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What Are the Best Soft Diet Foods?

Mashed potatoes.
People with swallowing disorders, like dysphagia, may benefit from a soft food diet.
Applesauce is often recommended as part of a soft diet.
Soft diet foods may include pears.
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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 August 2014
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The best soft diet foods are typically somewhat soft and moist naturally, but may also be pureed or mashed and have moisture added to make the food easier to swallow. It depends on the purpose and length of the soft diet to determine which foods are the best for a soft diet. The patient's doctor will often advise him or her as to which foods are fine to eat and which should be avoided. The patient's own comfort level with eating may sometimes also dictate what soft diet foods are acceptable or too difficult to eat. For some conditions, however, such as difficulty swallowing, it might be wise to avoid foods that are on the border of being difficult to swallow to avoid choking.

A short-term diet, for only a week or two following a dental or surgical procedure such as wisdom tooth removal, is likely to contain a fair amount of sugary, unhealthy soft diet foods such as ice cream, pudding, and gelatin desserts. This diet is usually fine and will not cause any problems when followed for a limited period of time. A daily multivitamin is often enough to hold the patient over until the short-term soft diet is over. When soft foods are to be eaten for a long-term diet, such as with some medical or dental conditions, it becomes more important to make sure the foods provide enough nutrients to support health.

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One way of ensuring that the soft diet foods contain enough nutrients is to puree, mash, or otherwise soften some fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are naturally soft already. Sometimes, water or other liquids should be added to the mixture to make the foods more moist and easy to swallow. Some popular choices of soft diet foods include well-cooked pasta, applesauce, and mashed potatoes. Skinless, soft fruits such as peaches, pears, and bananas are also usually fine to eat on a soft diet. Juices and meal replacement shakes are also fairly convenient and easy ways to make sure the diet contains some nutritional value.

With some conditions that would cause a person to need to follow a soft diet, certain foods might not be appropriate. For example, after a dental procedure such as wisdom tooth removal, a patient may not want to eat fruits like raspberries and strawberries that contain seeds that may get stuck in the incision. For someone who has trouble swallowing or other issues, eating mashed raspberries and strawberries may be fine.

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Discuss this Article

manykitties2
Post 11

Someone mentioned to me that the best diet for diabetics was a soft food diet. What is a soft diet that would offer benefits to someone who needs to regulate their blood sugar?

I have done a lot of research on the diabetic diet, and so far none of them have pointed to soft foods being any better. I imagine they would help with digestion, but isn't it still the quality of the food that counts?

I figure if I eat a chocolate shake, it is pretty much going to have the same effect on me, had I just went and ate a piece of chocolate cake. The whole thing seems strange to me.

Sara007
Post 10

My husband recently had all of his wisdom teeth extracted in one go and I am really looking for some good soft food diet recipes. He's always been a hearty eater so going by the liquid diet foods list our dentist gave us just isn't going to be enough after the first 48 hours or so.

Basically, as soon as my hubby stops bleeding he's looking forward to some sort of decent meal, even if it is soft. I've actually heard to people making steak shakes and squishing everything and anything. I am not sure this is really the healthiest way to go, but I don't want a miserable husband either.

turquoise
Post 9

@feruze-- You're right, but my six year old who had surgery and who is a very picky eater refused to eat healthy foods like eggs, cottage cheese, hummus, chicken, oatmeal or vegetables. So I ended up feeding her sweet foods like rice pudding, Brown Betty, muffins, fruit purees and juices, peanut butter and milk.

Thankfully she recovered fast and we didn't have to continue with the diet too long. I was worried about putting her in a sugar coma!

I'm thinking about making a list of soft diet foods just in case we need to go through this again. Anyone have any more ideas for kid-friendly soft foods? Please share!

seag47
Post 8

@shell4life – I have had to be on a soft diet before for a month, so I had to come up with a way to eat meat. What I did was slice it very thin into small chunks and cook it in soup.

If you boil a soup long enough, the meat gets so soft that it will slide right down your throat. It's so small that it doesn't feel gross that way.

I don't think anyone would want to eat meat the consistency of applesauce! I think most people probably just take iron and vitamin B while on the diet to get the nutrition they normally get from meat.

