If you’ve just had oral surgery or have an upset stomach, getting back to mealtime with soft foods is the cornerstone of your recovery. Soft foods do less damage to your teeth and jaw and are easier to digest.
Contrary to what you might think, a soft food diet doesn’t have to be boring either. Spoiler alert: You can have more than just soup. Or maybe you thought ice cream was your only option and the one that works just fine for you. While ice cream can certainly be a part of your post-recovery meal plan, it’s also important to eat foods that contain the nutrients your body needs, including protein, fiber, healthy fats, and micronutrients.
This is where the following list of 25 foods comes in. It’s all tender – easy on the mouth and digestive system – and it’s a registered registered dietitian dietitian. Consider your shopping list so you can eat crunchy foods again.
25 types of delicious soft foods rich in nutrients
1. scrambled eggs
If you stick to soft foods for now, meat is out of the question, so you’ll need to get your protein elsewhere. Registered Dietitian and 2 day diabetes diet author Erin Palinski-Wade, RDAnd the He says eggs are a great protein source for cooking instead. “One egg provides 6 grams of protein and all the essential amino acids,” she says. “You can also incorporate eggs in a variety of ways such as poached or soufflé.”
2. Cottage cheese
Palinski-Wade says cheese is another protein-rich food to add to your shopping list. “It can be enjoyed on its own or combined into a smoothie,” she says. If you eat it as is, consider adding cinnamon and nutmeg for more flavor.
3. soft fish
Based in Seattle Registered Dietitian, Ginger Hultin RDN, A fan of soft fish (like salmon, cod, and herring) because it’s a good source of protein and healthy fats. Complete your meal by pairing it with mashed potatoes.
Hultin says tofu is a great plant-based protein source and has a smooth texture. “It’s very versatile. You can saute it, bake it, whisk it into a mousse, or mix it into a smoothie,” she says.
If you’re not into tofu but love the idea of a soft, plant-based protein, go with the beans. Hultin says this plant-based food contains both protein and fiber, making it a mealtime winner.
6. Greek Yogurt
Palinski-Wade is a fan of Greek yogurt because it’s packed with protein and is also very versatile. One of her unexpected favorite ways to use it in pancakes.
Registered dietitians recommend smoothies and it’s easy to see why: The flavors and combinations of nutrients are nearly endless. Craving for something tropical? Add kiwi or mango. Want it to taste like candy? Use chocolate and banana protein powder. This is a soft food that you can make in completely different ways every day until you are fully recovered.
RELATED: 3 Pick-Me-Ups Approved Smoothie Recipes for Hectic Mornings
Similar to smoothies, there are endless ways to enjoy soup so you can eat crunchy foods again. Incorporate bone broth, beans, or lentils into your soup to make sure your protein base is covered.
Palinski-Wade says oatmeal is a high-fiber food—the key to optimal digestion. Add honey and fruit puree for sweetness. Or you can eat delicious food and add eggs, cheese and your favorite spices.
This is another thing that should be on your shopping list for soft foods at Hultin. Just like chickpeas in their whole form, chickpeas provide a wide range of nutrients including protein, fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, and healthy fats.
You definitely don’t need toast to enjoy avocados. Hultin recommends adding it to your grocery list because it’s a great source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, magnesium and potassium. Pair it with chopped tofu, olive oil, and your favorite spices—literally every ingredient in this easy meal is rich in nutrients.
12. Cooked berries
Hultin Pro Cooking Tip: Cook the berries over a low heat to enjoy as a snack or dessert. There’s just something about warm fruit that’s so comforting and delicious. Besides, it would be a welcome break if you depend on applesauce for your fruit fix.
13. Banana mashed
“Bananas are mushy on their own or can be mashed for extra softness,” says Palinski-Wade. “It provides a source of fiber along with beneficial nutrients like potassium.” Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on the face for more sweetness.
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14. Canned fruit
If you can’t eat fresh fruit yet, Palinski-Wade says canned fruit can be a great alternative in the meantime. “Choose fruit canned in water versus juice,” she says, adding that the latter can be high in added sugar.
15. Dried Peaches
One often-overlooked fruit Palinski-Wade recommends is the plum, which can be mashed up so it’s easier to eat and digest. “Pure prunes can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while increasing fiber,” she says. Besides being high in fiber, she adds, it’s been linked to supporting bone health as well.
16. Mashed potatoes
White potatoes often get a bad reputation, but Palinski-Wade says they definitely deserve a place on this list because they are a good source of fiber, potassium, folate and magnesium.
17. Mashed sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes have some of the same benefits as white potatoes — such as fiber, iron, and potassium — but they are higher in vitamin A, which helps support the immune system. Both tubers are the soft foods that win!
RELATED: 8 Incredible Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes — and How They stack up against white potatoes
Summer is the height of watermelon season and Hultin notes that this fruit is very soft to the touch. Just watch out for the seeds!
19. Nut Butter
Whether you want to enjoy nut butter straight from the jar with a spoon or by incorporating it into a bowl of oatmeal or a smoothie, nutritionists say nut butters are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Related Topics: Almond Butter vs Peanut Butter: Which is Healthier?
20. White rice
The main advantage of white rice is how versatile it is; Almost any seasoning tastes great with it. Enjoy white rice on its own or incorporate it into soups to make it more satisfying.
21. Steamed vegetables
Registered dietitians say steaming vegetables makes them easier to eat and digest than raw. They recommend the spinach, carrots and zucchini in particular. Add olive oil and spices for added flavor and health benefits.
22. Egg or chicken salad
Deli sandwiches may be on hold at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some classic sandwich fillings. Two protein-packed options: egg salad or chicken salad. Just be sure to cross out the crunchy celery, which often appears in chicken salad.
23. Moisten banana, zucchini or pumpkin bread
A thick, warm slice of banana, zucchini, or pumpkin bread makes a delicious breakfast or dessert. Look for recipes made with almond flour, which are low in sugar, and made with the actual product for maximum health benefits.
Enchiladas are a lean, protein-packed dinner, whether made with beans or shredded chicken. This is one of those soft foods that everyone around the table will enjoy, not just those in recovery mode.
25. Avocado Mousse
Did you know that avocados can be turned into a decadent dessert? Yes, this is possible. Check out this recipe for how to make it in five minutes—no sugar needed. It’s a dessert option packed with little more nutrients than a pint of ice cream.
“It can be easy to keep a soft diet nutritious for recovery if you’re creative,” Holten says. Her biggest tip is to be prepared (if possible) and shop for groceries early. If you have to follow a lean diet for an extended period of time, she recommends meeting a registered dietitian who can provide guidance and make sure you don’t miss out on any important nutrients. And of course, this menu can help, so it’s worth bookmarking, too. You can only develop a file flexible spot for everything on it.
Next, can you guess which vegetables are the healthiest of all?
- Erin Palinski-Wade, registered dietitian and author Belly fat diet for dummiesAnd the Walking on weight off dummiesAnd the Diabetes diet for two days.
- Ginger Hultin RDN, Registered Dietitian, owner of Champagne Nutrition, and author Preparing meals to lose weight 101.