Soft Diet to Eat While Suffering An Illness

Many diseases and conditions can affect the way we eat, causing even soft foods to eat to become a challenge. Here are 15 easy-to-chew food suggestions for those days when swallowing is difficult.

1. Bananas

2. Applesauce

3. Scrambled eggs or omelettes

4. Cheesecake or pudding

5. Yoghourt with granola, raisins, bananas or strawberries

6. Creamed soups—especially chicken noodle soup!  (Don’t forget the spoon.)

7. Cottage cheese with fruit (mixed in or on top)

8. Smooth peanut butter spread on crackers or bread now instead which contains more sugar and may contain hydrogenated oils which can be harder for the body to break down.

9. Avocado

10. Soft-cooked eggs

11. Shelled nuts (e.g., peanuts, pistachios)  Be sure to check that they are fresh and not rancid! Fresh nuts contain oil that can become rancid quickly. Rancid nuts taste worse than stale nuts because rancid oil is hard for the body to digest. As a rule of thumb, store all shelled nuts in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator and eat them within one month after purchase from the grocery store or health food store—or within six months if purchased from a bulk bin section at a food co-op, where they don’t sit around unsold on store shelves.

12. Light or mild salsa (no chunky onions please)  Dip with bruschetta, nachos or tortilla chips if desired

13. Smooth peanut butter spread on a slice of bread and then rolled up like a hot dog

14. Cream cheese spread on a bagel thin sandwich with cucumbers and sprouts

15. Canned peach slices in juice—first drain off all the liquid!  The canned peach’s own juice is too sweet for many people to eat, plus it adds unnecessary sugar calories

The benefits of soft foods to eat

A banana sitting on top of a table

Small amounts of soft foods to eat by people who have trouble chewing or swallowing due to dental problems, surgery, or illness. Soft foods are easier for some people to swallow than hard foods. Eating only soft foods does not provide the same amount of vitamins and minerals as eating a variety of both soft and hard foods. Therefore, it’s important that these types of diets only be used for short periods of time (2-3 days).

The history behind soft foods to eat

A banana sitting on top of a green apple

The history surrounding the soft foods to eat is varied. It has been used in several medical conditions, for a variety of reasons. The most common use of a soft or liquid diet would be for someone who has had their teeth removed and have trouble chewing. Some medical professionals have also advocated the use of these diets for patients who have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). In this case, it was suggested that certain texture changes to food could help prevent choking on food that was being swallowed improperly. More recently, soft/liquid/pudding type foods have been sold as “desserts” by some companies normally dealing with foods intended for weight loss diets.

Soft Foods to eat and the risks involved

Patients that choose to use a “soft foods to eat” or a “liquid foods diet” should consult their doctor before doing so, as it can interfere with medical conditions. For example, cancer patients on chemotherapy may be at risk if they try to eat certain types of food because the chemo drugs can destroy the lining of the digestive system and make eating solid foods dangerous. In these cases, only specially formulated “chemo-friendly” foods are allowed.

There is some danger involved in using soft/liquid diets for unusually long periods of time (over 2-3 days), as it will not provide enough nutrition for most people. It’s important that a person eats varying textures of food to maintain a healthy level of minerals and vitamins.

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