Types of Diets
- Regular (may be able to stay on regular until the end if there are no chewing or swallowing issues)
- Soft: A soft diet contains foods that are soft and easy to chew or swallow. Individuals with dental problems or extreme weakness often need a soft diet. The soft diet may sometimes relieve mild intestinal or stomach discomfort, and is especially helpful to those with digestive problems and sore mouths and throats. Soft diets include baked potatoes, cereals softened in milk, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, scrambled eggs, yogurt, applesauce, ice cream, pudding and milkshakes. Fried foods, dried beans, nuts and seeds, raw fruit and vegetables and hard breads should be avoided.
- Mechanical Soft: A mechanical soft diet may be prescribed for people who have difficulty chewing or swallowing. In general, mechanical soft foods are chopped, ground or blenderized and prepared with added liquids to make them easier to chew. Recommended foods include soft breads, cooked cereals, cereals softened in milk, canned fruit, juices, cooked vegetables, ground meat, scrambled eggs, cooked dry beans and peas, soft cheeses, yogurt without fruit, custards and puddings, cream soups and noodles. Foods containing nuts or seeds, tough meats, hard breads, raw fruits and vegetables and dried foods should be avoided.
- Puree: Pureed foods have been ground, pressed or strained to a consistency of a soft, smooth, thick paste. Foods should be pureed with a food processer, but a good blender or hand-mixer can be used if necessary. Foods that are stringy, have nuts, seeds or tough skins should be avoided. Peanut butter should not be pureed either. Begin by completely cooking all foods until tender. Place small pieces into the food processor and add a liquid. Liquids can include milk, broth, fruit or vegetable juice or liquid supplements. Puree the mixture until you reach a smooth consistency that is thick enough to be picked up with a fork. Try a variety of foods and recipes, and increase the flavor with salt, pepper, butter, margarine, salad dressings, smooth sauces or other seasonings.
- Full Liquid: A full liquid diet is made up of foods that are liquid at room temperature, including fluids, ice cream, sherbet, creamy soups, tea, juice, milkshakes, pudding and popsicles. People on a full liquid diet cannot eat solid foods. A full liquid diet still provides proteins, fluids, salts and minerals needed for energy.
- Clear Liquid: A clear liquid diet consists of clear liquids, such as water, broth, fruit juices without pulp, clear sodas, honey and plain gelatin, which are easily digested and leave no undigested residue in the intestinal tract. This diet may be prescribed before medical procedures or in people with digestive problems. Clear liquids help maintain hydration, electrolytes and provide some energy when a full diet is not possible.
- Finger Foods: A finger food diet may be used for people who have trouble using silverware but wish to feed themselves and continue to eat the foods they love. Finger foods include chicken nuggets, sausage rolls, cheese sticks, chicken drumsticks or wings, sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, fruit and bread.
- Thickened Liquids: People who have difficulty chewing or swallowing may use a thickened liquid diet. Thickened liquids may be one of four levels of liquid thickness: thin, nectar thick, honey thick or spoon thick. Thin liquids include water, soda, juice and broth. Nectar thick liquids include fruit nectar, maple syrup, eggnog, Ensure, tomato juice and cream soups. Honey thick liquids include honey and liquids thickened to a honey consistency. A spoon thick liquid is a pudding. Some liquids are naturally thickened to the appropriate consistency; others may need a thickening agent. People on a thickened liquid diet should eat in an upright position and remain in that position for at least thirty minutes for proper digestion.
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