20+ Soft Food Ideas That Are Actually Satisfying

Put down that third cup of pudding! We have tons of satisfying soft food ideas for anyone on a post-surgery diet.

At some point or another, you may find yourself needing to follow a soft foods diet. But what does a “soft diet” mean? What foods are allowed? And—most importantly—how can you meet your nutritional needs? We break down the answers to these questions (and more)!

Just got braces? Reach for these nutritious soft foods.

Why would I follow a soft foods diet?

There are lots of reasons you may need to follow a soft diet. Oral surgery, difficulty swallowing or GI tract surgery (which affects your esophagus, stomach or intestines) are just a few examples. And with all of these issues, a temporary soft diet helps your body heal without putting extra strain on the affected area.

What are examples of soft foods?

When trying to figure out which foods are considered “soft,” there are a few good rules to follow. The food should be easily mushed with a fork and broken down without a lot of chewing. You’ll want to avoid foods with seeds and skins as well as raw veggies, fruits (unless they are very soft), nuts and tough cuts of meat.

What are some soft foods to eat after oral surgery (or otherwise)?

Here are some great go-to’s that are actually satisfying:

What soft foods are high in protein?

Given that soft food diets are typically recommended after a surgery, eating enough protein is important for the healing process. But seeing as a lot of high-protein foods aren’t considered “soft,” how can you meet your needs? Here are some great options:

  • Tender meats, like pot roast, shredded chicken or pulled pork (Gravy is your friend on a soft diet!)

  • Yogurt or kefir

  • Nut butters, like peanut, almond or cashew

  • Smoothies made with protein powder, yogurt, kefir or nut butters

  • Soft scrambled eggs and egg salad

  • Tuna and shredded chicken salad

  • Flaky fish, like salmon

  • Cottage cheese and other soft cheeses, like fresh mozzarella

  • Refried beans, soft-cooked beans and bean soup

  • Silken tofu

While following a soft diet after surgery or with a medical condition can seem intimidating, it’s very attainable (and can also be super delicious)! With some creativity and planning, you can include all of the major food groups and pack in enough protein for proper healing.

Try These Soft Food Recipes
1 / 50

Popular Videos

Christina Manian, RDN
Christina Manian is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist based out of Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, she has been involved with the nutrition departments of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Mass General Hospital. She completed her nutrition education at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on medical nutrition therapy and most recently practiced clinical nutrition at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. While her background has largely been in the clinical setting, Christina embraces and is shifting her focus towards wellness nutrition as the backbone to optimum health.