Soft diet well explained. Benefits and risks

The soft diet provides enormous benefits and really very few risks, it is recommended to follow after a period of fasting as part of the recovery from gastritis, colic, ulcer, intestinal virus or digestive surgery, the soft diet is essential for the treatment of the digestive system and is not intended as a weight loss or weight loss program, although it can work as such if food combinations are well chosen.

The main objective of the soft diet is that the food is easy to digest and that gastric secretion is not stimulated since it is a plan that eliminates irritating substances such as condiments, it is moderate in fat and cooking is simple avoiding above all the fried foods. All this contributes to the fact that the soft diet can be considered within the diets suitable for losing weight and reducing body fat in a healthy way.

What is the soft diet

It is a diet that, in addition to being healthy, is complete and gives the digestive system a minimum of work. The term soft diet does not necessarily refer to tender foods but to easily digestible foods, and for this reason the concept of “gastric protection diet” that adults and children can follow is also used today.

The Crohn ‘s disease , a disorder that involves inflammation of the small intestine, is treated with medication and although food is not the cause of the disease, a bland diet helps cause less discomfort to the patient.

Likewise, the soft diet is one of the “tolerance diets” as it helps the body progressively adapt to a normal diet after illness, fasting or surgery.

How to do the soft diet

Like any other diet, this type of eating plan indicates certain foods and cooking methods as well as regular meals to make it easy for the body to digest the food.

The soft diet, recommended for convalescents from diseases such as intestinal inflammation due to gastroenteritis, colitis or digestive surgery among other possibilities, is actually an intermediate diet between completely liquid and normal or usual, being an intermediate or transitional step between both options.

The soft diet will always have as a characteristic the base of foods that are easily digested, that is, low in fat, without seasonings, without sauces and with little residue, which translates into little fiber, without peels and without seeds, so that they are well tolerated by the digestive tube.

According to the listed characteristics, there are some things to keep in mind to follow the Soft Diet:

  • Try to eat small amounts of food and do it several times a day.
  • Food should be warm.
  • Cook with little salt.
  • Chew well and eat slowly to facilitate digestion.
  • After each meal it is advisable to rest for about 20 minutes.
  • This type of diet should be maintained for three or four days and gradually introduce food to a normal diet.

What to eat on the soft diet

 The soft diet is an eating plan that includes certain foods and excludes others, so to be effective it is necessary to design each menu according to certain parameters.

Foods allowed in a soft diet

  • Cereals and starches : Both foods must be refined, that is, in the form of toasted white bread, pasta, white rice, cereals with milk or yogurt type porridge, boiled or steamed potatoes in puree or processed as creams.
  • Meats and fish : Meats can be chicken, veal or turkey always baked, boiled or grilled and cold cuts such as ham. As for fish, it will always be white fish.
  • Eggs : In principle, soft-boiled eggs, French omelette or poached eggs can be incorporated into the diet, but in patients with a delicate intestinal condition, the white will be included in the first days and the yolk a few days later.
  • Dairy : Skimmed milk, natural yogurt, fresh Burgos-type cheeses and cottage cheese can be included in the soft diet.
  • Vegetables : They should always be taken cooked, in the form of puree or broths, avoiding raw vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and all those that can ferment in the stomach.
  • Legumes : Only small amounts cooked and pureed or previously sifted to remove the skin will be taken.
  • Fruits : They will always be eaten cooked in the oven or in compote form unless they are non-acidic and well-ripened fruits.
  • Fats : Only in very small quantities, it is advisable to avoid butter or margarine and prefer olive oil.
  • Drinks : Water, skim milk and some fruit juices such as peach are allowed, as well as some infusion of natural herbs that do not cause intestinal irritation.

Foods to Avoid on a Bland Diet

  • Whole grains and pastries in general.
  • Stewed rice or with very spicy sauces.
  • Fibrous or high-fat red meats.
  • Sausages with a lot of fat or smoked content.
  • Blue fish, shellfish and canned fish.
  • Cured, spicy cheeses of the provolone type.
  • Flan.
  • Custard.
  • Chocolate.
  • Fried foods in general.
  • Salsas .
  • Snacks of all kinds.
  • Spicy condiments that stimulate gastric secretion and cause irritation.
  • Pickles (olives, onions, pickles).
  • Very sugary or spicy foods.
  • Tobacco.
  • Alcoholic drinks.

 It is necessary to eat slowly, several times a day and chew food well to facilitate digestion, avoiding talking while eating to avoid swallowing air that can generate annoying gas.

It is recommended to do the diets only for about seven days and gradually add foods to the normal diet. However, if the discomfort persists or there is a poor tolerance to the diet, it will be necessary to consult a doctor to make the necessary changes.

Soft Diet Menu

Like any diet, it is essential to have a discriminated plan in a weekly menu consisting of five daily meals and in the case of the soft diet it is also necessary that the portions are not copious and the type of cooking is as simple as possible as boiled, when steam, grilled or baked.

