Soft Food Ideas

last month

Sweet Sister had oral surgery today, a bone transplant. For 4 weeks, she must have only soft, textureless food. Nothing with bits that can get into the incision. For 8 weeks, she cannot have anything with any crunch to it. And no sucking on a straw!

I am making Butternut Squash and Bourbon Bisque to take to her later in the week. I’ll run it through a strainer to make sure it is smooth. What else can I make? Everything I think of has some component that gives it flavor but also runs afoul of the texture prohibition.

Bless her heart, she loves crunchy food. As a child, she liked Nabisco Shredded Wheat - not the frosted minis, but those big pillows that look that tumbleweed!

Comments (49)

  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    Run refried beans through a sieve to be sure there are no bean skins then mix with seasonings and a cheese sauce? At least there would be some protein.

    Not a meal, but for a dessert puree some strawberries, strain the seeds out and serve with a Creme Anglaise? (That's one of my favorite dessert sauces. Although it's not exactly diet-friendly if that's an issue.)

    bbstx thanked ediej1209 AL Zn 7
  • bbstx

    @ediej1209 AL Zn 7, Thanks for the suggestions!

    I thought about making her cheesecake without the crust. The strawberry puree would work great for that. I made raspberry couli once to go with a coeur a la creme. It took me forever to strain that sauce!

    And your creme Anglaise reminds me of a Paul Prudhomme recipe. I don’t recall the name, but basically, you cook a can of Eagle Brand condensed milk in a pie plate in a Bain Marie at 425 for an hour and a half. Talk about rich! You need whipped cream to cut the sweetness!

    She might like refried beans. She likes white bean and ham soup. Wonder if I could make a ham broth (cook a ham bone in water), strain it. Cook the beans (and maybe onions) in the ham broth. Then purée and strain. My problem is I don’t like beans so I never think in that direction.

    She’s pretty slender as it is. I think this diet of “swallow” food is going to get so boring she may lose weight. And she really isn’t much of a sweets eater.

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  • Fun2BHere

    I would suggest making any soups you like and pureeing them smooth and straining them. That way she could get some protein and flavor without any texture. For cold food, you could make smoothies the same way. Four weeks is a long time to subsist on soup, pudding and smoothies. though.

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  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    I make caramel with Eagle Brand S.C.M. It is very very thick and sweet. Fabulous with vanilla ice cream and salted cashews! I make it by peeling the label off the can, submerging in a relatively narrow tall pot with enough water to cover the can by at least 1", cover, bring just to a boil then reduce the heat to keep a slow simmer. At the same time I put a separate pan of water to simmer. Can has to simmer 3 hours and you have to keep an eye on the water level and add some simmering water from the other pot as needed. After 3 hours, carefully lift can from pot, put on a cooling rack. Let get room temperature before opening the can and diving into the decadence!

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  • lizbeth-gardener

    Given the requirements and a four week time period, I would invest in a VitaMix, if you don't already own one. You can make almost anything soft and smooth and it makes it much easier to incorporate meats in her meals and have savory food, rather than just sweets.

    If not, some ideas: Carnation Instant Breakfast and add protein powder, potato soup, tomato soup, mashed potatoes, malts, ice cream, pudding, plain yogurt (greek or not), cream of wheat cereal and applesauce. You also might want to purchase a liquid nutritional drink such as Ensure.

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  • plllog

    I will say, soft isn't soft enough. If it even looks like it could be chewed, it's too rough, especially for the first coulpe of weeks. Texture is the enemy. Nice, thick pureed soups and really tasty clear soups are the easiest way to pack in a bunch of nutrition and still have it look and taste like food. Anything that looks like baby food will be really hard to choke down, even if it tastes okay. Some goos can be frozen and sucked on, once cleared by the doctor, and are good sells as flavored ice cubes to suck on (though should be round rather than sharp edged--and no biting!). The inner sponge of soft, tasty breads, the kind that dissolve when sucked on, could be okay after a few days. Add a drop of jelly. Chocolate or nutella may be okay, and a nice treat. Yoghurt, fresh or frozen, is good, but no lumps. Bone broth is now available at grocery store if you don't have the oomph to make it (slow cooker helps). Very tasty and nutritious. Overcooked pasta, even mac and cheese, makes a good starch that looks bumpy but is just goo. You can puree flavor bombs, like sautéed mushrooms or caramelized onions, and mix them into stiff mashed potatoes, again, illusion of texture, and real flavor. Soft cheeses can pack a lot of flavor, and give the illusion of chewing. All the best to her for a speedy recovey.

