Diet & Nutrition

Diet & Nutrition

 This diet provides fluids that leaves little residue and are easily absorbed with minimal digestive activity. This diet is adequate in all essential nutrients and is recommended only if clear liquids are temporarily needed. No red or purple liquids should be consumed! 

Food GroupFoods AllowedFoods to Avoid
Milk & Beverages No bright red or dark purple liquidsCoffee, tea (decaffeinated or regular), carbonated beverages, fruit flavored drinksMilk, milk drinks
Meats & Meat substitutesNONEALL
Fruits & Fruit juicesStrained fruit juices: apple, white grape, lemonade, Gatorade, crystal light, soda, water, ice teaAll fruit and fruit juices with unstrained fruit
Grains & StarchesNONEALL
Soups (no noodles, rice, veggies, meat)Clear broth, consomméAll others
DessertsClear flavored gelatin, popsicles, Italian ices (no bright reds or dark purple flavors)All others
MiscellaneousSugar, honey, syrup, clear hard candy, saltAll others

Purpose: The bland or soft diet is designed to decrease peristalsis and avoid irritation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Use: It is appropriate for people with peptic ulcer disease, chronic gastritis, reflux esophagitis or dyspepsia. It may also be used in the treatment of hiatal hernia.

The soft/ bland diet consists of foods that are easily digestible, mildly seasoned and tender. Fried foods, highly seasoned foods and most raw gas-forming fruits and vegetables are eliminated. Drinks containing Xanthine and alcohol should also be avoided.

Food RecommendedFoods to Avoid
MILK & DAIRY (2-3 servings each day)MILK & DAIRY
All milk and milk productsNone
Plain mild cheeses
Cottage cheese
VEGETABLES 3-5 servings each dayVEGETABLES
Mild flavored vegetable juicesRaw vegetables, dried peas and beans, corn
Cooked, frozen or canned vegetables as tolerated (asparagus tips, beets, carrots, green or waxed beans, mushrooms, pumpkin, green peas, white or sweet potato, spinach, summer or winter squashes)Gas forming vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, cauliflower, cucumber, green pepper, corn, rutabagas, turnips and sauerkraut
Lettuce in small amounts
Salads made from allowed foods
FRUIT (2-4 servings each day)FRUIT
All fruit juicesAll other fresh and dried fruit
Cooked or canned fruit without skins, seeds, or tough fibersBerries and figs
Avocados and bananas
Grapefruit and orange sections without membrane
White, refined wheat, seedless rye breads. Plain white rolls, white melba toast, matzo, English muffin, bagel, pita bread, tortillaSeeds in or on breads, and crackers
Saltine, graham, soda or plain crackersBread or bread products with nuts or dried fruit
Cooked, refined cereals such as cream or wheat, oatmeal, farina, cream of rice. Dry corn and rice cereals such as puffed rice or corn flakesPotato chips, fried potatoes, wild rice
Enriched rice, barley, noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, and other pastas
All lean, tender meats, poultry, fish and shellfishHighly seasoned, cured, or smoked meats, poultry, or fish. Corned beef, luncheon meats, frankfurters, sausages, sardines, anchovies, strongly flavored cheeses and chunky peanut butter are to be avoided.
Eggs, crisp bacon
Smooth nut butters
Soybean curd (Tofu) and other meat substitutes
Mildly seasoned meat stock, broth bouillon, or cream soups made with allowed foods
FATS & SNACKS (use sparingly)FATS & SNACKS
Butter or fortified margarineHighly seasoned salad dressings with seeds or pickle relish
Mild salad dressing such as mayonnaise, French or vinegar and oil All fats and oilsAll sweets and deserts containing nuts, coconut or fruit not allowed
Sugar, syrup, honey, jelly seedless jam, hard candies, plain chocolate candies, molasses, marshmallowsFried pastries such as doughnuts
Cakes, cookies, pies, pudding, custard, ice cream sherbet, and Jell-O made with allowed foods
All beverages as toleratedCaffeine-containing beverages (coffee, tea, colas, orange soda, Dr Pepper)
Herb teas, fruit drinksAlcoholic beverages
Iodized salt, flavoringsStrongly flavored seasonings and condiments such as garlic, barbecue sauce, chili sauce, chili pepper, horseradish, pepper, chili, powder and other highly spiced foods
Seedless jams, taffy, sugar, honey, jellyPickles, seed spices, olives, popcorn, nuts and coconut
Marshmallows, molassesAspirin and aspirin-containing medicines
Mildly flavored gravies and sauces
Pepper, herbs, spices, ketchup, mustard and vinegar in moderation

A low fiber or low residue diet limits the consumption of dietary fiber, oftentimes by placing restrictions on foods found to have high amounts, including certain fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole-grain products. This diet reduces stool size and frequency, particularly helping those suffering from flare-ups caused by Inflammatory Bowel Disease as it relieves the intestines from working as hard.

