Soft Diet

  • Reference Number: HEY-442/2016
  • Departments: Nutrition Support, Speech and Language


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about the food textures recommended by your Speech and Language Therapist (SLT).  Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your SLT, but may act as a starting point for discussion.   If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with your SLT.

Why do I need to eat a soft diet?

A Speech and Language Therapist will have assessed your swallowing.  As a result of their assessment they have recommended soft textured foods.

What are soft foods?

  • Dishes consisting of soft, tender and moist food that requires some chewing
  • Foods that could be mashed with a fork
  • Foods should be well cooked and moistened with a sauce or gravy

Foods to avoid:

  • Stringy, fibrous textures e.g. pineapple, runner beans, celery, lettuce
  • Vegetable skins, fruit skins and husks including e.g. broad beans, baked beans, peas, grapes, sweetcorn and granary bread
  • Mixed consistency foods e.g. cereals which do not blend with milk, mince with thin gravy, soup with lumps
  • Crunchy foods e.g. toast, flaky pastry, dry biscuits, crisps
  • Crumbly foods e.g. bread crusts, pie crusts, crumble, dry biscuits
  • Hard foods e.g. boiled and chewy sweets, nuts and seeds
  • Sticky foods e.g. cheese chunks, marshmallows

Some examples of suitable foods are listed below.  Please note, this is not a definitive list and you should read the section above, ‘What are soft foods’ to help you decide what is suitable. If you are still unsure, please discuss this with your Speech and Language Therapist.



Suitable Foods √

Unsuitable Foods  X


√ Porridge

√ Weetabix soaked in milk

√ Hot oat cereal

X Any other cereals


√ Flaky white fish in sauce

√ Tinned salmon/tuna with mayonnaise

√ Fish cakes/ fish pie (no crispy/cunchy coating/ topping

X Fish with bones

X Fried with a hard/crunchy outer coating


√ Soft meatballs in tomato sauce or gravy

√ Finely minced meat

√ Pate

√ Tender meat in gravy or sauce (no large or chewy pieces)

√ Corned beef

√ Tinned hotdog sausages

X Dry meat (e.g. BBQ, roast meats, steak)

X Sausages

X Bacon


√ Scrambled, soft boiled and poached


√ Soft lasagne

√ Macaroni cheese

√Spaghetti bolognaise

√ Pasta in sauce

X Crunchy top layer of pasta on lasagne


√ Macaroni cheese

√ Rice pudding

√ Custard


√ Soft sliced bread with soft moist sandwich fillings and the crusts removed eg:

  •  Egg mayonnaise
  • Jam and smooth spreads
  • Tuna mayonnaise
  •  Cheese and smooth pickle
  •  Pate
  •  Salmon mayonnaise
  •  Corned beef
X Crusty rolls/ multigrain bread

X Sandwiches with crunchy/chewy fillings eg

  •  Salad
  •  Dry meats
  •  Cucumber
  •  Tomato
  •  Crackers


√ Boiled or mashed potatoes

√ Jacket potato with no skin

√ Soft chips in sauce/gravy with no sharp or hard edges

√ Soft cooked cauliflower cheese

√ Soft cooked broccoli

√ Cheese and potato pie (no crust)

√ Well cooked, diced vegetables eg:

  • carrots
  • turnips/parsnips
  • swedes
X Crunchy baked potatoes/ roast potatoes

X Chips

X Peas and beans

X Lettuce and other salad items


√ Any fruit that has been stewed, pureed or mashed

√ Ripe melon

√ Peeled and cored ripe pear

√ Peeled and stoned peaches/ nectarines

√ Tinned peaches/ pears in syrup

√ Avocado

√ Ripe strawberries

X Grapes

X Crunchy apples

X Cherries

X Oranges and mandarins

X Any fruit with skin


√ Ice-cream (not suitable if you have been recommended to have thickened fluids)

√ Yoghurt, custard

√ Jelly

√ Mousse and rice pudding

√ Chocolate

√ Small pieces of sponge with custard or cream (if you are on thickened fluids check with SLT)

X Biscuits and cookies

X Crumbles

X Chocolate with nuts/ fruit

X Flaky pasteries

Dietary Advice

You may be referred to a dietitian if your overall food intake is poor; you have reduced appetite or have lost weight.  The dietitian will be able to give you tailored information and advice about your diet, and meal ideas.

Should you require any further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Speech and Language Therapy Department on telephone number (01482) 604331

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

* With kind thanks to the Speech and Language Therapy Department, North Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Trust, for giving permission for the SLT Department to base the contents of this leaflet on one that they have produced.

* Based on ‘Dysphagia Diet Food Texture Descriptors’.  April 2011.  Authored and endorsed by National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), British Dietetic Association (BDA), National Nurses Nutrition Group and Hospital Caterers Association.