Eating lentils and nuts can help as well. I ate plenty of peanut butter during my diet, and I know that helped.

shell4life
Post 7

How could you include meat in a soft diet? I'm sure anyone who has to be on one for very long would need it.

I just can't imagine a pureed steak being very good. I think I would throw up if I tried to eat it!

The same goes for gooey chicken or fish. Turning meat soft kind of takes the fun out of eating it and makes it gross.

Has anyone found a good way to eat meat while on a soft diet? I'm really curious about any tricks there might be to accomplish this.

Oceana
Post 6

After an illness that ravaged her digestive system, my little sister had to be on a soft diet for about a month. She was very upset about this, because she loved to crunch on popcorn, carrots, and nuts, and chicken was her favorite thing to eat. She would have to give up all of those for four weeks.

To make it easier on her, my mom and I came up with a way to add some fun to this dull diet. We got on the computer design program and made up a colorful soft diet foods menu. We even separated things into sections, like vegetables in one category and fruits in the other.

She suddenly got excited about her new diet. It's amazing how you can give a kid a different perspective just by using a little creativity.

During her diet, she learned to love noodles and soup. Fruit smoothies became her new favorite dessert, and she even started eating yogurt. I think her health actually improved during her recovery time because of this diet.

wavy58
Post 5

My neighbor had all kinds of stomach problems following major surgery. He had to have a feeding tube for months. His wife felt bad eating in front of him, because she knew that he sorely missed real food.

When his doctor told him that he was finally ready to eat on his own again, he recommended that he start out slow on a diet of soft food. The very first thing that he got to eat was mashed potatoes. He said that they had never tasted so good!

His wife had to mash whatever he was about to eat for awhile. It took some time for his body to get used to real food again after having received only liquid nutrition through that tube for so long.

burcidi
Post 4

@julies-- I don't know why I didn't think of those milkshakes! That's a good way to get all the nutrients you need when you have to be on a soft food diet. But I don't know why you would want to be on one unless you have a health issue preventing you from eating solid food.

I'm glad it helps you but I think that you're going to get tired of eating soft foods pretty soon. I think it's best to eat normal food in small portions and exercise. I don't want to be on a soft food diet unless I have to be.

bear78
Post 3

My mom had teeth pulled and replaced with dentures last month. She had a lot of pain from the pulled teeth and it was also hard for her to chew with dentures at first. So we've been continuing a soft food diet for her since then.

I don't think soft foods necessarily have to be unhealthy. My mom has been eating a lot of cooked and pureed fruits, as well as lots of plain yogurt and mashed potatoes. Many vegetables also become really soft when they're boiled. She has no problem eating those frozen mixed vegetables when they're cooked. It has lima beans, peas and carrots in it, so it's really healthy.

I've also been making lots of soup, especially chicken noodle with thinly cut and well cooked chicken and lentil soup have been fine. So it's definitely possible to be on a soft food diet and still eat healthy. I'm sure there are some good recipes for soft foods diets out there. Or you can just change recipes you already know and cook ingredients longer or in a pressure cooker to make them softer.

julies
Post 2

I choose to go on a mostly liquid and soft food diet as a way to lose some weight. I substituted 2 meals a day with a liquid meal replacement plan. This was full of nutrients that would be the equivalent of replacing a meal.

This was quick and convenient to use and also saved me a lot of time in the kitchen.

The rest of the food I ate was mostly soft food as it was easy to fix and for my body to digest. I also put a lot of fruits and vegetables in a smoothie to make sure I got the nutrients I needed.

I was able to lose some weight and just felt a lot lighter as I was following this. I also made sure to take a multivitamin every day.

This gave me the energy I needed without feeling hungry or like I was bloated. Many times when I would eat too much food I would feel lethargic and bloated, but I never felt this way when I was eating like this.

SarahSon
Post 1

After I had some dental work done, I had to eat a soft diet for about a week. Even though there are plenty of foods to choose from, I am glad this didn't last any longer than it did.

I just never felt very full or satisfied when all I could eat were soft foods. I even tried to eat foods that had protein and fiber in them such as oatmeal and cottage cheese.

A completely soft food meal can taste good and give you nutrition, but it would be hard of these were the only choices you had all the time. I would miss being able to chew and know I would crave things like a good steak.

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