What to Eat on a Liquid Diet?
Whether you have had a surgery in your digestive system or mouth, if you are in a bout of diverticulitis, or have active inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor or dietitian may have told you to follow a liquid diet … but what does this mean exactly? And what exactly should you ‘eat’? I have the answers for you here!
What is a liquid diet?
As the name says, a liquid diet contains … only liquids! Does this mean that you should go out and buy liquid food supplements (ex Boost or Ensure) at the pharmacy? Thankfully not! You can prepare this kind of diet easily at home, with real food and a hand-blender or food processor. Here are some meal ideas that should do the trick:
- White Bean Soup with Rosemary
- Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Zucchini Soup
- Spinach Soup with Shallots
- Green Pea Soup
- Quick Green Flageolet Bean Soup
For breakfast, smoothies are your best choice, though make sure to mix them well so that there are no pieces of fruit left. Your smoothie should be more liquid than solid, so feel free to add more water. Here are some examples:
- Cantaloupe Smoothie
- Green Tea Smoothie
- Berry Smoothie
- Strawberry-Banana Smoothie with Tofu
- Avocado and Green Tea Smoothie
Smooth fruit purees and yogurts are also great as a snack.
But with just liquid, I’m going to be hungry all the time!?
Not necessarily. Just plan well and add protein sources to your smoothies or soups. Here are some ideas:
- Silken tofu
- Lentils, chickpeas or other legumes (make sure to remove the “lumps” when you use the blender)
- Soft or cottage cheese
- Yogurt (ideally plain, Greek or skyr for more protein)
- Nut and/or seed butters
Of course, this article gives you general rules of what is included in a liquid diet. Your case may be a little different, and you should always follow the instructions of your doctor or dietitian.
What to do after your liquid diet?
Unless you have a particular health condition, it is not recommended to follow a liquid diet for long periods of time (no more than a few days/weeks). In general, a liquid diet is lower in fiber than a “regular” diet. If you follow a liquid diet for several days, you will need to reintroduce fibers gradually, to avoid constipation. Indeed, too much fiber added at the same time can have the opposite effect of the one wanted, causing more constipation and discomfort (stomach ache, bloating, etc.). By adding fiber gradually, it gives the digestive system time to adapt and prevents unwanted effects.
To do this, you can add one more high fiber portion of food per day or every other day until returning to a regular high-fiber diet. To reintegrate fiber, you can also follow our “Constipation” menu in the reintroduction phase. With this menu, you’ll add a small amount of fiber into your diet every day for 3 weeks.
I hope this article has given you a helping hand! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.