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Dysphagia Mechanical Soft Diet

A Dysphagia Diet is used for people who have difficulty swallowing. Foods on this diet are easier to chew and move around in your mouth. This will reduce the risk of food and liquids going the wrong way. Foods that are on mechanical soft diets are all made of moist and soft textures. Eating foods not allowed on this diet will increase your chance of swallowing problems and can result in food going into your airway (windpipe) instead of your esophagus (food tube). Food or liquid that goes into your airway instead of your stomach puts you at risk for not getting enough nutrition and getting sick (pneumonia).

Recommended Foods:


  • Liquids should be the thickness recommended by your SLP or doctor: thin, nectar, or honey-thickened.

Starches, Breads, and Cereals:

  • Pancakes or French Toast, well moistened with syrup
  • Well cooked, moistened, boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Cold cereal moistened with milk
  • Moist macaroni and cheese/well-cooked pasta with meat sauce

Foods to avoid: Chips, dry breads/rolls, coarse cereals that include seeds/nuts

Meats and Meat Substitutes:

  • Moist, ground/finely diced meats, poultry, or fish (served with gravy or sauces)
  • Poached, scrambled, or soft cooked eggs
  • Slightly mashed, moist legumes (baked beans)
  • Tofu
  • Tuna or egg salads (without large chunks, celery, or onion)

Foods to avoid: Dry, tough meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage), sandwiches, peanut butter

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Fresh, soft ripe bananas or soft drained, canned fruit without seeds or skin
  • Soft, cooked vegetables that are fork tender and diced to less than ½ inch

Foods to avoid: Raw fruits and vegetables (no fresh, canned, or cooked pineapple), cooked corn or peas, broccoli, cabbage


  • Pudding, custard, apple sauce
  • Jello, sherbert, sorbet, ice cream
  • Cobblers without seeds/nuts and with soft breading or crumb mixture

Foods to avoid: Dry, coarse cakes or cookies, rice or bread pudding, hard candies

Tips for getting enough nutrition:

  • Try to eat from a variety of food groups, so your body gets the nutrients it needs.
  • To make sure you get enough calories and protein, you may include liquid nutrition supplements, such as Ensure, Boost, or Carnation Instant Breakfast if they are thickened to the correct texture, if needed. “Plus” versions of these products provide the most calories and protein per serving. Taste is best when served cold.
  • Eat small, frequent meals, especially if you are not able to eat large meals.
  • Add gravies or sauces to enhance flavor and to increase moisture of foods to ease swallowing.
  • Serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold to provide a variety of temperatures in your diet and to avoid food contamination.

Talk with your Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) regarding any questions you may have about your diet recommendations or your swallowing. UMMC Speech-Language Pathology 601-815-6064.

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