What Is a Soft Diet?
A soft diet does not have foods that are hard to chew or swallow. A mechanical soft diet makes foods easier to chew and swallow using tools such as a blender or meat grinder.
Why Should I Follow a Soft Diet?
A soft diet is often needed after some types of surgery or illnesses. It may also be needed by people who are having radiation therapy to the head, neck, or belly. A mechanical soft diet may be needed if you are having trouble chewing food or if you have a hard time swallowing.
Soft Diet Basics
The foods you can eat on a soft diet may be naturally soft or they may be mashed, chopped, or cooked until they are soft. Foods that you cannot have are:
- Tough meats
- Raw fruits and veggies
- Chewy or crispy breads
- Nuts and seeds
Your doctor may also tell you not to eat spicy, fried, or gassy foods.
The foods that you are able to eat on this diet can vary from one person to the next. Work with your doctor or a dietitian to find out the types and textures of foods that you can eat. Use this chart as a guide.
|Food Group||Foods You Can Eat||Foods You Cannot Eat|
|Meats and Beans||
|Fats and Sweets||
Here are some diet tips:
- Use a blender to puree foods, such as soup or fruit.
- Remember to chew foods before you swallow them.
To preserve nutrients when cooking foods:
- Steam or microwave veggies.
- When boiling potatoes, peel after cooking.
- Work with a dietitian to make a meal plan based on your needs.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Food and Drug Administration
Nutrition care manual. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Available at: https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed July 26, 2021.
Oral hygeine: performing. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed July 26, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardDianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 7/26/2021