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Soft Diet

This leaflet is for people experiencing difficulties swallowing. This may be due to your illness or your treatment.  The leaflet suggests meal ideas for softer foods.  Contact details for the dietitians are given at the end of the leaflet.   

The following advice may help:

  • Eat foods that can be mashed up easily.
  • To aid swallowing, make sure your food is moist by adding gravy or a sauce. 
  • Have a drink close at hand, which you can sip slowly during your meal.  
  • Remember to include a wide variety of foods each day. 

If your doctor or dietitian has recommended you have nutritional supplements, they should be taken in between meals.  

Meal and drinks suggestions


  • Cereals e.g. Porridge, cornflakes, Weetabix or Ready Brek with plenty of milk
  • Yoghurts
  • Milky puddings
  • Fruit juice or soft fruits e.g. mashed or stewed apple or mashed banana 
  • Bread – if you are able to eat bread, remove the crusts 

Between meal snacks

  • Milky drink e.g. coffee made with milk, Ovaltine, Horlicks or drinking chocolate
  • Soft cake for example sponge with custard
  • Biscuits softened in milk or dunked in tea
  • Soft pudding – see list of puddings

Light meals

  • Scrambled or poached egg, omelette or savoury egg custard
  • Corned beef or mashed tinned fish (no bones) 
  • Tinned spaghetti
  • Cauliflower or macaroni cheese – tinned or home made
  • Baked or mashed potato (no skin) with soft filling such as egg or tuna mayonnaise

Main meals

  • Minced beef, lamb, pork, chicken or turkey with gravy or sauce 
  • Shepherds pie, corned beef hash or cheese and potato pie
  • Casserole or stew – you may need to flake the cooked meat 
  • Filleted fish e.g. tinned tuna, fishcakes, haddock or plaice
  • Pasta with bolognaise or cheese sauce
  • Vegetable risotto
  • Root vegetable curry with rice

Tip: Sauces will help to moisten your food.  Choose from gravy, white sauce, cheese or parsley sauce or use undiluted condensed soup.

Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables (cook until soft and mash if required)


  • Milk puddings e.g. homemade, tinned or packet rice pudding, tapioca, semolina or custard
  • Stewed, mashed or pureed fruit e.g. bananas, pears, soft tinned fruits
  • Egg custard or crème caramel 
  • Sponge pudding or trifle
  • Milk jelly, blancmange or mousse
  • Fromage frais or yoghurt

If you are experiencing swallowing difficulties, for example, coughing, choking, ‘things going down the wrong way’ or recurrent chest infections. If you are not already known to the Speech and Language Team, please discuss a referral with your team. 

Further information

If you would like further information please contact the dietitians on: 
Phone:    029 2061 5888 ext 2214 

Reviewed June 2020 
Version 1.0