad, cooked whole eggs or egg whites.
  • Dairy products: yogurt, soft cheeses, cottage cheese, frozen yogurt, pudding, and more. Lower fat dairy products are more recommended for people who are recovering from illness or gastrointestinal surgery.
  • Grains and starches: sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cooked cereals like cream of wheat, butternut squash, moistened pancakes, soft noodles, soft, moistened grains like farro or barley, and more.
  • Meat, poultry, and fish: baked or broiled fish, soft tofu, soft meatballs, soft tuna or chicken salad (without chopped raw vegetables or fruit such as celery or apples), finely chopped or ground moistened poultry, and more.
  • Soups: broth-based or puréed soups with soft-cooked vegetables.
  • Miscellaneous: sauces, gravies, unseeded jellies and jams, smooth nut butter.
  • Drinks: water, tea, smoothies, protein shakes.

Remember that there are a variety of soft food diets, depending on the condition they are being used to treat. Some people who have further restrictions might not be able to tolerate certain foods for some reasons.

Therefore, you should always consult a registered dietitian or your healthcare provider if you have questions about what foods you are permitted to eat.