Low Fiber-Low Residue Diet (4-10 Grams Fiber)

Dietary fiber is the undigestible part of plants that maintains the structure of the plant. Dietary fiber includes cellulose, hemicel­lulose, polysaccharides, pectins, gums, mucilages, and lignins. Although they are chemically unrelated, they all resist digestion by the human body. It is this resistance that makes these fibers important in both the nor­mal functioning and in disorders of the large intestine or colon.

In certain medical conditions, it is important to restrict fiber. These include acute or subacute diverticulitis and the acute phas­es of certain inflammatory condi­tions of the bowel-ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. After some types of intestinal surgery, a low fiber, low residue diet may be used as a transition to a regular diet. A low-fiber diet may also be used for a period of time after a colostomy or ileostomy is performed.

Nutrition Facts

Depending upon individual food selection, the Low Fiber, Low Residue Diet is adequate in all nutrients (National Research Council’s Recommended Dietary Allowance). If the diet must be strict and followed over a long period of time, the intake of fruits and vegetables may not be adequate, and/or on a low residue diet, there may not be enough calcium included. In these cases, a multivitamin supplement or liquid nutritional supplement may be needed.

Special Considerations

If a low fiber or low residue diet results in abdominal cramps or discomfort, notify the dietitian or physician immediately.

Group Recommend Avoid
Milk & milk products (2 or more cups daily) all milk products Low Residue Diet only 2 cups daily of all milk products
Vegetables (2 servings daily) 1 serving = 1/2 cup vegetable juice without pulp; the following cooked vegetables: yellow squash (without seeds), green beans, wax beans, spinach, pumpkin, eggplant, potatoes without skin, asparagus, beets, carrots; tomato sauce and paste vegetable juices with pulp, raw vegetables, cooked vegetables not on Recommend list
Fruits (2-3 servings daily) 1 serving = 1/2 cup fruit-juices without pulp, canned fruit except pineapple, ripe bananas, melons, peeled and cooked apples, orange and grapefruit without the membrane fruit-juices with pulp, canned pineapple, fresh fruit except those on Recommend list, prunes, prune juice, dried fruit, jam, marmalade
Starches-Bread & Grains (4 or more servings daily) bread and cereals mode from refined flours, pasta, white rice, saltines, tapioca whole-grain breads, cereals, rice, pasta; bran cereal; oatmeal
Meat & meat substitutes (5 to 6 oz daily) meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, cottage cheese, other mildly flavored cheeses chunky peanut butter, nuts, seeds, dried beans, dried peas, tough gristly meats, hot dogs, sausage, sardines, fried meats, strongly flavored cheeses
Fats & oils all oils, margarine, butter coconut, fats used for deep frying
Sweets & desserts (servings depend on caloric needs) all not on avoid list desserts containing nuts, coconut, raisins, seeds
Miscellaneous all not on avoid list popcorn, pickles, horseradish, relish

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Diet (GERD)

Symptoms associated with acid reflux or GERD can be caused by a number of factors, including certain foods that may cause the lower esophageal muscle to relax, causing GERD. A diet designed to prevent or reduce acid reflux is usually easy to follow. The basic food groups of cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meats can be eaten with only a few limitations.

The following recommendations may be helpful in reducing symptoms:

  • Stop using tobacco in all forms. Nicotine weakens still lower esophageal muscle.
  • Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowed air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux.
  • Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks or large meals.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing and bending over after eating.
  • Eat small, frequent portions of food and snacks if needed.
  • Lose weight if overweight. Obesity leads to increased reflux.
  • Elevate the head of the bed 6 to 8 inches to prevent reflux while sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.

The following foods aggravate acid reflux and should be avoided:

  • fatty or fried foods
  • whole milk
  • chocolates
  • oils
  • peppermint and spearmint creamed foods or soups
  • most fast foods

The following foods irritate an inflamed lower esophagus and may need to be limited or avoided:

  • citrus fruit and juices
  • alcohol
  • caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.

Spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals and may need to be avoided.

Reflux Diet

Foods that contribute to gas production


Most beans, especially dried beans and peas, baked beans, soybeans, lima beans

Milk, milk products

Milk, ice cream, and cheese


Cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, sauerkraut, kohlrabi, asparagus

Root Vegetables

Potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, radishes, onions


Prunes, apricots, apples, raisins, bananas

Fatty Foods

Pan-fried or deep-fried foods, fatty meats, rich cream sauces and gravies, pastries (white fatty foods are not carbohydrates, they too can contribute to intestinal gas)


Carbonated beverages, certain medications

Various functions along the path of digestion contribute to the production of gas and flatulence. A certain degree of gas or flatulence is normal. However, there are many factors which can contribute to excess gas and flatulence. Following simple diet and lifestyle changes can help to reduce gastrointestinal gas and relieve symptoms.