In general lines, the soft diet is characterized by being composed of a series of menus that may have variations since both the ingredients and the quantities can change according to the pathology and needs of the patient, but in general terms the diet is based on:

  • Low-fat meats including chicken, beef, turkey, white fish.
  • Low fiber foods.
  • Foods low in sugars, spicy and irritating such as pepper, tabasco or chilli.
  • No alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, tea.
  • Foods cooked with healthy methods such as steamed, boiled, baked, grilled, grilled, papillote or bain-marie.
  • Always avoid the excessive use of oil, butter or margarine.

Example of a weekly menu to follow the soft diet:

Monday

Breakfast:  2 slices of white bread with cold turkey.

Mid-morning:  1 piece of ripe fruit.

Lunch:  1 French omelette, 1 Cup of chicken broth.

Snack:  1 natural yogurt.

Dinner:  1 portion of vegetable cream, 3 slices of York ham, 1 baked apple.

Tuesday

Breakfast:  2 slices of white bread with cold turkey.

Mid-morning:  1 piece of roasted or compote fruit.

Lunch:  1 Portion of zucchini puree, 1 Grilled sea bass.

Snack:  1 natural yogurt.

Dinner:  1 Portion of beans and boiled potatoes (mashed), 1 Portion of applesauce.

Wednesday

Breakfast:  2 slices of white bread with York ham.

Mid-morning:  1 piece of ripe fruit.

Lunch:  1 portion of boiled white rice, 1 grilled chicken breast fillet.

Snack:  1 natural yogurt.

Dinner:  1 Portion of hake al papillote, 1 Roasted apple with a teaspoon of honey.

Thursday

Breakfast:  2 slices of white bread with cold turkey.

Mid-morning:  1 piece of roasted or compote fruit.

Lunch:  1 Portion of steamed chard with a drizzle of olive oil, 1 Grilled turkey fillet.

Snack:  1 Natural yogurt.

Dinner:  1 French omelette, 1 Apple compote.

Friday

Breakfast:  2 slices of white bread with cold turkey.

Mid-morning:  1 piece of ripe fruit.

Lunch:  1 portion of pumpkin and leek cream, 1 grilled sole fillet.

Snack:  1 natural yogurt.

Dinner:  1 Serving of mashed potatoes, 1 Serving of applesauce.

Saturday

Breakfast:  2 slices of white bread with cold turkey.

Mid-morning:  1 piece of roasted or compote fruit.

Lunch:  1 Portion of roast chicken, 1 Roasted apple with a teaspoon of honey.

Snack:  1 natural yogurt.

Dinner:  1 Portion of asparagus cream, 1 Portion of baked hake.

Sunday

Breakfast:  One or two slices of bimbo bread with cold turkey meat.

Mid-morning:  1 piece of ripe fruit.

Food:  1 Portion of baked rabbit, 1 Steamed potato.

Snack:  Natural yogurt.

Dinner:  1 Portion of vegetable cream, 1 Piece of ripe fruit.

Variants of the soft diet

There are several diets that can be considered as variations of the soft diet because they meet the same characteristics but are oriented according to specific situations, for example for diseases of the digestive system or for people who do not eat products of animal origin.

Soft diet for vegetarians

The soft diet can also be adapted to be used by those who follow a vegetarian-type diet, especially considering that this original eating plan includes meat, fish, eggs and dairy.

Thus, if this diet should be done by vegetarians or vegans, the question often arises about how to substitute meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, something that can be done relatively easily and prepare dishes that are just as nutritious and tasty.

So what are proteins can be covered with sifted or passed through the Chinese legume purees and consume this in moderate quantities. It can also include seitan or white tofu, not smoked as it comes seasoned

As a substitute for dairy, unsweetened plant milks are usually well tolerated by people with digestive problems who need to eat a soft diet, the same as almond, oatmeal or rice milk. 

Astringent and non-astringent bland diet

As has already been said, the soft diet is recommended to mitigate certain problems directly related to the digestive system, be it the intestinal or stomach area, as well as dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) surgery on the jaw, mouth and even gastroesophageal reflux.

Within this type of soft diet there is also the astringent soft diet  appropriate for patients who need to mitigate gastric problems and the non-astringent soft diet used in people appropriate to clean the stomach and avoid vomiting episodes.

For both the astringent and non-astringent soft diet there is a variety of recommended foods that serve as a guide for preparing the daily menu as they are adapted to the pathology that needs to be treated.

Soft diet for gastric diseases

There is also a soft diet also recommended for the recovery of gastric diseases such as gastritis and ulcer.

This type of pathology requires a special soft diet composed of fruit juices such as papaya, melon or watermelon but without the addition of sugar and in no case can citrus fruits be used.

You can also include non-meat broths and purees based on potatoes or pumpkin, applesauce or plums sweetened with a little amount of honey and always avoid all kinds of spicy foods, strong sauces and dressings, canned foods, oils, sausages, fish , shellfish, eggs, and flatulence-producing vegetables such as cabbage or cabbage.

