Soft Food Diet: Tips and Ideas

A soft food diet may be recommended by your doctor if you have swallowing difficulties, or if you’ve had surgery of the jaw, mouth or gastrointestinal tract.

While it can be difficult, especially in the early days, your soft food diet doesn’t have to be boring.

Thankfully, it’s much more than just soup and jelly!

Variety in a soft food diet

It is however, important to make sure your diet has lots of variety, as this will help you get all the nutrients you need for good quality of life.

Try to base your daily meals around the food groups:

  • At least 5 servings of soft fruit and well cooked vegetables.
  • 2 servings of tender meat, poultry or fish (take care with bones), eggs, peas, beans, or lentils.
  • 2 servings of milk and dairy foods — calcium fortified soy or rice milk can be included here if you prefer.
  • Bread, cereals, rice, pasta, or potato should be included at each meal.
  • Have small amounts of foods containing fat and/or sugar.
  • Drink around 8 to 10 cups of fluid per day — water, tea, coffee, juice, or milk.

Soft Food Diet Menu Ideas


  • Porridge or other cereals (without nuts or dried fruit) and milk
  • Scrambled egg
  • Baked beans
  • Stewed fruit with natural yoghurt
  • Coffee or hot chocolate made with milk
  • Fruit juice

Main meals

  • Casseroles and stews made with lean meats, which are cooked until tender
  • Soups made with lots of veggies and legumes, pureed with a swirl of cream before serving
  • Shepherds or cottage pie with gravy
  • Moussaka or lasagne served with extra sauce or gravy
  • Fish pie with potato topping, or baked fish with sauce or gravy
  • Cheese omelette or cauliflower cheese 
  • Egg or tuna mayonnaise
  • Pasta dishes made with small pasta shapes (or noodles) and plenty of sauce
  • Lentils made into dahl
  • Dips such as hummus, guacamole, and cream cheese

Side dishes

  • Mashed potato — sweet potatoes are slightly more nutritious
  • Mashed vegetables — carrots, turnip or other root vegetables
  • Broccoli or cauliflower florets cooked until soft — these could also be mashed into potatoes
soft food diet bluegum


  • Milky puddings — rice, semolina or tapioca
  • Crème caramel or egg custard
  • Natural or Greek yoghurt 
  • Fruit mousse
  • Milk jelly or blancmange
  • Bread and butter pudding
  • Home made trifle
  • Pureed or stewed fruit with Greek yoghurt 
  • Mashed fruit with ice cream, custard or evaporated milk
  • Ice cream or fruit sorbet

Nutritious drinks

  • Coffee, malt drinks, or hot chocolate made with milk
  • Milk shakes, fruit smoothies or drinking yoghurts
  • Nutritional supplements — ask your doctor or dietitian about these
Click on the next page to discover how to put your soft food diet into practice…
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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Meeks March 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I could have done with this post after I had my wisdom tooth removed. I survived on yummy soups, but your lovely ideas would have given me a bit more variety! Thanks. (and thanks for visiting my blog!)


Melanie March 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Hi Meeks,
Aw, I wish I had written it sooner!! I had my wisdom tooth removed a few years back and had quite a bit of hassle afterwards, it’s not a fun experience, I can empathise with you.


ALYSSA May 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm
kathleen taylor July 20, 2014 at 4:58 pm

sounds like you can drink dairy products, that does make it easier to follow this kind of diet. what about those of us that cant handle any dairy products? seems like there is not much left. important note protein drinks make me ill, the taste is really bad on most or all of them and alot say they have no lactose, but i react to them the same way. also i have a hyperthyroid so its very hard to get enough nutrution on this kind of soft food diet, any suggestions would be helpful. thank you. kathleen t. e mail


kathleen taylor July 21, 2014 at 11:58 pm

i was starving on such a food plan, there is no way to get proper nutrients and calories on such a food plan, soup lacks the calories and protein too fill me up, empty calories. i hate ensure and similar drinks they are gross, have anouther oral surgery coming up again. any ideas for some real food that will satisfy hunger? thanx for any ideas


Zengirl March 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm


These are nice tips to know, I wish I had known earlier when I had a surgery and was on soft food diet for little bit. I got tired of eating jello :-)
I like your site here, congratulations on your little baby girl, she looks cute. Parenting is lot of joy and lot of work!

Thanks for stopping by at my blog and commenting.
.-= Zengirl´s last blog ..7 ways to overcoming overwhelm =-.


