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Mechanical Soft Diet Guidelines

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

A mechanical soft diet may be prescribed if you have difficulty chewing or swallowing. It may also be recommended as a transitional diet from a liquid diet to a regular diet if you are recovering from surgery or a long illness, according to Jackson/Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. A mechanical soft diet may also be recommended if you have intestinal or stomach discomfort.

Features

The mechanical soft diet gets its name from the household tools used to create the consistency, says Jackson/Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. It features soft chopped, blended or ground food. Mechanically altering the food makes it easier to chew and swallow.

General Guidelines

The mechanical soft diet does not restrict fat, spices, fiber or seasonings, according to Jackson/Seigelbaum Gastroenterology. Only the food texture and consistency are changed. To prepare fruits and vegetables, cook them until soft then chop or puree them in a blender or food processor. Meats should be cooked until soft, then chopped or ground into smaller bite size pieces. Serving meats with a sauce or gravy makes it easier to eat.

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Foods to Avoid

If a food is difficult to chew, you should avoid it when on a mechanical soft diet. Some of these include foods containing nuts or seeds, tough meats, hard and thick breads, raw fruits and vegetables and dried fruit, according to the Medical University of South Carolina.

Allowed Foods

Foods allowed on the mechanical soft diet include milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, cheese, tender meats, tuna salad, meatloaf, meatballs, eggs and egg salad, smooth peanut butter, casseroles, juices, bananas, melons, applesauce, berries, soft cooked or pureed vegetables, tomato soup and juice, soft breads, hot cereal, noodles, rice, pancakes and waffles.

Tips

If you have difficulty chewing, you may not be able to eat as much as you used to, according to the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers. Eating five to six small meals a day may help increase your caloric intake to maintain your weight. To maximize calorie intake, add dried milk powder to your hot cereal, mashed potatoes and casseroles. If constipation is a problem, try adding bran to cereals and milkshakes or make prune juice part of your daily routine.

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