Soft Food & Liquid Diet


When you have a procedure that impedes your ability to digest food, such as colon surgery, your physician will discharge you on a modified meal plan. On the soft diet, you'll get nutrients from foods that are naturally soft or that you mash or puree to soften, as well as liquids. If you have a question about whether a food is allowed, don't eat it before talking to your doctor or dietitian. Always follow the guidelines you're given.

Bowl of creamy sweet potato soup.
Bowl of creamy sweet potato soup. (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)

Choose Allowed Breads and Grains

You'll likely need to avoid whole-grain foods because the fiber stimulates digestion and increases residue. Refined breads and cereals are allowed, except for those your doctor limits. Have pancakes, waffles, refined white or wheat bread, muffins and enriched rolls. You can also have refined hot cereals like instant oatmeal, grits, farina, cream of wheat and cream of rice. Enjoy ready-to-eat cereal, but avoid bran, barley or other whole-grain versions.

Stack of pancakes with butter and syrup.
Stack of pancakes with butter and syrup. (Image: MikeyGen73/iStock/Getty Images)

Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables

Avoid raw fruits and vegetables, which are harder to digest. Instead, prepare soft, well-cooked vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, green beans and celery. Vegetables that increase gas and may need to be avoided include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, leeks and cauliflower. Choose canned or cooked fruits without skins. Allowed fruits are apples, cherries, peaches, pears, oranges, melons, grapefruit, apricots, applesauce, purple plums and ripe bananas. You're free to have all fruit and vegetable juices and nectars, unless otherwise restricted by your dietitian.

Small dish filled with canned peaches.
Small dish filled with canned peaches. (Image: olgakr/iStock/Getty Images)

Selecting Protein Foods

You'll get nutrients like protein, iron and calcium from meat and dairy. Choose eggs, poultry, fish, shellfish and lean cuts of meat like sirloin. Have tofu and other soy foods as vegetarian options. All milk foods are allowed, so enjoy yogurt, mild cheeses, cream cheese, yogurt and the like. While foods like beans and nuts are a good source of protein, you'll need to avoid these because beans increase gas and both beans and nuts contribute to residue.

Small bowl of plain yogurt.
Small bowl of plain yogurt. (Image: Miriam2009/iStock/Getty Images)

Rounding Out Your Diet

Prepare your foods with mild seasonings and use limited amounts of healthy oils like olive, sunflower and safflower. You're free to have smooth soups of your choosing as well. If you have full-fat butter, mayonnaise or sour cream, use small amounts. Have sweet snacks like ice cream, cake, pie, custard and pudding in moderation. It's best to choose low-sugar options such as sugar-free gelatin, pudding and custard. Your doctor may set specific guidelines for your fat and sugar intake, especially if you've had weight-loss surgery.

Bowl of creamy asparagus soup.
Bowl of creamy asparagus soup. (Image: Yulia_Davidovich/iStock/Getty Images)

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