Soft Food Diet - Recipes, Tips, And Foods To Avoid (2024)

The soft food diet, which is what forms the oral surgery diet, is for people who have undergone neck, head, stomach surgeries, or are experiencing dental issues. This diet allows only soft texture easy-to-digest vitamin-rich foods that are easy to chew and swallow as well.

Soft foods are prepared by chopping, grinding, mincing, and mashing or can even involve a liquid diet. These are low-fiber foods and mineral-rich foods that help without compromising on essential nutrients. Read on to know which foods to eat and avoid in a soft food diet, a few delicious recipes, a soft food diet chart, and tips. Scroll down!

Soft Food Diet - Recipes, Tips, And Foods To Avoid (1) At A Glance: Soft Food Diet

  • Principle: Intake of soft textured foods that are easy to chew and are gentle on the mouth and throat
  • Purpose: To provide nutritious, easy-to-chew-and-swallow foods for individuals who have difficulty eating regular solid foods
  • Who It Is For: Individuals with difficulty eating regular solid foods due to dental problems, oral surgeries, jaw injuries, or other conditions
  • Duration: Short-term
  • Who Should Avoid: People with (a history of) eating disorders, pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, and people taking Warfarin and antibiotics
  • Cons: Nutritional deficiencies, and difficulty sticking to the dietary restrictions in the long run

In This Article

What Is The Soft Food Diet?

The soft food diet is a short-term diet plan that gives the digestive system a bit of rest. Since the foods are generally low-fiber, soft, chopped, mashed, or blended, such that there is no need for them to be chewed, it is also known as the dysphagia diet.

You may need to be on a soft food diet temporarily or permanently, depending on your medical condition. When you are on a soft food diet, you must be careful about what foods you eat. To know what you should eat and avoid, take a look at the following sections.

Soft Food Diet - Recipes, Tips, And Foods To Avoid (2) Did You Know?

It is also known as the mechanical soft food diet due to the constant use of equipment like blenders, food processors, and strainers for creating soft food.

What To Eat On A Soft Food Diet

You must choose foods that are easy to chew, swallow, and digest. But they should also be nutrient-dense foods. Here’s a list of nutritious foods that you may include in your soft food diet (1):

Veggies

  • Well-cooked veggies without skin or seeds
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Boiled and mashed veggies
  • Vegetable juice

Fruits

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Strained fruit juice
  • Applesauce
  • Canned and peeled fruits

Protein

  • Poached or scrambled eggs
  • Ground or finely chopped cooked meat and fish
  • Canned fish
  • Boiled and mashed lentils and beans
  • Grated or finely chopped tofu
  • Hummus

Grains/Cereals/Pasta

  • White rice, mashed
  • Egg noodles
  • White bread, mashed or finely chopped
  • Well-cooked pasta
  • Porridge oats

Related: Oat Milk: Nutrition, Health Benefits, And How To Prepare

Dairy

  • Milk and milkshakes
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese, mashed
  • Ricotta cheese, mashed
  • Crème fraîche
  • Ice cream

Dessert

  • Jelly
  • Gelatin
  • Puddings
  • Custard with ground or finely chopped fruits
  • Very, very, moist cake
  • Mousse

Sauces

  • Vegetable or chicken stock
  • Bone broth
  • White sauce
  • Cheese sauce

You have a lot of food options in this diet and will not be bored with the sameness. BUT be cautious with a few foods. Here’s a list of foods you must avoid.

Foods To Avoid

Veggies

  • Veggies that cannot be mashed easily like broccoli, carrot, celery, and cauliflower
  • Fried potatoes
  • Kale or beetroot chips

Fruits

  • Fruits, raw or cooked with the peel
  • Pear and apple
  • Dry fruits
  • Pineapple
  • High-fiber fruits such as sapodilla
  • Fibrous fruits such as mango
  • Fruit with seeds, like blackberries and strawberries

Related: 14 Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Bananas

Protein

  • Fatty and overcooked meat
  • Fried meat or fish
  • Processed meat like sausage, salami, and chorizo
  • Beef jerky
  • Hot dogs
  • Peanut butter
  • Seeds
  • Cooked, whole lentils or beans

Grains/Cereals/Pasta

  • Corn
  • Popcorn
  • Bagel
  • Sourdough bread
  • French bread
  • Toast
  • Unsoftened cereals
  • Toasts and crackers

Dairy

  • Ice cream and yogurt with nuts, coconut, fruits with skin or seeds, and granola

Dessert

  • Pie
  • Crumble
  • Dry cakes
  • Peanut butter cups

Sauces

  • Hot sauce
  • BBQ sauce

You must avoid foods that can potentially irritate your stomach and/or are difficult to chew and swallow.

Specific health issues require the patients to be on a soft food diet. The next section will help you understand if a soft food diet is for you. Take a look.

Who Should Follow A Soft Food Diet?

Here’s when your doctor will recommend you to be on a soft food diet:

  • Post Surgery

If you have recently undergone head, neck, or stomach surgery, your doctor will ask you to be on a soft food diet (2).

A few examples of these kinds of surgeries are bariatric surgeryi XSurgical procedure in which changes are made to the digestive system to aid in weight loss in obese patients. and gastrectomyi XSurgical removal of the whole or a part of the stomach, commonly done in association with cancer treatment. .

  • Dental Problems

Wisdom tooth extraction and loose denturesi XArtificial replacement for teeth and the surrounding gums used to fill in for missing teeth or whole teeth. are very common. During this time, you must be on a soft food diet so that you do not have to make an effort to chew. The soft texture of foods will allow you to swallow the food directly. On a similar note, Larissa Conte, a blogger who underwent dental surgery, switched from a solid diet to a soft food diet post the procedure. She shared her preferences for curating a customized diet plant, “I’m prioritizing a nutrient-dense, seasonal, anti-inflammatory diet—the general guidelines for my diet anyway. I’m going mostly vegan because pasteurized dairy is generally inflammatory/mucus causing and puréed or mashed fish is joyless to me (i).” The blogger also stated that she tried including overcooked pasta and baked fish in her diet, but she felt it was hard on her stomach and didn’t enjoy having it as she just used the tongue and the roof of her mouth to chew.

This will also prevent the possibility of food getting stuck and infection (3).

  • Difficulty Swallowing

In cases of swallowing difficulties or dysphagia, doctors recommend consuming soft foods. The soft, liquidy texture of the food will allow you to consume it without putting too much stress on the muscles that aid swallowing (4), (5).

  • Cancer Treatment

Radiotherapyi X Disease treatment using ionizing radiation. Usually used to eliminate malignant cells in cancer treatment. and chemotherapyi XThe treatment of fast-growing cancer cells using powerful drugs. May be done to cure, prolong life, or reduce symptoms. mostly cause inflammation of the digestive tract (6). This condition is also known as mucositis, and patients are recommended to be on a soft diet during this time.

Soft Food Diet - Recipes, Tips, And Foods To Avoid (3) Quick Tip

Eat small and consistent meals throughout the day to allow your body to digest the food easily.

Now, the question is, how to prepare soft foods? Find out in the next section.

Best Tips For Preparing Soft Foods

  • Wash and peel the veggies and fruits.
  • Cut the foods (including meat, eggs, tofu, and cottage cheese) into small pieces.
  • Cook the veggies, meat, fish, lentils, and beans until they are soft.
  • Puree the foods using a blender.
  • Pass the soup veggies through a sieve.
  • Do not keep any lumps in mashed potato, veggies, or fruits.
  • Cook egg scramble with butter or crème fraîche.
  • To prepare sauces, add milk, cream, and/or melted cheese.
  • Add stock to your food to moisten it.
  • Moisten bread with milk or soups.

Now that you know which foods you can consume and how to cook them, let me give you a few quick soft food diet recipes to try. Scroll down.