It is recommended that foods which contribute to gas production, such as legumes, milk and milk products, certain vegetables, root vegetables, certain fruits, wheat-based cereals and breads, fatty foods, and carbonated beverages be avoided.

It can also be helpful to eat slowly and avoid the following:

  • smoking pipes, cigarettes, or cigars
  • chewing gum or hard candy
  • sipping through narrow straws or bottles
  • deliberately swallowing air to force a belch

As part of a regular healthy diet, it is recommended that of the total calories eaten, no more than 30% should come from fat. However, certain diseases and medical conditions can make it difficult for the body to tolerate even that much fat, and a low-fat diet may be recommended.

Following a low-fat diet can be helpful for many different diseases such as gallbladder disease, delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis), diarrhea, and fatty liver disease.

In general, it is advised that all visible fat be trimmed from meats. All foods, including meat and fish, should be baked, steamed, or broiled rather than fried.

Group Recommend Avoid
Sweets & Desserts (servings depend on caloric needs) Sherbet made with skim milk, non-fat frozen yogurt, fruit ice, gelatin, angel food cake, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, graham crackers, meringues, puddings made with skim milk, tapioca, fat-free cakes and cookies, fruit whips made with gelatin or egg whites, hard candy, jelly beans, jams, marmalades, maple syrup Ice cream, pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, doughnuts, pudding made with whole milk, cream puffs, turnovers, chocolate
Fats & Oils (3 servings daily, each listed is one serving) Avocado 2 Tbsp or 1/8 medium, margarine 1 tsp, diet margarine 2 tsp, salad dressing 1 tbsp, diet salad dressing 2 Tbsp, vegetable oils 1 tsp, nuts (raw or dry roasted): almonds 6, peanuts 20 small or 10 large, whole walnuts 2, whole pistachios 18, sesame seeds 1 tbsp, sunflower seeds 1 Tbsp, saturated fats: bacon 1 strip, butter 1 tsp, dried coconut 2 Tbsp, cream cheese 1 Tbsp, sour cream 2 Tbsp, other fats: olive oil 1 tsp, peanut oil 1 tsp, large olives 10, peanut butter 2 tsp Any fat in excess
Milk & milk products (2 or more servings daily) Skim milk, evaporated skim milk, skim buttermilk, nonfat sour cream, yogurt made with skim milk (3 gms fat or less/oz, maximum of 3 oz/day), fat-free cheeses, low-fat cottage cheese, part-skim mozzarella cheese, part skim or skim ricotta cheese Whole milk, cream, sour cream, non-dairy creamers, whole milk cheese, cheese spreads
Bread & grains (4 or more servings daily) Whole grain and enriched breads, cold cereal, whole grain cereals (except granola), saltines, soda crackers, low-fat snack crackers, rice cakes, unbuttered popcorn, low-fat muffins, plain pasta, barley, oatmeal, home-made pancakes without fat, French toast made with egg substitute and skim milk Breads containing egg, cheese, or made with fat, biscuits, sweet rolls, pancakes, French toast, doughnuts., waffles, fritters, muffins, granola type cereals, snack crackers, potato chips, packaged stuffing, fried rice, chow mein noodles
Vegetable (3 or more servings daily) All vegetables (steamed, raw, boiled, or baked (without added fat) Fried vegetables or those in ice cream, cheese, butter sauces, dips
Fruits (2 or more servings daily) All other fruits Avocado
Meat & meat substiture (5 to 6 oz daily) Poultry (without skin), veal, lean ground beef trimmed of fat (USDA good or choice cuts of round sirloin, flank, and tenderloin), fresh, canned, cured, or boiled ham, Canadian bacon, lean port (tenderloin, chops, cutlet), fish (fresh, frozen, canned in water), eggs (boiled, scrambled without added fat), luncheon meat at least 95% fat free Any fried, fatty, or heavily marbled meat, fish, or poultry, beef (USDA prime cuts, ribs, ground beef, corned beef), pork (spareribs, ham hocks), fish (canned in oil), eggs (fried in butter, oil, or margarine), luncheon meat less than 95% fat free
Beverages (4 to 6 cups or more daily) Decaffeinated or regular coffee or tea, cocoa made with skim milk, fruit juices, soft drinks, water Beverages made with high fat dairy products
Soups Fat-free broths, consommés, bouillon, soups made with fat-free broth, skim milk, evaporated skim milk Cream soups, soups with added oils or meat fats, soups made from stocks containing meat fat