Melanie March 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Hi Zengirl,
I can imagine jello would get tired very quickly!! Thank you on the congrats, being a mum certainly is a wonderful experience AND challenge, all rolled into one! :-)


Zapalenie stawow May 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I think very important is have more but smaller meals, that what I doing anyway :)
.-= Zapalenie stawow´s last blog ..Zestaw zdrowe stawy =-.


Melanie May 10, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Yes, small frequent meals, exactly!


Naicisum July 14, 2010 at 11:37 am

I have problems with my jaw and I’ve just been put on a soft food diet, can I eat baking such as cookies and scotch pancakes (dropped scones)? Do you have any tips on where to find more meal ideas or a comprehensive list of what I can eat and what I should avoid for my family when I eat with them and my friends so that they can help me avoid the wrong foods?


Melanie July 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Hi Naicisum,
I think it really depends on you personally. I would imagine that cookies may be too hard to chew if you have jaw problems. Pancakes may be okay since they are soft. However, it’s really up to you to decide what you can manage, there’s no right or wrong diet.

Perhaps your doctors could refer you to see a dietitian, for more help, or a list of foods which are safe for you to eat.


Ria August 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

These look really good for a soft food diet. My husband had pancreatitis a few years back & was told to go on a soft food diet for a week or two. Same thing when my kids had gastroenteritis. We used to give them congee (chinese style rice porridge with some meat) but this looks way better & more nutritious. Also gives a bit more variation.
.-= Ria´s last blog ..Why Do We Need Antioxidants =-.


Midtown Manhattan Dentist December 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Oh, thank you for this great tips. I’m going to get my wisdom teeth removed very soon and I’ll definitely consider the ideas noted above.


Melanie December 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Best wishes for that.


Thandu December 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

My mom has been diagnoised with MND. It has reached a stage where she is struggling to use her tongue. Do u have any ideas on the type of soft foods she can eat?


Melanie February 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Hi Thandu, I don’t have any articles on motor neurons, but I thought this article looked helpful.


TravellingBarman January 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm


I broke my jaw recently, and have been on a soft food diet over the holiday period. I agree with everything you’ve mentioned – Good tips! I’d also recommend the use of a hand blender. So long as you have enough liquid, you can blitz pretty much any meal into tasty mush. My christmas dinner with all the trimmings looked like an artist’s pallate, with tasty blobs of different flavoured puree all over the plate! Tasted wonderful though. It’s still worth cooking real meals as the work you put into the flacours still shines through; puree’d roast parsnips taste great :) Best Wishes to all,


Melanie January 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I hope you recover soon, and I’m glad you’ve found the food so tolerable. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.


charlotte March 26, 2011 at 9:06 am

I have recently been put on a soft diet by the hospital as i have a jaw problem. i find it hard knowing what i can eat waht i cant and often dont think about it till after iv eatten what i want to eat then relise when my Jaw starts hurting, am going to print your info out and stick it on my cubard door so i rember this beofre i munch as i would like the pain to stop in my jaw lol. x Great information, Thanks. xx


Melanie March 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

Hi Charlotte,
I’m glad you found this article, and I do hope you feel better soon. Please let me know if you have any queries.


roxy creature March 30, 2011 at 2:11 am

im glad i found this site.
i have huntingtons disease, and i got shot in the jaw a few years missing half my teeth.


Melanie April 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

I hope this article is helpful to you, Roxy. Let me know if you have any queries.


Sally July 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I have had throat surgery and they repaired my valve to my stomach. I am on a soft diet No Meat for 3 months I am in week two. Things get stuck easily and since they wrapped my eschoghaus and repaired the valve I can not throw up so when things get stuck they are down by my breast bone and very painful. Even drinking water can get stuck. I am tired of yogurt. I eat a few bites of something and am standing up with pain waiting for it to go down. Any recipes would be a great help. I can eat Macaroni and cheese and eggs but all I see is weight gain in my future. Looking forward to any help anyone can give me.


Ted May 28, 2013 at 6:58 am

Hi Sally. I know your post was from quite some time back but my partner is just about to undergo the same procedure and I am wondering how this has worked out for you. Was it a sucess? And any food tips you could give would be greatly appreciated as my partner, exactly as you have described above, suffers terrible pain and discomfort after eating and I am at a loss as to how to help her.


gordon July 13, 2011 at 10:08 am

hi melanie,

i have just come across your site, and want to wish you luck with it. i am 3 years post surgery/chemo/radiotherapy for mouth cancer, which got rid of the tumour but has left me with the well known side effects of dry mouth and also oesophageal strictures which means im very restricted on what i can swallow. i will look through the rest of your site and see if i can pick up some tips! thanks


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