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  • localeater

    When I was pregnant with DS1 I couldn’t chew, it was my body’s tweak on morning sickness. Get her protein powder and bananas.

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  • maire_cate

    If she opts for a nutritional beverage try Ensure - it has more nutritional balance and protein than Instant Breakfast - there's even a light version.

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  • tigereye

    "Magic Mineral Broth" Basically a vegetable stock. I made this for my MIL when she was sick and couldn't eat. I loved it. since you cook quartered vegetables and then strain them out, there isn't any texture.

    bbstx thanked tigereye
  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Yeah a vitacost mixer will pulverize anything. My concern would be getting in enough protein so protein powders might be a good option to make smoothies that can be strained. I used to make them with kale too so she can get some fiber and good vitamins from greens.

    So sorry she's going through this...not fun...I hope the 4 weeks go quickly for her.

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  • Bluebell66

    How about something simple like Greek yogurt? It’s filling and has good protein. I’d get the full fat stuff. You could mix in some fruit purée. I like it with cinnamon.

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  • smiling

    I second the suggestion to get a VitaMix. Nothing else I've used gives the same silky texture you need to make for her, and it's powerful enough to give you a very wide range of choices as the weeks of recovery go by.

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  • vc01

    Whipped silken tofu? Put it in the blender to whip it. Perhaps with freeze-dried fruit powder for a sweeter taste or with garlic-infused olive oil for a more savory taste. Puree until totally smooth and creamy.

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  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

    Tofu recipes

    porridge recipes

    Many soft flesh fish such as flounder require no chewing.

    Sous vide soft boiled eggs.


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  • Lars

    For protein drink, I have Pure Protein Shakes, as recommended by my dietician. You can buy them at Trader Joe's, but I order cases of 24 at a time on line.

    For protein powders, I buy 100% whey (unflavored) and pea protein, which you can probably find at the drug store, although some have better inventory than others. Trader Joe's also has protein powders.

    Pretty much anything can be puréed in a Vitamix, and you can make any vegetable into a soup, many of which are good cold. I like avocado soup, which is made with avocados, chicken broth, and lime juice. You can add yogurt to it as well. This soup is always cold. I think you could make a puréed version of gazpacho and minestrone as well.

    Scrambled eggs are soft, and may work.

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  • bbstx

    You have given me many many good ideas. I love my sister beyond measure, but not enough to buy a VitaMix 😂. I’ll see if any of my cooking group has one they’ll let me borrow and I’ll suggest that SS (sweet sister) buy her own.

    I’m going to make and freeze a few things for her. I had not thought of clear broths. Duh! Thanks for reminding me. I’ll also pass along to her your many wonderful ideas. SS is very good about following instructions to.the.letter.

    @vc01, where does one purchase freeze-dried fruit powder?

    @ediej1209 AL Zn 7, I’ve read about cooking the whole can of Eagle Brand like you outlined. I’ve always been afraid of forgetting about it and having it explode!

    I’m intrigued by the Magic Mineral Broth. I have the same problem with it that I have with Ina Garten’s chicken broth recipe. I cringe at the idea of all those vegetable skins and roots going into the pot. The unpeeled veggies I can scrub fairly well, but I can never get the roots clean enough to make me happy.

  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    bbstx, I'm with you on the roots.

    Here is the link to a recipe for Beef Consomme´

    For a clear broth it sounds rather tasty but is a bit "fussy" to make.

    bbstx thanked ediej1209 AL Zn 7
  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

    I trim my root veg ends for stock. I'll toss in all things else like leek tops, parsley stems, etc. That tiny root end does not add much and often filthy looking. I don't bother peeling, just a scrub.