Astringent bland diet foods

  • Rice or carrot broths.
  • Ripe bananas.
  • Grated apple.
  • Yogurt.
  • Quince jam.
  • Cooked rice.

Non-astringent bland diet foods

  • Onion soup.
  • Cooked chicken.
  • Cooked potatoes and carrot.
  • Yogurt.
  • Baked or compote fruit.
  • Omelette.
  • Soft-boiled eggs.
  • Legume puree without the shell.
  • York ham.
  • Cooked turkey.
  • Rice soup.

Advantages and disadvantages of the soft diet

The soft diet is especially indicated for the treatment of certain diseases and therefore it is a healthy eating plan that does not have disadvantages , even because it can also be done by children with episodes of diarrhea or gastroenteritis.

The important thing is that the soft diet has to be done under medical supervision and generally the maximum period is one week, although if it is considered necessary it is possible to follow it for a longer time and gradually incorporate other foods.

Also, some doctors recommend it to patients who will undergo gallbladder surgery since this type of pathology requires a special diet a couple of weeks before the intervention.

It should be remembered that the soft diet only acts as a palliative to relieve symptoms but is not curative because its main objective is to provide adequate nutrition with minimal digestive stimulation and avoid complications, being a complete, balanced and varied eating plan.

Soft diet precautions

Despite being a healthy diet, it is unappetizing and its menus are a bit monotonous, so the intake is often lower. Hence, a medical follow-up is essential in order to avoid deficiencies and ensure a nutritional balance for the patient .

If there is a deficiency or imbalance of nutrients, the doctor may recommend the administration of nutritional supplements, guaranteeing a healthy diet that serves the desired objective but is also balanced and according to the needs of each patient.

Soft Diet Recipes

 Creams and purees are perfect for a soft diet since, in addition to being easy to eat, they also allow the digestive system not to have too much work. Potatoes, pumpkin or leeks are ideal for this type of preparation, especially because of the flavor that is achieved by combining these ingredients.

Pumpkin soup and leeks

Ingredients

  • 1 kg. pumpkin
  • 2 large leeks
  • 700 cc. homemade chicken broth
  • 100 grs. liquid cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small carrot

Preparation

Wash and cut the leeks,

Wash, peel and cut the carrot, potato and pumpkin all into very small cubes.

Sauté the leeks, carrots and potatoes in a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil over a very low heat to avoid burning for about 5 minutes.

After five minutes add the chicken broth and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes also over low heat.

Finally add the liquid cream, beaten with the egg yolk.

Remove from the heat and grind everything, then passing through a strainer or sieve.

Serve the cream of pumpkin and leeks

Chicken rolls

To make the dishes of a soft diet more attractive, it is possible to prepare a recipe that despite being simple is also tasty like these chicken rolls.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 100 grs. York ham
  • 100 grs. soft cheese, cut into strips
  • olive oil
  • shall

Preparation

Open the chicken breasts in half and season with very little salt.

Place some slices of York ham and cheese strips on each breast and roll up, holding with a toothpick so that it does not open or lose its shape.

In a frying pan, place a drizzle of olive oil and when it is hot, seal the breast rolls on both sides.

Place the rolls in a metal or clay dish and bake at 200ºC for approximately 15 minutes.

Remove and serve warm.

Lubina in the oven

White fish is indicated in the soft diet and sea bass is one of the best, especially to prepare in the oven. In this case, the fish will take on the flavor of the onion, lemon juice and chopped parsley, without the need to add salt.

Ingredients

  • 2 Lubinas
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Preparation

Washing and cleaning the seabass

In a baking tray place the sliced ​​onion drizzle with the lemon juice.

Place the two clean seabass on the onion slices and pour a little olive oil on each one, as well as a little water, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180º C for about 20 minutes.

Rice and carrot soup

Rice soup is very simple to prepare and in this case carrot is added to give the dish more flavor and color.

Ingredients (for 1 people)

  • 100 grs. of rice
  • 1 Carrot
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Shall

Preparation

In a saucepan place ¾ liter of water and a pinch of salt.

When the water begins to boil add the rice and also a teaspoon of olive oil, simmering for 5 minutes.

Wash and peel the carrot, grate and add to the rice, allowing the cooking to continue for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve warm.

Soft Diet Video

Popularly known as the soft diet, it was originally called the hospital soft diet since it was developed precisely in hospitals to facilitate easy food intake for certain patients.

Over time, the diet was adapted to other requirements and that is why today it is also recommended by doctors to do it at home. The type of foods allowed and prohibited is the basis of the soft diet as well as the way to prepare, combine and cook the ingredients, varying according to the doctor prescribes it for a certain pathology.

Sources and References:

  • Institute of Gastroenterology Havana City

New concepts about diet in the treatment of peptic ulcer

  • Digestive Diseases Medical – Surgical Center

What is the soft diet made of?

  • American Cancer Society

Nutrition for the person with cancer during their treatment

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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