Mechanical soft diet

The mechanical soft diet (light diet) includes foods that are well tolerated by patients whose digestion is impaired as a result of surgery or illness. The diet is modified from the regular menu excluding foods high in indigestible cellulose and the less digestible connective tissue of meats, very coarse breads and cereals, and very highly seasoned food. Foods may be prepared in any way accept fried. The light diet may include foods
which are somewhat soft in texture and easy to chew, although food tolerances may vary among individuals. Foods on the regular diet which are tolerated by the individual are allowed.Adequacy:
The mechanical soft diet provides the variety and quantity of foods necessary to plan menus that will meet the Recommended Daily Dietary Allowances of the Natural Research Council for the average adult. It may be necessary to plan to include foods high in iron to meet the needs of pre-menopausal women.

Mechanical soft diet

Food GroupFood AllowedFood Not Allowed
Milk Group (2 cups daily):
All types as desiredMilk drinks or yogurt containing whole fruits or berries with seeds or skins
Meat Group (2 servings
Meat, Poultry and Fish
Tender beef, veal, lamb, lean pork, mild ham, fish, liver or poultry. It may be
chopped or ground for ease of eating.
Tough meat: barbequed, fried, smoked and other highly seasoned meats; frankfurters,
luncheon meats, sausage.
CerealsCooked cereals such as farina, cream of wheat, oatmeal; refined cereals such as cornflakes, rice cereals, puffed wheat or rice.Bran and whole grain cereals. Fried potatoes, potato skin, corn, dried beans and potato chips, wild rice.
StarchyWhite sweet potato (no skin), macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, grits, white rice, green English peasFried potatoes, potato skins, corn, dried beans and potato chips, wild rice.
FatsButter, margarine, cream, cream substitute, mayonnaise, shortening, vegetable oil, whipped topping, gravy, mild salad dressing, crisp bacon.Fried foods, lard, salt pork.
SoupsSoups made from allowed foods.Soups containing prohibited vegetables and those high in fat
Desserts and sweetsPlain cake and cookies, custard, plain ice cream, plain puddings (rice, tapioca, bread and cornstarch), gelatin desserts, plain candies, chocolate, honey, jelly, sugar,
p, plain frosting.
Rich pastries, desserts containing nuts, seeds, coconut, raisins and dried fruits.
BeveragesCoffee, tea, decaffeinated coffee, cocoa and carbonated beveragesAlcoholic beverages.
FruitsAll juices, all canned fruits, fresh fruits: Banana, Cantaloupe, Melon (seeded), Grapefruit sections (no membranes), Berries, Avocado, Apple (peeled), Pear (peeled)Fresh fruit with skins: Plums, Peaches, Nectarines, Oranges, Apricots, Dried Fruit
VegetablesWell-cooked soft or pureed vegetables, Tomato paste, Tomato pureeCorn, Raw vegetables
Bread and Starchy FoodsCooked Cereal, Baked potato (without skin), Soft, moist rice, Pasta such as: Spaghetti, Noodles, Dry cereals-Softened in milk except those listed to avoidAll breads: Toast, Rolls, Biscuits, English muffins, muffins, Bagels, Cornbreado, pancakes, Waffles, Dry cereals: Shredded wheat, Coarse, high fiber cereals, Popcorn, Crackers, French Fries, Lima beans, Pizza

Tips for preparing a mechanical soft diet

Many people require changes to their diet to ensure the food and fluid eaten is managed easily. In addition, if you have a small appetite, you may find small frequent meals easier to manage than large meals. You should choose foods which are high in calories if you have recently lost weight unintentionally or need to gain weight.

Meat or Poultry Choose tender meat and casseroles to ensure they are soft. Use soft tinned meats or ready-cooked meats in small pieces with sauce or gravy.
FishSteam, bake or microwave boneless fish (without batter) and serve with a sauce or enriched milk. Alternatively use tinned (boneless fish) such as tuna or salmon.
EggsEggs can be scrambled, poached, boiled or made in to an omelette. Extra butter, margarine or milk may be needed to make them softer.
Boiled eggs may be grated or mashed with butter or mayonnaise.
CheeseAdd grated cheese to mashed potatoes, sauces, soups and vegetables (ensure it does not go stringy).
BreadUse soft white bread and remove the crusts to make soft sandwiches. Choose soft fillings such as tinned fish, egg mayonnaise, hummus or spreads.
PastaChoose dishes such as macaroni cheese, spaghetti bolognaise or lasagne.
VegetablesFresh, frozen or tinned vegetables can be cooked until soft; add margarine/butter or serve with a tomato or white sauce. Alternatively mash vegetables (such as potatoes) with margarine/butter and add grated cheese.
FruitChoose soft fresh (remove skin, seeds, pips) or tinned fruit. Any fruit can be stewed (with added sugar) or mashed. Serve with custard, yoghurt, double cream, ice cream, fromage frais, condensed or evaporated milk.
Puddings and DessertsHome made, tinned and packet puddings are all suitable; custard, rice pudding, sago, tapioca, sponge or stewed fruit with custard, ice cream, double cream or evaporated/condensed milk.
Other options are thick and creamy yoghurts, fromage frais, crème caramel, chocolate and fruit mousses.
Breakfast CerealTry porridge made with full fat milk (choose a fine oatmeal for a smoother texture).
Weetabix, Cornflakes, Rice Crispies, etc need to be left to soak in milk or served with hot milk to make it soft. Avoid ‘mixed consistency’ cereal such as muesli that may have hard bits such as nuts in it.

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