A List of Soft Foods

A soft food diet is often necessary for people recovering from surgery, anesthesia or trauma. Having a list of healthy and delicious foods to choose from can make the transition back to solid foods easier for the mouth, jaw and digestive tract.

Many foods are easily made soft by adding liquid to them, cooking them slow and/or mashing. From eggs to smoothies to a savory enchilada dinner, this list of soft foods is full of nutritious options.

1. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a versatile dairy staple. Whether you choose to eat it with fruit for breakfast, use it in a smoothie for lunch or add it to savory dinnertime dishes as a substitute for mayo or sour cream, this protein-rich dairy is an excellent source of calcium and probiotics.

The tangy food is made by straining regular yogurt to remove extra whey, leaving it with a thicker consistency. It’s also often made from milk that comes from cows that aren’t treated with rBST or rBGH growth hormones, or it can be strained more aggressively to make labneh, which is even thicker.

2. Smoothies

Smoothies are a popular option for breakfast, lunch or as a snack. They are made from a combination of fruit, juice, yogurt and often include supplemental powders for health benefits. Smoothies are also very refreshing during the hot summer months.

A soft food diet can help people with jaw pain or other issues that make it difficult to chew or swallow. It can also reduce abdominal and digestive pain.

While it may seem challenging to follow a soft food diet, with a little creativity it is possible to get the nutrients you need. A sample soft food diet might include: a smoothie for breakfast, tomato soup and chicken noodle soup for lunch, shepherd’s pie and roasted garlic soup for dinner.

3. Soup

Soup is hydrating, filling and provides a variety of nutrients from vegetables, slow-simmered protein and mineral-rich broth. It can also be a good way to use up produce that is about to go bad.

Some soups can be high in fat and sodium, but if you make your own using low-fat broth and lean meat you can keep them nutritious. Avoid premade soups, which often contain a lot of salt and unnecessary ingredients.

Many people swear by chicken soup as a treatment for the common cold, and there is some evidence that it can help reduce symptoms.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a popular breakfast staple in the Netherlands, Nordic countries and Baltic states. It can be served savoury or sweet and is normally accompanied with added nuts, raisins and dried fruits.

Uncooked oats are extremely versatile and can be used as a thickening agent for soups and stews. They also make a heartier and healthier alternative to bread crumbs for binding burgers, meatloaf and meatballs.

Oats are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and have the ability to absorb excess oil. They also help to soothe itchy skin from poison ivy, chicken pox and sunburns. For a quick and easy no-cook oatmeal solution, mix one cup old-fashioned rolled oats with a tablespoon of powdered milk and leave in the fridge overnight.

5. Hummus

Hummus is a delicious combination of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. This creamy dip is traditionally used as a spread and is an integral part of many mezze platters.

Adding hummus to your diet can increase fiber and protein, as well as lower sodium intake. It can also improve overall diet quality when hummus replaces less healthy snacks and condiments.

Try tossing hummus in a bowl of cooked pasta for a creamy salad dressing or even as a pizza sauce! For a fun twist, garnish with fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of tangy sumac.

6. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a high-moisture, unripened soft cheese that has a soupy texture and a mild flavor. It is usually made from pasteurized skim milk and is often mixed with a creamy dressing to give it a smoother, more uniform consistency.

This delicious dairy product is packed with protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, and sodium. It aids muscle growth and weight loss, helps with digestion, and promotes heart, brain, and bone health.

When choosing cottage cheese, opt for low-fat options, and add fruit or a drizzle of honey to sweeten your snack. A cup of cottage cheese provides you with a full day’s worth of protein, which helps boost muscle growth and energy.

7. Tuna

Tuna, or tunny (genus Thunnus), are large fish whose flesh is prized in sushi and sashimi dishes for its sublime texture. It is also an important part of the ocean ecosystem. It acts as an apex predator at the top of the food chain, transporting nutrients down to the seafloor and then returning them to the surface to be absorbed by plankton.

Tuna is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. It is also rich in vitamin B12, which helps to build and maintain the blood cells. It can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

8. Deli Meat

Whether it’s smoked turkey, pastrami or salami, these deli meats are the staple of many lunches. But processed meats such as these have been linked to a higher risk of cancers, heart disease and obesity.

Look for deli meats with lower levels of sodium. Also, make sure your ham is trimmed and not overly salty. Ham also contains less saturated fat than other pork products such as bacon and prosciutto.

While it’s easy to whip up a quick brown bag lunch with a couple of slices, here are some other ways you can use your deli meat:

9. Popsicles

Popsicles may not be a powerhouse of nutrients, but they are a great source of fluids and sugary electrolytes. They also can help calm nausea and vomiting and provide energy.

Popsicle recipes that include whole fruits can be a wonderful way to expose kids to produce and natural fruit sugars. They can also increase their Vitamin C intake and even boost fiber.

For children at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital Vanderbilt at Williamson Medical Center, a Popsicle can mean the world to them. It’s a tool they use to muster up courage for a procedure or test, and it even helps break down barriers between nurses and children.