What is a soft diet?
A soft diet generally eliminates foods that are difficult to chew or swallow, and also spicy, fried, or grassy foods. A mechanical soft diet simply eliminates foods that are difficult to chew or swallow.
Why should I follow a soft diet?
A soft diet is often prescribed as a transitional diet following certain types of surgery or illnesses. It may also be recommended for people who are undergoing radiation therapy to the head, neck or abdominal area. A mechanical soft diet may be prescribed if you are having trouble chewing food, for instance due to lack of teeth, or if you have difficulty swallowing.
Soft diet basics:
Foods permitted on a soft diet may be naturally soft, or if not, they may be mashed, chewed, or cooked to achieve a soft consistency. Foods that are generally eliminated include: 1) tough meats, 2) raw fruits and vegetables, 3) chewy or crispy breads, 4) nuts and seeds.
Depending on why you need a soft diet, your doctor may also recommend that you avoid grassy foods. Foods that are tolerable on this diet can vary greatly from one person to the next. Work with your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine the types and textures of foods that you can tolerate. Use the below chart as a guide and then customize it to your needs.
By Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD