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Foods to Eat on a Soft Food Diet

written by: BStone • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 8/4/2010

If your mouth cannot chew properly or your stomach cannot digest efficiently, adding a list of soft diet foods to your meal plan may be in order.

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    scrambled eggs There are many reasons that you may need to go on a soft food diet, at least temporarily. Whether just following serious dental work, gastric bypass surgery, or for any other medical reason, try the following list of soft diet foods. The recommended items are nutrient-packed, just what the body needs when recovering from surgery or an illness.

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    Sources of Protein

    Getting enough protein may seem difficult by eating only soft foods, but it is possible, and important. Protein is necessary for the body to rebuild tissue, as a source of energy, and for the production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. Try any or all the following foods, keeping in mind a daily recommended minimum amount of protein is anywhere from 50 to 70 grams for the average adult.

    • Eggs — One large cooked egg has about six grams of protein. It is also a good source of the B complex vitamins, selenium, and iron. Enjoy scrambled eggs with cheese, fried eggs, or soft-boiled eggs over grits.
    • Cottage cheese — One cup supplies a whopping 27 grams of protein as well as 20% of the daily recommended amount of calcium, plenty of selenium, zinc, phosphorous, and some of the B vitamins.
    • Hummus — Chickpea paste, olive oil, lemon, garlic, and sesame seed paste, hummus supplies two grams of protein for every ounce, as well as fiber, manganese, iron, and folate.
    • Peanut butter — Look for creamy peanut butter fortified with nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. One tablespoon has four grams of protein.
    • Tuna salad — Omit the diced onions and celery and mash the tuna before preparing. For a healthy, nutritious, protein-rich (33 grams for one cup) meal, whip with soft avocado instead of mayonnaise.
    • Yogurt — Calcium, magnesium, and beneficial bacteria as well as 10 or 11 grams of protein per serving; eating a daily cup of yogurt is a must for a healthy diet. Enjoy with fruit, as frozen yogurt, or in smoothies.

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    Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, and magnesium. They are also so important while on a soft food diet as sources of fiber.

    • Applesauce — This is a great choice for an easy snack. Simply open a jar, dip in a spoon, and enjoy. Applesauce will supply vitamin C and fiber, as well as a small amount of iron and potassium.applesauce 
    • Baked and mashed sweet potato — Make this a regular part of your diet for beta carotene, vitamins C, K, E, and many of the B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and of course, fiber. Don't be afraid to add a little melted butter for flavor.
    • Raspberries — Fresh raspberries are soft, sweet, and delicious. One cup provides half your daily recommended requirement for vitamin C, lots of manganese, and one-third of your daily quota for dietary fiber.
    • Bananas — One piece of fruit is full of fiber, vitamin B6, C, magnesium, and potassium. Eat raw or blend with honey, yogurt, and a tablespoon of wheat germ for a nutritious breakfast.

    Keep in mind with fruits and vegetables almost anything can be steamed and pureed. Also, drinking fresh juices such as tomato, cucumber, watermelon, pineapple, and papaya is a wonderful way to provide the body with vitamins and minerals, without straining the digestive system.

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    Whole Grains

    It is important to eat plenty of whole grains while consuming only soft foods. Grains are where you find fiber, as well as minerals, and many of the B complex vitamins.

    • Oatmeal — Instant or slow-cooking, eat oatmeal with brown sugar and cream for a hearty soft food breakfast. Oats are rich in silica, iron, B vitamins, and fiber.
    • Barley — When cooked, this grain is extremely soft and goes well with pureed vegetables. Try simmering in vegetable or chicken broth for extra flavor and nutrition. One cup of cooked barley is a good source of B vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and even protein.
    • Quinoa — This grain is a great soft food, as it is easy to swallow, easy to cook, rich in flavor, and a powerhouse of nutrition. Quinoa has vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.
    • Cream of wheat — Like oatmeal, this can be a nutritious breakfast. Cream of wheat is an excellent source of iron, vitamin A, B vitamins, selenium, and calcium.

    With this list of soft diet foods, it is impossible not to eat a healthy diet. And yes, you can also treat yourself to ice cream once in awhile.

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    References

    Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." (The Penguin Group, 2006).

    Nutrition Data <http://nutritiondata.self.com/>

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    Photo Credit

    photo by: Jules Stone Soup (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/stone-soup/4415564839/sizes/m/in/photostream/>

    photo by: Little blue hen (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/notahipster/4319956301/sizes/m/in/photostream/>