Yummy Soft Food Recipes

1. Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Prep Time – 5 mins; Cooking Time – 3 mins; Total Time – 8 mins; Serves – 1
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 tablespoons porridge oats
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 drop of vanilla essence
How To Prepare
  1. Blitz the oats in a dry blender jar.
  2. Add milk, banana, and vanilla essence.
  3. Blitz well (make sure that there are no banana lumps).
  4. Pour into a glass or bottle and drink up.

2. Mashed Potato

Prep Time – 15 mins; Cooking Time – 45 mins; Total Time – 60 mins; Serves – 2
Ingredients
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cottage cheese, pureed
  • Salt to taste
How To Prepare
  1. Place the potato halves in a large soup pot containing water.
  2. Close the lid and let the potato boil and become soft.
  3. Take the potatoes out with a ladle or fork.
  4. Peel the potatoes and toss them into a large bowl.
  5. Use a masher to mash the potatoes well.
  6. You can also use the back of the fork to mash the potatoes.
  7. Add in the crème fraîche, pureed cottage cheese, unsalted butter, and salt.
  8. Combine well.
  9. You may add finely chopped herbs, but make sure they don’t irritate your stomach or make it difficult for you to swallow the food.

3. Blended Couscous Mushroom Chicken Soup

Prep Time – 15 mins; Cooking Time – 25 mins; Total Time – 40 mins; Serves – 4
Ingredients
  • 200 g boneless chicken cubes
  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • ½ cup button mushrooms, halved
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste
How To Prepare
  1. Add a tablespoon of stock to a soup pot.
  2. When it starts to sizzle, add garlic powder, grated ginger, and chopped onion.
  3. Cook until the onion becomes soft.
  4. Add the chicken and vegetable stocks, chicken cubes, couscous, and salt.
  5. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over medium flame.
  6. Use a hand blender to blend the soup.
  7. Add fresh cream and butter before removing from the flame.
  8. Serve hot.

Now, the main question is, how long should you be on a soft food diet? Let’s find out!

How Long Should You Be On A Soft Food Diet?

You will be on a soft food diet as per your doctor’s recommendation. It is best to avoid eating anything solid that might aggravate the pain or inflammation. Yes, being on a soft food diet will be a tad boring, but you must design your meals in a way that there’s a sufficient gap between two meals, and the foods that you consume are tasty.

If you do not like being restrictive with your food, there is another variation of this diet you can try out. Scroll down to the next section to learn more.

Mechanical Soft Food Diet

A mechanical soft diet is a specialized eating plan designed for people who have difficulty chewing and swallowing due to medical conditions or are recovering from surgery. This diet focuses on making foods easier to consume by adjusting their texture. In a mechanical soft diet, foods are often finely chopped, pureed, or minced with the use of kitchen tools like a knife, a blender, or a food processor to the point where they require very little or no chewing. Unlike the soft diet, this diet does not restrict seasonings and sauces. However, consulting a healthcare professional before starting this diet is recommended.

Infographic: Who Should Follow A Soft Food Diet And What Foods To Include & Avoid

A soft food diet includes nutrient-rich foods that are easy to digest. These are generally prepared by chopping, grinding, mincing, and mashing. However, it is important to know who should follow this diet and what foods should be included or avoided as part of it. Check out the infographic below to learn more!

Soft Food Diet - Recipes, Tips, And Foods To Avoid (4)

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Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Soft Food Diet - Recipes, Tips, And Foods To Avoid (5)

The soft food diet is a temporary regimen that allows the digestive system to relax. So typically low-fiber, soft, diced, mashed, or blended foods are included to minimize chewing difficulties. A soft food diet is the best option when recovering from surgery, lowering stomach or GI tract inflammation, and coping with discomfort after wisdom tooth extraction or loose dentures. It aids in absorbing all nutrients and speeds up your recovery. However, make sure you follow this diet only if your doctor recommends it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which two food groups are key to the GI soft diet?

Since you would be depending on soft, mashed, pureed food, and on easy-to -digest foods, you must focus on including protein and carbs in your meals.

Can you drink coffee while on a soft diet?

Yes, you can drink coffee, tea, juices, and milk on a soft diet.

