A full liquid diet is made up only of fluids and foods that are normally liquid and foods that turn to liquid when they are at room temperature, like ice cream. It also includes strained creamy soups, tea, juice, Jell-O, milkshakes, pudding, and popsicles.
You can NOT eat solid foods when you are on a full liquid diet.
This diet is easier to digest than solid food. It gives you the proteins, fluids, salts, and minerals that you need for energy.
For most people on a full liquid diet, the goal is to get 1,350 to 1,500 calories and 45 grams of protein a day.
Eating only a full liquid diet gives you enough nutrition. You can stay on it for a long time. Your doctor may recommend certain vitamins and supplements. This diet is safe for people with diabetes, but only when they are followed closely by their doctor.
Why You May Need This Diet
You may need to be on a full liquid diet right before a medical test or procedure, or before certain kinds of surgery. It is important to follow the diet exactly to avoid problems with your procedure or surgery or your test results.
You also may need to be on a full liquid diet for a little while after you have had surgery on your stomach or intestine. You may also need to be on this diet if you are having trouble swallowing or chewing.
What You Can Eat and Drink
You can eat or drink only things that are liquid. You may have these foods and drinks:
Fruit juices, including nectars and juices with pulp
Butter, margarine, oil, cream, custard, and pudding
Plain ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet.
Fruit ices and popsicles
Sugar, honey, and syrups
Soup broth (bouillon, consommé, and strained cream soups -- but NO solids)
Sodas, such as ginger ale and Sprite
Boost, Ensure, Resource, Sustacal. and other liquid supplements
Tea or coffee with cream or milk and sugar or honey
Ask your doctor if you can include these foods in your full liquid diet:
Cooked, refined cereals, such as Cream of Wheat, cream of rice, oatmeal, grits, or farina
Strained meats, like the ones in baby food
Potatoes pureed in soup
Do NOT eat any kind of cheese, fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned), meat, and cereals that are not on your “okay” list.
Also, do NOT eat raw or cooked vegetables. And, do NOT eat ice cream or other frozen desserts that have any solids in them or on top – things like nuts, chocolate chips, and pieces of cookies.
Try having a mix of 5 to 7 of the foods you can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Liquid foods do NOT include “mashed” foods, such as mashed potato or avocado.
Adding More Calories
If you need to be on a full liquid diet for a long time, you can do some things to get more calories. Ask your doctor if you can eat these foods together to add calories:
Nonfat dry milk added to your drinks
Instant breakfast powder added to milk, puddings, custards, and milkshakes
Strained meats (like the ones in baby food) added to broths
Butter or margarine added to hot cereal and soups
Sugar or syrup added to beverages
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.