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Soft food ideas

Posts: 177
Joined: Dec 2009

Well I am home recovering from neck disection one week out and bracheytherpy radiation 3 weeks out, having a hard time getting enough calories and protein down. Last year when I went though chemo, surgery and radiation I had a peg tube, this time I don't have one. I have been releying mostly on dairy for my calorie and protein intake so far. Yogurt, pudding, milk shakes and some cheese. Looking for some other ideas that do not reley so much on dairy that are soft, I have had some mashed potatoes with gravy and scrambled egg with sour cream I was able to get down.

Thank you,

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Mark did soups. Soft wonton soup, I remember she slurped down. Chicken noodle was a good one too.
Sounds like you are doing well getting stuff down. It gets better.

susan0803's picture
Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2010

It was the vitamix for my husband. We could make high protein shakes with tons of veges and fruit in them. He also for some reason was able to eat pesto on soft white bread. Any soup would burn him too much - even post treatment. My husband doesn't eat any dairy products, so we were very limited in his choices.

Good luck and hope you are onto solid foods soon!

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Instant grits, pastina, instant oatmeal, soft boiled eggs, puréed cauliflower, mushy peas, hemp protein in fruit and veg shakes. I didn't have the money to purchase a Vitamix, I got a HealthMaster. Someone on this site said that Vitamix will give a discount for cancer survivors. I think an emulsifier is great for any person to get better nutrtion, and for a HNC patient, I think it's invaluable. You can put any soup in there and it will be completely smooth. I have a stricture still and so I still get more than half my daily calories by drinking them. Today my smoothie was two small apples, one huge orange, two carrots and a scoop of protein powder and glutamine. That's all the fruit I need in a day, and half the veggies. I use mine about 4-5 times a week, the days I don't, it's because I am using my juicer. Great for proper nutrition.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

I made it on tasteless watered down Grits for many weeks because I to did not have a PEG.

Wishing you the best in your treatment my friend

fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

I used, chicken noodle soup, very thin mashed potatoes, Sweet potatoes baked and when you think there done bake them longer and longer, steamed carrots to extreme softness and fork them to mashed, corn casserole, very ripe banana's and slightly microwaved. Favorite desert was banana popsicles and frosty's from Wendy's.

Eat little and eat much more often! All that swallowing takes alot out of you.


sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Yes, I cannot believe I forgot sweet potatoes. I eat them once or twice a week now. They are excellent, about the best vegetable you can eat.


Also just looked up in my food diary for soft foods, sorry if repeating:

Spaghetti squash
Creamed corn
Egg drop soup
Lentil soup
Pasta fagioli
Cooked zucchini and yellow squash
Cream of wheat
Canned green beans
Puréed squash (like butternut or acorn)

Hal61's picture
Posts: 655
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Brad, happy to hear you're back and able to eat something. I'm with Sweetblood, but only a recent convert to smoothies. Google and you'll find a world of recipes. Go heavy on the fruit and lighter on the veggies (leafy like baby spinach), and you can get a higher fruit and fiber diet with only a smoothie a day. I can't afford a Vitamix either, so I've been using my magic bullet, but I want to ungrade, because smoothies are much better if a quality blender is used.

Eggs were my mainstay, and I still depend on them a lot. When I get hungry for a steak, I eat a steakum. Steakums are those wafer-thin frozen steaks that heve been around forever. They melt in your mouth, and can be cut up in scrambled eggs, or Sweetblood style, fried up wtih mushroom and onion. I also eat a lot of oatmeal for breakfast, lately with a teaspoon of flax seed meal, available lots of places, and good stuff.

best, Hal

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

How did you know I had my eggs with fried mushrooms and onion today??? Lol you're not on my Facebook, but I posted that today. :D

Next on my list to try out is steel cut oatmeal, but oatmeal made with savory ingredients.

Forgot to say, I cut back on some dairy also, and I am drinking Silk almond milk daily.

fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

Love to be anyone's friend on facebook

John Van Grinsven

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

There are four people by that name. Can't tell which is you so I am going to PM you my name. There's only one of me. Thank God. :)

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

my glasses on. You were talking about the steak'ums. Lol. I thought you were talking about the eggs. Lmao. I guess we did chat about steak'ums the other day. I forgot to put them on my list. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

Good, I feel better now. I'm down to only one stalker.

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Double post

adventurebob's picture
Posts: 690
Joined: Jun 2010

add 1 cup almonds to 3 cups water and blend until smoothe=32ounces and 960 calories. Or blend 1 can of coconut milk with fruit until smooth=16ounces and 720 calories.

Posts: 72
Joined: Nov 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup, Apple Sauce, over cooked Mac & Cheese and real soft served ice cream.

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1576
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm still relying pretty heavily on dairy foods - good thing I'm not lactose intolerant. In fact, I'm probably as lactose-tolerant as they come. I eat milk, butter, yougurt and cheese on a daily basis still, and I probably eat eggs three or four times a week. Works for me. Otherwise, steamed vegetables and a lot of fish. Can't do much in the way of meats.

Sending more healing thoughts up over the hill.


