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Soft Diet List After Bowel Surgery

author image Erica Wickham, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.
Erica Wickham covers health, exercise and lifestyle topics for various websites. She completed an internship in dietetics and earned a Master of Science in dietetics from D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. Wickham now serves as a registered dietitian.
Soft Diet List After Bowel Surgery
Young woman eating a bowl of soup. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Bowel surgery may be necessary if you have polyps, colon cancer, ulcerative colitis or diverticular diseases. Bowel surgery requires colon cleansingand fasting before surgery and dietary progression to allow your digestive tract to heal after your surgery. A soft diet helps the bowel transition from a liquid diet immediately after surgery to a diet that includes easily digested foods. A soft diet is typically mild in taste and texture and low in fiber. A soft diet consists of foods from each of the food groups and should adequately meet your nutritional needs.

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Sliced fruits
Sliced fruits Photo Credit: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Fruits provide important vitamins and minerals for your body when it is healing from surgery. Choose fruit juice, applesauce, bananas, soft melon cubes, grapefruit, oranges, grapes, apricots and peaches. Select canned fruits without skins or seeds, cooked or mashed fruit and well ripened fruit. Use fruit juice to blend fruits, if you wish. Avoid prune juice, berries, coconut and dried fruits, such as dates, raisins and prunes.


Close up of green and purple kale.
Close up of green and purple kale. Photo Credit: Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which promote optimal health. On a soft diet, you may eat vegetable juices, soft cooked or mashed vegetables without skin and canned vegetables. Choose pureed or soft-cooked vegetables like beets, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers with no seeds, zucchini, mushrooms, squash, green beans, eggplant, lettuce and tomatoes, as tolerated. Avoid raw, fried or gas-producing vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, leeks, onions, cabbage, rutabaga, sauerkraut, dried beans, peas, cauliflower, corn, kale and chard.


Loaf of bread cut into slices.
Loaf of bread cut into slices. Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

If you are following a soft diet, you should avoid whole-grain breads and cereals, which includes rye, bran and whole wheat as well as corn chips, pretzels and grains with dried fruit, nuts or seeds. Choose refined, cooked or ready-to eat cereal, barley, English muffins, refined white bread, rolls, pancakes, waffles, crackers, soft bread or tortillas, white rice and white pasta. Choose a variety of foods each day to ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional requirements.

Protein-Rich Foods

Poached egg on lettuce.
Poached egg on lettuce. Photo Credit: Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your body needs protein for proper healing after surgery. When beginning a soft diet, select mild and easily digested foods like broth or bouillon, pureed or blended soups, soups with soft vegetables or meats, poached or scrambled eggs, tofu and well-cooked, slightly mashed legumes. Once tolerated, progress to lean, tender meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, bacon, mild cheeses, yogurt, milk and creamy peanut butter. Choose meat that is pureed, chopped or cubed and moistened. Add chicken or beef broth, gravy, marinade or sauces to moisten and blend meats. Avoid fried chicken or fish, fish with bones, salted or smoked meats, cold cuts, raw or fried eggs, dried nuts or seeds and yogurt with dried fruit.

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