Digestive Health Print Being Healthy While on a Puréed Diet By Shereen Lehman, MS | Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician | Updated June 25, 2019 Angela Coppola/Getty Images More in Digestive Health Daily Care Bloating & Gas Exams & Procedures Celiac Disease Constipation Diarrhea Inflammatory Bowel Disease Irritable Bowel Syndrome More Digestive Diseases Peptic Ulcer Disease Heartburn SIBO Gallbladder Disease Hemorrhoids View All There may be times when a health concern or injury prevents you from eating solid foods. It may not require a full liquid diet but rather something that provides you relief if you are unable to chew or digest normally. In instances like these, you may be advised to eat a puréed diet which offers more in the way of fiber and balanced nutrients. And, unlike a liquid diet, you can remain on a puréed diet for a longer period of time. While a puréed diet shouldn't replace a normal diet (except for certain elderly people in long-term care), it can be safe and beneficial as long as you meet your daily nutritional goals as outlined in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Indications There can be many reasons why you would need a puréed diet. In some cases, it may act as a bridge between a liquid diet and a normal diet as you recover from an illness or surgery. In others, it may be a long-term solution for people who, for any number of reasons, cannot tolerate solid foods. Some of the more common causes include: Dental surgery Jaw injury or surgeryDifficulty eating due to a stroke or Parkinson diseaseSwallowing problems (dysphagia) caused by neurological or digestive disordersInfection, injury, or ulceration of the mouth, throat, or esophagusGastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)Bariatric surgery used to treat obesityElderly care Dietary Goals The dietary goals for a puréed diet are no different than that for a regular diet. With that being said, it can be tricky getting the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and nutrients if you are accustomed to a standard meat-and-potatoes routine. For a puréed diet to succeed, food needs to be soft enough so that the tongue can pass it to the back of the throat without chewing. It should also be palatable and homogenous—the consistency of pudding or baby food—so that it places little stress on the digestive tract and doesn't get snagged on sores, ulcers, or surgical wounds. Because the recommended daily nutritional needs can vary from person to person, it is important to consult with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist to establish your personal goals and needs. In general, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services currently recommends the following dietary goals for adult women and men over 18: Women 19-30 Men 19-30 Women 31-50 Men 31-50 Women 50+ Men 50+ Calories 2.,000 2,400-3,000 1,800 2,200 1,600 2,000 Protein (grams) 46 56 46 56 46 56 Carbohydrate (grams) 130 130 130 130 130 130 Dietary Fiber (grams) 28 33.6 25.2 30.8 22.4 28 Total fat(% calories) 20-35 20-35 20-35 20-35 20-35 20-35 Saturated fat(% calories) Under 10 Under 10 Under 10 Under 10 Under 10 Under 10 The major challenge, of course, is finding the appropriate food sources to meet these goals. This includes finding alternative proteins and insoluble fiber sources to replace meats, vegetables, and whole grains unsuitable for a puréed diet. Foods for a Puréed Diet As long as you have a good blender, a puréed diet is easy to follow. Almost any food that is soft (or can be cooked soft) will do. Always start by puréeing the hardest foods (like meat) first. You can then add the softer base ingredients and further thin the purée with broth, milk, soy milk, fruit juice, vegetable juice, or water. For a smoother consistency, press the purée through a strainer with a rubber spatula or spoon. When planning a meal, the best approach is to find a smooth, relatively neutral base to which you can add other base flavors, such as meat, fruit, or sauces. These include: Baby oatmealCooked farina or semolina (polenta)Cream of wheat or cream of ricePlain yogurtPotato or potato flakes Pudding or custardPuréed avocadoPuréed bananaPuréed carrotsPuréed cottage cheese (low-fat)Puréed cauliflowerPuréed orange squashRicotta cheese (low-fat)Scrambled eggs or egg substituteStrained cream soupWhite bread soaked in milk (without crust) Avoid anything especially fibrous or seedy unless you can strain the fibers and seeds out. Further round out the flavor and consistency of the purée by adding mayonnaise, sauce, or gravy. Protein Sources In terms of suitable protein sources, some people will rely on commercial protein powders and shakes found in drug, health food, and grocery stores. While excellent for short-term use, these should never be used on an ongoing basis as your primary protein source. Whenever possible, focus on real food sources including canned tuna, canned chicken, canned spiced ham (Spam), soft tofu, shrimp, smooth peanut butter, hummus, fish paste, low-fat refried beans, smoked salmon, and imitation crab sticks (found in Asian food markets). If choosing fresh meat, always go for leaner cuts with less sinew or fibrous tissue. While meat, poultry, and fish can often be unsavory when puréed, you can make them more palatable by pairing them with the appropriate base. For example: Make an Asian-style congee by slow cooking rice with ginger, canned chicken, and chicken broth until soft and easily puréed.Purée refried beans, cornbread, canned chicken, and Mexican seasoning and serve with a little puréed salsa, guacamole, and sour cream on the side.Cook canned tuna, chicken stock, peeled potatoes, celery, and onion until soft and then purée and strain for a chowder-like soup. Thin with milk as needed.Make extra-soft polenta by stirring in fresh ricotta and a little cream or broth. Then make a quick puttanesca sauce by stirring anchovy paste into a storebought marinara.Make puréed meat more appealing by stirring in gravy or barbecue sauce and serving it alongside a mash made of equal parts potato and cauliflower.Purée a cold hard-boiled egg with a little smoked salmon, dill, and mayonnaise. In addition to storebought puddings and ice cream, high-protein smoothies are an excellent complement to any puréed diet. Sample Menu If you are on a 2,000 to 2,400 per day diet, a puréed food menu might look something like this: Breakfast Fruit juice without pulpPuréed bananaCooked cereal with milkLowfat MilkCoffee or tea Morning Snack Yogurt with honey or a protein shake Lunch Puréed or strained soupPuréed tuna and white bean saladFruit purée with custardTea Afternoon Snack Storebought baba ganoush with strained tzatziki Dinner Puréed or strained soupPuréed meat and gravyPuréed potato and cauliflower mashPuréed green beans or spinachApplesauce Evening Snack Vanilla pudding cup To get a more exact nutritional count, you can input the individual ingredients of your meal into this handy online nutritional calculator. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Gas pain? Stool issues? Sign up for the best tips to take care of your stomach. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2015) 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Washington, D.C.: Department of Health and Human Services. 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