What is the soft food diet?

An adult “soft food” diet is somewhat different from what a baby is served while growing and developing its digestive system. It is generally prepared manually, as adult “soft diet” food rarely comes prepackaged.


The purpose of a soft diet can be for varied reasons. Sometimes a person receiving the soft diet is convalescing, or without teeth. A soft diet is also needed when there has been oral surgery or a mouth injury.


In hospitals, convalescent and/or assisted-living homes, there are “mechanical” soft diets and “standard” soft food diets.


Mechanical soft food diets are those foods prepared with a blender on a pulse “chop” mode. This process chops precooked food to a fine texture. Standard soft diets are prepared by adding water to precooked food in a blender or food processor and setting the mode to “puree.”


With soft diets, the elderly without teeth or those too weak to chew and/or those suffering from mouth injuries can continue to enjoy nutritious meals. They can also manage to get most of the vitamin content from their meal if the food is not overcooked during the precooking process.


Many adults on a prolonged soft diet can have issues with diarrhea. This is due to the reduction of bulk when adding water to the precooked food during the pureeing or chopping process.


Margo Laverdure, CNA; Pacific Gardens; Portland, OR

Jackson Siegelbaum: Soft and Mechanical Soft Diet

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