Full Liquid Diet
A full liquid diet includes liquids or foods that are liquid at room temperature. Liquids are easier to swallow and digest than solid foods. A full liquid diet allows you to have a variety of liquids for better nutrition than limited liquid diets. This diet may be recommended:

  • To help prepare for a test or procedure
  • To help recover from a surgery
  • If you are having trouble swallowing or chewing
It is important to avoid solid foods to prevent inaccurate test results or delayed recovery.

Foods Allowed
You can eat anything that is liquid or liquid at room temperature for example:

  • Water
  • Milk, soy milk, eggnog
  • Fruit juices without pulp, strained vegetable juice
  • Sodas, tea or coffee
  • Plain ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, or popsicles
  • Yogurt without fruit pieces
  • Gelatin
  • Liquid supplement drinks or instant breakfast powders
  • Soup broths (cream soups can be strained but soups should not have solids)
  • Sugar, honey, and syrups
  • Butter, margarine, oil, cream, sour cream
  • Custard, pudding
Talk to your doctor or dietitian if some of the following may be allowed in limited amounts:

  • Cooked cereals
  • Strained meats—baby food
  • Potatoes pureed in soup
Foods to Avoid
Avoid any solid foods including:

  • Mashed foods like mashed potatoes
  • Raw or cooked vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Fruits (fresh or canned)
  • Meat or cereal not approved by your doctor or dietitian
  • Ice cream or other liquid foods with solids in them like nuts or chocolate pieces
Prolonged Diet
Most will only spend a short time on this diet. If this is a long-term diet, you may need to increase your calorie intake. Some steps to help increase your calories on a liquid diet:

  • Add breakfast powder to milk, pudding, custards, and milkshakes
  • Add strained meats (consistency of baby food) to broths—check with your doctor or dietitian before adding meat
  • Add butter or margarine to hot soups
  • Add sugar or syrup to beverages
You may also meet with a dietitian to plan meals for balanced nutrition while you are on this diet.

American Gastroenterological Association

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

Dietitians of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

Full Liquid Diet. Fairview Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.fairview.org/healthlibrary/Article/116747EN. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Full liquid diet. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/Pages/full-liquid-diet-facts.aspx. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Modified diet: Full Liquid Diet. University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health website. Available at: http:// http://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/B_EXTRANET_HEALTH_INFORMATION-FlexMember-Show_Public_HFFY_1125410056099.html. Updated November 12, 2012. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Last Reviewed November 2013

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