    I was going to suggest borrowing a good blender or stick blender. I have a Breville that was under a hundred and still have my vintage braun. But my commercial blender is so powerful I use it a few times a week. Easier and easy to clean. Fast.

    My soup photo file has maybe 10 dozen soups, half of those are pureed. I always garnish with something nutty or crunchy but obviously not necessary.

    With a blender you could 'piggy-back' and make 5-6 soup varieties in the time it takes to make one. 2 sheet pan trays of mixed roasted veggies, some good stock, cooked grains, beans, cheese, Handful of bagged frozen spinach or corn.

    I make so many freezer meals for my parents that I'll blender a few like a corn chowder...toss in a chunk of parsnip, sweet potato, celery, garlic....with bone/veg or chicken broth, then switch to a roasted tomato/veg blend. Etc. Leek/cauliflower/ need to clean the blender. It is all veg.

    We don't care for thick soups so mine are silky brothy.

    Link, HERE for ideas

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  • tigereye

    Just trim the roots off, or even peel. The skins are supposed to have more vitamins, but it would taste the same if peeled (sure makes it quicker). Don't leave out the kombu. it does add something needed for taste. I got mine from our Oriental Market, but they also have it at Whole Foods.

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  • party_music50

    You'd think that dentists/doctors should be able to provide a list....

    I've seen all kinds of fruit powder at

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  • cawaps

    I make a pureed chili-lime black bean soup. Vichyssoise is classic.

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  • vc01

    Freeze-dried fruit is available at grocery stores and online. You can easily crush it with your fingers or a spoon to turn it into a very fine powder, which then dissolves into smoothies, batters, etc. I love strawberry and raspberry for that. It really packs a punch in terms of taste (more than an equivalent amount of fresh fruit). And another nice thing is that it has loads of dietary fiber, like the fruit it is made from.

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  • tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM


    If you want to do the caramel with the sweetened condensed milk, it can be done in a crockpot. I personally like to open the can, pour into a mason jar, secure a lid and then cover the whole shebang with water. The added bonus of this is being able to see the color so I can choose if I want it to be darker or not.

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  • mtnrdredux_gw

    What about a savory egg custard? (pudding consistency).

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  • bbstx

    FaceTimed with SS. She is bruised and swollen. Her pain is controllable and she isn’t hungry. She was drinking a protein shake when we talked. Pretty much she cannot eat anything that could get between her lower lip and her gums. She cannot touch that area with finger, tongue, or toothbrush.

    The oral surgeon did provide a list of dos and don’ts, but it certainly did not include suggested foods. Y’all have done an excellent job of that. She added that she cannot have HOT food. It has to be in the lukewarm or cool range.

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

    So sorry. My condolences for a healthy speedy recovery.

    Some uncomfortable throbbing pain is usually a day or two away. No appetite makes sense. I recall an odd 'acrid' taste where nothing really tastes good.

    Hot temp, cold temp, acidic, spicy, or overly sweet can be an irritant.

    Protein type smoothies might be the ticket for a few days.

    bbstx thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • Olychick

    Canned pumpkin in soups or custard (pie without the crust). I'd also look at baby food purees...the fruit is delicious and probably some of the other choices are, too.

    bbstx thanked Olychick
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    I made a lot of pureed soup when I had an oral tissue transplant (much the same restrictions, although not quite as long IIRC). I was forbidden tomato, vinegar, sodas and lemonade also.

    I have a Nutribullet and it did the job. I would cook vegetables (couldn't use the most fibrous ones like kale), and puree them in a broth or cream soup. Added pureed baby food meat, or cottage cheese, or other soft cheese, or unflavored protein powder, or tofu for protein. Pureeing does change the taste of meat and fish, but in a soup I didn't notice. Fortunately I am a real soup lover and didn't really get tired of it.

