A clear liquid diet limits you to fluids you can see through and is often the first meal plan following digestive procedures like weight-loss surgery. Once your digestive system is ready, you progress to a full liquid plan, which includes clear liquids and expands your choices to a wide range of juices, beverages, soups and cooked cereals. This plan provides adequate calories, protein and fat, but lacks enough iron, B-12 and vitamin A. For this reason, your doctor likely won't keep you on this diet for more than five days. As always, follow your doctor and dietitian's guidelines for your specific situation.
Go to Beverages
A good portion of your calories will come from beverages while you're following the full liquid meal plan. Enjoy a variety of juices, both fruit and vegetable. You can also have fruit nectar, but avoid canned, frozen and fresh fruit. Other beverages you're allowed to have are coffee, tea, milk, flavored water, sports drinks and soda if tolerated. Try soy milk if you're lactose-intolerant. To boost nutrition, your doctor will let you know whether you can have nutritional supplement drinks.
Cereals and Soups
Along with beverages, your meals will come from cooked refined cereals as well as soups. Cream of rice, cream of wheat, grits and instant oatmeal are good options for breakfast. Avoid cooking out all of the water so that your cooked cereals maintain a thin, smooth consistency. Enjoy a variety of strained or pureed soups, as well as broths. To make your soups more hearty, your doctor may allow you to add pureed bland vegetables or pureed meats to them.
Snacks and Desserts
To break up the potential boredom of being on a full liquid meal plan, you'll have desserts and snacks based on the restrictions your dietitian gives you. For example, people on a full liquid diet due to weight-loss surgery are instructed to choose sugar-free, low-fat options. Allowed foods in this category include gelatin, pudding, custard, sherbet, sorbet, fruit juice bars, ice pops, whipped topping, plain ice cream and custard-style yogurt. You can also suck on hard candy.
Flavoring Your Food
If you need to sweeten your foods, you're allowed to use honey, syrup and sugar, as well as jelly, unless told otherwise. Other flavorings usually allowed on the full liquid diet are salt, mild-flavored seasonings, chocolate flavor, gravy, butter, margarine and cream. Your dietitian may place restrictions on the type of flavorings you use based on your situation. Weight-loss patients typically need to choose sugar-free sweeteners, for example.