A soft food diet is recommended by doctors for many reasons, such as following mouth surgery or other dental procedures, after gastric bypass, or in preparation for medical tests. A soft diet isn't the same as a bland diet, which is more much restrictive, but it does involve certain "do's" and "don'ts" when selecting foods you can safely eat. A soft food diet includes soft-textured foods or those softened by cooking, mashing or chopping, which are easy to easy to chew and swallow.
Breads, Cereals, Grains
Safe soft foods in the grains group include cooked cereals such as oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat or easily softened cold cereals such as Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes. Also acceptable are soft breads and muffins, pancakes, french toast with the crusts cut off and pasta.
Eggs and Dairy
All eggs are acceptable except for raw and fried, with scrambled and soft-boiled considered the best. All dairy products, including chocolate milk, ice cream and yogurt, are included.
Fruits and Vegetables
Juices, both fruit and vegetable, are the best. Other fruits and vegetables that qualify as soft foods include those cooked and canned without seeds or skins. The only fresh vegetables allowed on a soft diet are avocados and tomatoes and potatoes without the skins. Acceptable fresh fruits include bananas, pureed berries put through a strainer to remove skins and seeds, and melon, if tolerated.
Soups, Sauces and Condiments
Creamed soups are good soft diet foods, as is any other pureed or blended soup like chicken noodle. Broths are also well tolerated. For sauces, choose those that are pureed or well-blended. For spices and condiments, use salt, pepper, all finely chopped or ground leaf herbs and mild spices and ketchup. For sweeteners, use sugar, honey, jelly, smooth preserves, syrup and jellied cranberry sauce.
Meats and Entrees
Tender cooked meats like beef, veal, lamb or liver that are baked, broiled, creamed, roasted or stewed are fine, as is stewed pork. Chicken and turkey are allowed on a soft diet if they're not fried. Cooked, fresh or frozen fish without bones such as tuna, salmon or white fishes are included, as is canned tuna. Other good protein sources include tofu and well-cooked legumes with soft skins, such as baked beans or lentils.
Desserts can include ice cream, ices, sherbet and sorbet; pudding or custard; soft candy without nuts, seeds or hard pieces or plain chocolate bars; and butter cookies.
A Sample Soft-Food Diet Daily Menu
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with grated melted cheese, cantaloupe
Lunch: tuna salad made with tuna, mayonnaise and some spices, applesauce
Supper: poached salmon, mashed or baked skinless sweet potato
Dessert: pudding with whipped cream