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Soft Food Diets

When does my child need a soft food diet?

Children in treatment for serious illnesses or having surgery sometimes need a soft food diet.

Reasons can include:

Little girl eating bowl of spaghetti.

Soft foods such as noodles are easier for children to chew and swallow.

Planning a soft food diet

Foods that are easy to chew and swallow will make eating easier for your child. These ideas might help:

  • Cook foods until they are soft and tender.
  • Cut foods into small pieces.
  • Mix foods with sauces and gravies.
  • Use a blender to puree food (make creamy).
  • Use a straw to help with swallowing.
  • Try several small meals during the day.

Foods on this list can be part of a soft food diet:


  • Cocoa
  • Milk
  • Fruit juices (except citrus)
  • Water

Bread and cereal products

  • Grits
  • Oatmeal
  • Soft bread
  • Dry cereals soaked in milk
  • Muffins
  • Pasta with white sauce, cheese, or butter


  • Cooked or canned fruits
  • Soft fruits
Closeup of fluffy, scrambled eggs.

Scrambled eggs are an example of a soft food.

Meat products, meat substitutes, and eggs 

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Soft meats
  • Cottage cheese
  • Sliced cheese
  • Creamy peanut butter


  • Green beans
  • Green peas
  • Cooked spinach
  • Potatoes (mashed or baked)
  • Squash
  • Asparagus
  • Beans

Other foods

  • Soups (except tomato-based)
  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Oils
  • Cream gravy
Closeup of hand holding a large cup of yogurt and fruit parfait.

Desserts with ice cream, pudding, and yogurts are good choices for a soft food diet.


  • Gelatin
  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  • Soft cookies
  • Yogurt
  • Popsicles
  • Cake without nuts

Call your child’s care team if you have questions about their dietary needs.

Reviewed: March 2022