What is a gastrointestinal (G.I.) soft diet?
This diet is soft in texture, low in fiber, and easy to digest. The goal is to decrease nausea, diarrhea, and gas in the bowel that may cause abdominal pain and discomfort. This diet is often used after abdominal surgery or as a transitional diet after gastroenteritis, diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel flares.
Guidelines for a G.I. Soft Diet
Unless directed differently by your dietitian or physician, follow these guidelines for the next 2-3 weeks. If you continue to have difficulty eating once you are at home, contact your dietitian or physician.
Some people may continue to have food sensitivities and may need to continue to avoid certain foods. If you cannot tolerate a food, avoid that food for a few weeks before you try it again.
|Food Group||Foods Allowed||Foods to Avoid|
|Meats and meat substitutes||Chicken, turkey, fish, tender cuts of beef and pork, ground meats, eggs, creamy nut butters, tofu, skinless hot dogs, sausage patties without whole spices||Tough fibrous meats with gristle, meat with casings (hot dogs, sausage, kielbasa), lunch meats with whole spices, shellfish, beans, chunky peanut butter, nuts|
|Fruits and juices||Fruit juices without pulp, banana, avocado, applesauce, canned peaches and pears, cooked fruit without skin/seeds||Juices with pulp, fresh fruit (except banana and avocado), dried fruits, canned fruit cocktail and pineapple, coconut, frozen/ thawed berries|
|Vegetables||Well-cooked or canned vegetables, potatoes without skin, tomato sauces, vegetable juice||Raw vegetables, all corn, all mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, potato skins, stir-fry vegetables, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, all dried beans, peas, and legumes|
|Cereals and grains||Low-fiber dry or cooked cereals (less than 2 grams fiber per serving), white rice, pasta, macaroni, or noodles||Cereals with nuts, berries, dried fruits, whole grain cereals, bran cereals, granola, brown or wild rice, whole grain pasta|
|Breads and crackers||White/refined breads and rolls, plain bagel, toast, plain crackers, graham crackers||Whole grain breads, bread/rolls with raisins, nuts or seeds, multigrain crackers|
|Dairy||Milk, cheese, yogurt, milkshakes, pudding, ice cream, cottage cheese, sherbet||Dairy product mixed with fresh fruit (except banana), berries, nuts, or seeds|
|Desserts||Plain cake, pudding, custard, ice cream, sherbet, gelatin, fruit whips||Any dessert that contains nuts, dried fruits, coconut, or fruits with seeds|
|Herbs and spices||All ground spices or herbs, salt||Whole spices like peppercorns, whole cloves, anise seeds, celery seeds, rosemary, caraway seeds, and fresh herbs|
|Snacks/other foods||Sugar, honey, jelly, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce, oil, butter, margarine, marshmallows, cookies, without dried fruits or nuts, snack chips, and pretzels using refined flours||Carbonated beverages, jams, or jellies with seeds, popcorn|
- Chew all foods slowly and thoroughly to a mashed potato consistency. The more you chew your food, the easier it will be for your body to digest the food.
- Try to eat meals at regular intervals, i.e., eat every 3-4 hours. You should eat at least 3 meals a day. After surgery, you may find it easier to eat 5-6 small meals daily.
- Drink at least 8 cups of fluid every day. Pudding, ice cream, sherbet, popsicles, soup, gelatin, and yogurt all should be counted as fluids.
- Some people may continue to experience food sensitivities and may need to continue to avoid certain foods. If you cannot tolerate a food, avoid that food for a few weeks before you try it again.
- Eating a variety of foods is important for good health. Listed below is a sample 1-day menu that should not cause you any distress and is suitable to enjoy during the first 2-3 weeks after surgery.
cheddar cheese omelet
1 croissant or English muffin 2 teaspoons grape jelly
8 ounces 2% milk
3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt 1 banana
1 slice white toast with butter or peanut butter 1 cup tea (hot or cold)
4 ounces grilled chicken
1/2 cup mashed potatoes with brown gravy 1/2 cup cooked canned green beans
1/2 cup applesauce
1 chocolate chip cookie 1 cup lemonade
turkey and Swiss sandwich on 2 slices seedless rye bread with mayo and mustard as desired
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4-1 ounce bag baked potato chips 1 cup lemonade
mozzarella string cheese
4-6 saltine crackers or 1 snack-size package of pretzels 1 cup water
1 serving penne pasta with meat sauce Parmesan cheese, olive oil, or butter as desired 1 slice seedless Italian bread
1 cup well-cooked carrots 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream 1 cup iced tea
1/2 cup cottage cheese, pudding, or jello 1/2 cup canned peaches
1 cup water