    For breakfasts it was usually yogurt based smoothies, with mild seedless fruit and protein powder.

    bbstx thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • bbstx

    I know carbonated beverages are out. She didn’t mention acidic things, but we were just chatting, not really going through a list. I am the soup hound in the family. She likes it but wants it steaming hot. However, if she can’t have it steaming hot, she won’t. She’s a very compliant patient.

  • tigereye

    I love this mushroom soup recipe. It calls for keeping some mushrooms in chunks, but you could just puree them all.

    bbstx thanked tigereye
  • plllog

    Soups should be boiled just to kill transient bacteria, but most soups are good when cooled to body temperature.

    Re lists, it's good that they don't provide them. IME, most dieticians are good at choosing what might be good for you, not what's tempting. Having a sore mouth and no chewing is a real appetite killer. The first few days, your sister will be beat up enough that just making sure she gets enough calories and water in her is sufficient. As she heals, and feels better, is where flavor becomes vital. Seasoning, herbs, aromatics, etc. are massively important, but have to be flavors she likes. Definitely not a one recipe fits all situation.

    More on flavor: Demi glace. The stores right near me don't carry it, but the butcher at the snooty independent grocery six miles away has a bunch of varieties in single use and full on jar sizes right on top of the display case. Demi-glace is the surest short cut to massive meat flavor, and there's a vegetable one too. You can make your own, of course, but that's a real chore.

    bbstx thanked plllog
  • jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

    mashed potatoes, applesauce, cream of wheat, oatmeal (not steel cut).

    bbstx thanked jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)
  • pricklypearcactus

    Soups blended in high quality blender until smooth





    fruit smoothies well blended with extra liquid so no straw needed

    protein shakes - Bolthouse farm are yummy and high protein and calorie


    pureed well cooked winter squash (butternut, etc)

    bbstx thanked pricklypearcactus
  • mtnrdredux_gw

    This is what I meant by a savory custard. Somewhat quiche like. It was an element of an appetizer at a fave restaurant of ours in Maine. Like quiche, it'd be fine room temp.

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  • Angela Id

    I LOVE those "big pillows that look that (sic) tumbleweed!"

    A comfort food, from childhood, when I don't feel good: Boil a small pot of water, put the Shredded Wheat biscuit on a slotted spoon, dip it in the boiling water for a second, drain, slide it into a bowl, put a pat of butter on top, slide an over easy egg on top, break the yolk over everything, salt and eat!

    bbstx thanked Angela Id
  • sealavender

    I will be having oral surgery later this month, so I have been thinking about cold/room temperature soft foods. This is what I have thought of so far:

    -mango lassi (yogurt, mango, milk or soymilk, maybe honey, maybe ice cubes) in the blender. Use spoon if necessary.

    -plain yogurt or small curd cottage cheese with salsa (have to ask about tomato and spice, had not thought of that)

    -flan, or that kind of custard

    -ice cream!!

    -smooth peanut or almond butter

    -I do have a recipe for a coffee jello-type gelatine dessert if you'd like it. Whipped cream optional.

    -hummus and/or baba ganoush

    -baked sweet potatoes

    bbstx thanked sealavender
  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    I'll suggest Premier Protein shakes as an ideal addition to any diet. They taste great, are low on carbs and sugars. I keep a selection on the fridge at all times just to add a protein source to my mostly veggie diet as I just can't get excited about any meats or seafood placed in front of me these days. I find this product at my grocery stores and WalMart, as well as on line.

    I also extoll the benefits of a NutriBullet for easy and thorough pulverizing. A real taste treat is to toss a few frozen fruits (no seeds) into my Bullet and use a vanilla Premier Shake as the liquid. Frozen peach, pineapple, mango, and banana.....hello!

    Premier Protein

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  • sheilajoyce_gw

    Poached eggs but no toast. Soft boiled eggs. Soft serve ice cream, but not too cold.

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  • bbstx

    Y’all are the best. I’m overwhelmed by all of the good ideas and tips!

    @sealavender, yes, please may I have the recipe for the coffee gelatin dessert.

