How to Start a Liquid Diet

Whether you're on a liquid diet for a medical condition or procedure or because you hope it will help you lose weight, it can be tricky to get started and stay on this eating plan. A liquid diet consists of foods that are only liquid or become liquid at room temperature, such as strained soups, soups and ice pops. Some versions of liquid diets incorporate solid foods that have been blended to liquid consistency. If medically supervised, a liquid diet can provide you with the nutrition you need; however, it can be dangerous to undertake a liquid diet without medical supervision.

A ladle of broth over a bowl. (Image: Photosiber/iStock/Getty Images)

Talk to a Doctor or Dietitian

If you're going on a liquid diet due to a medical concern, talk to your physician about the best way to tackle the challenge. Otherwise, make an appointment with a dietitian, who can offer suggestions or healthier alternatives to a liquid diet for weight-loss purposes. According to registered dietitian Susan Moores, severely restrictive diets such as a liquid diet can upset blood sugar, potassium and sodium levels and deprive the body of necessary vitamins and minerals. You'll also likely regain the weight quickly after returning to a solid-food diet.

Determine How Many Calories You Need

If you're not watching carefully, it's easy to fall short of your daily caloric needs while on a liquid diet. According to MedlinePlus, the general goal is approximately 1,350 to 1,500 calories and 45 grams of protein each day; however, only your doctor or dietitian can provide the exact number of calories you need per day for the purposes of the liquid diet.

Purchase Appropriate Foods

Your calories should come from fruit juices -- pulp is OK; soup broth; ice pops; sodas; gelatin; tea and coffee with milk, sugar or honey; and fats such as butter, margarine, oil, cream, ice cream or frozen yogurt. You can also integrate commercial liquid supplements into your diet, if necessary.

Leave These Foods at the Store

If you're new to a liquid diet, you might not know what foods are OK and what's off-limits to start. Although some liquid diets say it's just fine to include pureed solid foods in your liquid diet, talk to your doctor before adding foods such as strained meats, pureed potatoes or cooked, refined cereals such as oatmeal, grits or farina. You should also avoid any cheese, raw or cooked vegetables, and fruit, whether fresh, canned or frozen.

Eat Every Few Hours

When you're not chewing your meals, you might lose the sense of being truly satisfied afterward -- and, therefore, feel hungry more frequently. This can be difficult for someone new to a liquid diet. You should be eating -- or drinking, as it may be -- smaller, more frequent meals; recommends eating at least three meals and two to three snacks a day. If you're very hungry, double-check your caloric intake to see if you're falling short of your goals. If so, add additional calories to your diet in the form of dry milk powder added to whole milk or full-fat Greek yogurt added to smoothies.

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