The best soft diet foods are typically somewhat soft and moist naturally, but may also be pureed or mashed and have moisture added to make the food easier to swallow. It depends on the purpose and length of the soft diet to determine which foods are the best for a soft diet. The patient's doctor will often advise him or her as to which foods are fine to eat and which should be avoided. The patient's own comfort level with eating may sometimes also dictate what soft diet foods are acceptable or too difficult to eat. For some conditions, however, such as difficulty swallowing, it might be wise to avoid foods that are on the border of being difficult to swallow to avoid choking.
A short-term diet, for only a week or two following a dental or surgical procedure such as wisdom tooth removal, is likely to contain a fair amount of sugary, unhealthy soft diet foods such as ice cream, pudding, and gelatin desserts. This diet is usually fine and will not cause any problems when followed for a limited period of time. A daily multivitamin is often enough to hold the patient over until the short-term soft diet is over. When soft foods are to be eaten for a long-term diet, such as with some medical or dental conditions, it becomes more important to make sure the foods provide enough nutrients to support health.
One way of ensuring that the soft diet foods contain enough nutrients is to puree, mash, or otherwise soften some fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are naturally soft already. Sometimes, water or other liquids should be added to the mixture to make the foods more moist and easy to swallow. Some popular choices of soft diet foods include well-cooked pasta, applesauce, and mashed potatoes. Skinless, soft fruits such as peaches, pears, and bananas are also usually fine to eat on a soft diet. Juices and meal replacement shakes are also fairly convenient and easy ways to make sure the diet contains some nutritional value.
With some conditions that would cause a person to need to follow a soft diet, certain foods might not be appropriate. For example, after a dental procedure such as wisdom tooth removal, a patient may not want to eat fruits like raspberries and strawberries that contain seeds that may get stuck in the incision. For someone who has trouble swallowing or other issues, eating mashed raspberries and strawberries may be fine.