    @Angela Id, I think my sister just allowed her tumbleweed to soak in milk for a few minutes, then put sugar on it, like we did all cereal. Interesting how you handle yours.

    While SS and I were chatting this morning, she commented that she is avoiding garlic. It is primarily because she cannot thoroughly brush her teeth. I’m glad she mentioned it before I started the Butternut Squash Soup. It calls for 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic! I’m omitting it. I may add extra cumin or ginger to make up for the garlic deficit.

  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    bbstx, I can't have garlic and look constantly for ways to flavor food without it. Ginger in the butternut soup should be really good. And has the added benefit if she is having any nausea issues, ginger is good for that also.

    bbstx thanked ediej1209 AL Zn 7
  • sealavender

    The "coffee jello" recipe:

    1 - 1 1/2 packets unflavored gelatin

    2 tablespoons warm water

    2 cups strong freshly brewed coffee

    3-4 tablespoons (or to taste) sugar or simple syrup

    Sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, ice cream, or half and half

    Soften gelatin in 2 T of warm water in bowl. Add hot coffee, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Pour 1/4 of mixture into each of 4 dessert glasses. Refrigerate until set. Serve topped with sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, ice cream, or half and half.

    Variation using instant coffee: Follow recipe, but still 3-4 tablespoons instant coffee into 2 cups hot water and substitute for brewed coffee.

    Cappuccino jelly variation: Follow recipe, then cool mixture slightly and stir in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of milt, cream, or half and half. Serve topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon.

    I don't remember where I got this; I haven't made it in quite some time. I'll have to give it another try myself.

    One more thought: mashed avocado.

    bbstx thanked sealavender
  • gardener123wewantsophie

    You're a good sister, bbstx! I don't have any suggestions, but wanted to wish your sister well!

    bbstx thanked gardener123wewantsophie
  • bbstx

    Thanks, @sealavender for the recipe! That’ll be easy to make when I’m at SS’s house next week.

    @gardener123wewantsophie, thank you for the well wishes for my sister. She is recovering nicely and believes she will be back to all of her normal activities by this weekend. She and a group of her friends have lunch together about once a month. She’s planning on being there next week!

  • bragu_DSM 5

    hope things are improving on the oral adventure ....

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  • bbstx

    @bragu_DSM 5, she’s healing well. She wishes it were going more quickly, but it is pretty much on schedule. She’s a little embarrassed about her appearance, swollen and bruised, but she’s going to suck it up and go to her luncheon. I’ll be in town Wednesday and plan to take her some goodies.

  • Star Jeep

    Something I just discovered, ricotta bake. It's a soft food version of lasagna.

    8 oz of Ricotta Cheese

    1/2 cup grated Parmesan

    1 large Egg, beaten

    1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

    salt & pepper to taste

    1/2 cup Marinara Sauce

    1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

    Mix ricotta cheese, parmesan, beaten egg, seasonings together and place in a oven proof dish. Pour marinara on top and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake it in the oven @ 450 for about 20-25 minutes (best) or nuke it till hot and bubbly.

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  • adellabedella_usa

    I had to eat soft foods when I had my wisdom teeth cut out several years ago. I love sweets, but it becomes overload for me pretty quickly. Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone cook for them so I'm going to throw out some old favorites that are microwave and go. I love instant mashed potatoes that are doctored up with milk, butter. salt, and sour cream. Not sure if you can still find Lipton cup of soup, but it was salty and brothy without much effort. I also like instant rice mixed with cream of chicken soup.

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  • Lucille

    Vichyssoise- I could eat it every day, it is so delicious

    bbstx thanked Lucille
  • plllog

    One thing to keep in mind is that cheese, even gooey melted cheese, can require chewing, and toasted cheese gets hard, in the sore mouth sense, mighty fast, It's also hard on the digestion in quantity, when roughage is at a minimum. Thinking of that, with a good blender, date shakes, which are popular around here, could be a rich treat that helps with that, and while crunchy veg might be out, soluble fiber can't hurt.

    bbstx thanked plllog

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