Is POHA a soft food?

Yes, poha is a healthy breakfast option that helps with digestion. It is simple to digest, which prevents bloating and makes you feel fuller for longer.

How do you make a soft diet?

All foods can be cooked until they are soft or cut into small pieces. Use a fork or potato masher to try mashing. To puree food, use a food processor or blender. To get lumps out of stews or soups, try using a sieve. When cooking food, you can add stock to moisten it and make it simpler to swallow.

What soft foods can I eat for breakfast?

Soft breakfast foods are scrambled eggs and sliced avocado. Try serving cream of wheat with cooked peaches and smooth cashew butter on top. Eggs, goat cheese, spinach, and butternut squash are also used to make a crustless quiche. Another fantastic choice is a yogurt parfait.

What is a Level 1 soft diet?

Pureed, unified, and consistent foods make up this diet. No chunks or mixed textures are acceptable. The food shouldn’t require chewing and should be easy for the tongue to move through. It should be “pudding-like.”

Some soft food diet meal and snack ideas?

Applesauce, bottled fruit, vegetables that are steamed or softly cooked, Bananas, stone fruits, and melons are examples of soft, skinless fruits. Baked fruits are a wonderful soft food option for diet meals and snacks.

Can I still get enough protein on a soft food diet, and what are some good sources of protein?

Nutrient-dense choices include soft foods high in protein, such as low-fat yogurt, eggs, beans, tuna, salmon, and eggs. These foods will give you more energy and keep your healing and regenerative cells active than carbohydrates.

How long should I stay on a soft food diet, and when can I start reintroducing regular foods?

Follow this diet for as long as your doctor recommends. Depending on when your hunger and bowel movements start to normalize, this could take two to three weeks. If you are having difficulty eating at home, speak with your dietitian or physician.

Can I still enjoy social events or dining out while on a soft food diet?

Yes! Bring food with you. Try bringing a straightforward dish to share at the gathering or, if it’s a potluck, bring a healthy dish.

What are some tips for transitioning back to a regular diet after being on a soft food diet?

Chew every food slowly until it resembles mashed potatoes. It will be simpler for your body to digest food if you chew it more thoroughly. Eat throughout the day, a few hours at a time. Instead of three large meals per day, you might feel more at ease eating four to six smaller meals.

Are there any particular vitamins or nutrients that are difficult to obtain on a soft food diet?

Smoothies, hot cereals, puddings, or yogurt can be enhanced with nut or seed butter to add healthy monounsaturated fats, extra protein, and calories. Cheese can increase a dish’s protein and calorie content. Try our cheesy cauliflower mash or spinach ricotta eggs. You won’t go without vital nutrients if you use this method.

Key Takeaways

  • A soft food diet is recommended for people facing difficulty in swallowing due to dental problems or who have recently undergone surgery.
  • This diet is low in fiber, chopped, and mashed so that the foods are easy to chew.
  • A soft food diet includes mashed potato, banana, boiled lentils, and mashed white rice.
  • However, the intake of dry fruits, fried meat, bagel, and hot sauce should be avoided.

A soft food diet consists of foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Watch the informative video below to learn why it is recommended for people who face some difficulty while eating.

Personal Experience: Source

StyleCraze's articles are interwoven with authentic personal narratives that provide depth and resonance to our content. Below are the sources of the personal accounts referenced in this article.

i. Navigating a No-Chew Diet
https://larissaconte.medium.com/navigating-a-no-chew-diet-f75d5de372b

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Bland Diet
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538142/
  2. Postoperative Dietary Intake Achievement: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC8747030/
  3. Role of nutrition in oral and maxillofacial surgery patients
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5242071/
  4. Use of modified diets to prevent aspiration in oropharyngeal dysphagia: is current practice justified?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6053717/
  5. The Influence of Food Texture and Liquid Consistency Modification on Swallowing Physiology and Function: A Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4342510/
  6. Gastrointestinal side effects of cancer treatments
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7705778/

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Soft Food Diet - Recipes, Tips, And Foods To Avoid (2024)

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