Learning About Full Liquid Diets

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Bowl of cream soup.

What is a full liquid diet?

A full liquid diet includes foods and drinks that will turn liquid if left at room temperature. This diet is often used for a short while. It can give your body many of the nutrients it needs, but it may be low in certain vitamins and minerals. It's also low in fiber.

Why is it used?

A full liquid diet is often used when you can't eat solid foods. For example, you may be preparing for a medical procedure or healing from one. Or you could have problems with your mouth or throat that make it hard to chew or swallow.

What foods can you have?

Here are some of the foods and drinks you can have on a full liquid diet.

Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you have food allergies or special diet needs. They can help you plan meals that work with your needs.

  • Water, ice cubes, and ice chips.
  • Drinks such as hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and soda.
  • Sports drinks and oral rehydration solutions.
  • Flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles.
  • Gelatin, such as Jell-O.
  • Cooked and thinned hot cereals, such as cream of wheat or grits.
  • Honey, sugar, and syrups.
  • Ice cream (without add-ins like nuts, fruit, or candy pieces), frozen yogurt, sherbet, and sorbet.
  • Milk, milkshakes, half and half, and cream.
  • Plant-based milk products, such as soy, almond or coconut.
  • Butter or margarine.
  • Liquid meal supplements, such as Ensure, Boost, or Glucerna.
  • Pudding and custard.
  • Vegetable and fruit juices.
  • Yogurt (without granola, nuts, seeds, or fruit).
  • Strained cream soups or broths (no solids).

What are some tips for eating well?

Here are some ways you can eat well on a full liquid diet.

  • Make sure you're having enough.

    You may need to eat and drink more often to get the calories and nutrients you need.

    You may need to choose higher calorie liquids to help maintain your weight. These may include liquid meal replacement drinks and full-fat dairy products, such as milk, ice cream, and butter.

  • Choose what you like.

    Ask your dietitian if you're not sure if you can have a certain food or drink.

  • Change the flavors.

    See what flavor options you have. Pick what you like, or try something new.

  • Add variety.

    There are many sweet liquid options. Try also having something savory, like soup and broth. Changing between hot and cold liquids can help keep things interesting.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.