SASH's picture
Posts: 399
Joined: Apr 2006

My addition would be whipped potatoes. The ones that are made from dehydrated potatoes. You can make them as thick or thin as needed. I would add seasoning to them as they might be a bit bland.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Some great ideas for you, Brad. I intend to use some of them myself, even if I am also eating other stuff now.

It sounds like there is enough variety in what folks have offered that you should never have to be bored by eating the same thing over and over, as I was (I had my PEG tube for four years, but was trying to eat almost from the first day home from the hospital).

I found, frankly, as others have suggested, that I could not eat as much as I used to, and so had to eat much smaller portions and eat more often. This meant that a can of soup I used to be able to devour in five minutes was now two separate meals, and frequently my fridge would start to look like a sales brochure for Tupperware, stacks of leftovers, as it were.

So I do have this suggestion, especially since you are eating eggs. Consider the Cream of * soups, cheddar, chicken, broccoli, mushroom. Make the stuff, down half of it, stow the other half, and the next morning, when you make your egg(s), pour in the remainder of the soup, maybe some cheese, since you can eat that (and most of the Cream of * soups are half milk anyway). In this way, you can avoid at least to some degree the huge backlog of leftovers that seemed to accumulate for me, while having a little variety too.

Really, after awhile this became my biggest problem: too many leftovers and too darned bored to eat the stuff again and again.

It sounds as though you have no issues with liquids, so be sure to make fruit juices part of your day, which ever ones float your boat.

I suppose the only other suggestion that comes immediately to mind is to try things you think are beyond you at this point, always with your liquids nearby in case you were right to begin with. I have found that things I never liked before all of this, I now enjoy, for example. There are a mind-boggling number of things you can do with blocks of cream cheese, sauces that are otherworldy and will remind you of what you used to eat without being difficult to swallow (using, say, beef broth for example); I am not a chef but advise you to go online and check out some of what you can do in this regard. And I found that some things I thought I would not be able to eat went down perfectly well (for some reason, among the first things I could swallow after surg and treatments were pretzels, the stick versions...go figure...but I could nibble and gnaw and make them small enough to go down...same with some other hard but brittle things like crackers).

Again, lots of great ideas here! I intend to break out the food processor at once and start playing with some of the ideas I got from one or two here. I hope you are successfully able to do the same.

Take care,


Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009


All the Non Dairy milks are good including: Soy, Hazelnut, Hemp. Oat etc.

Congee is also good, full a grits and easy to get down till you can start to chomp on stuff, then go for the big salads +Oil.


vsmith1982's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2011


I am on a soft food diet I like hummus made from chick peas and olive oil good source of protein and fiber buy it ready made at the store. Another one is refried beans you can always add a little water to get it to the right consistency but another good source of fiber and protein. Avocado or guacamole. Sometimes I will have some avocado with some salad dressing on it. Avocado is just packed full of nutirents. When I was trying to pack on the calories I found ice cream a winner, of course it upped my cholesterol so had to stop but did help when I needed to get the calories.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Brad, not that I went through what you are currently. But when I was Hot and heavy into the radiation, especially the Hot....

I used the Ensure Plus as my main nutrition for calories, vitamins and minerals. Mainly at 350 calories per can, I got the most bang for the buck. I couln't eat anything that would give me that many calories for a small amount of pain.

I did also eat a few jarred sliced peaches, just to keep the muscles working though. But maybe you might consider the Ensure at least for a supplement and added calories.


Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2016

Since I've been on recovery, I've been on the liquid diet. "Ensure" is my preference of nutritients for the day. And the fact that it doesn't drop out of nose helps too. I drink three a day. And then as extra I have broth(or stock) soups. I do salt. I also cook carrots and celery with my chicken broth(for more flavor) and then blend the veggies seperately for when I want to eat soft foods.

Soft Foods: applesauce, yogurt, jello, tapioca, hummus, ice cream, and purées: beans, carrots, cauliflowe, sweet potatos, peas... All kinds of vegetables! But purée them with stock and broth. Instead of just water. More nutrients. Seasoning to your liking and what you can handle.

Good luck!

And thank you for the smoothie suggestions!

Tonita's picture
Posts: 160
Joined: Feb 2016

My niece is a nutritionist and I asked her for some recipes.  Here are two that are extremely healthy.  Her website is cinnamonhealth.com.  She posts some recipes there as well. 




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Look for plain full fat greek yogurt (Yes, full fat!) Plain yogurt has no sugar, so you can better manage the sugar content and sweetness by adding your own healthy toppings. Add 1 tspn cinnamon, a teaspoon of honey and cut up your own mashed strawberries, blueberries or mashed bananas.


Protein Smoothie

Smoothies can be a good blend of carbs, protein and fat to refuel your body.



1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I like Plant Fusion, a dairy free protein powder from Whole Foods Market or Amazon.com)

1 small banana

1 cup washed spinach

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

8 oz almond milk (or other dairy free milk of your choice)

1 teaspoon cinnamon 



Blend all ingredients in Vitammix or Nutribullet for 30 seconds.  Top with teaspoon of cinnamon (optional). 



Green Smoothie


     1 avocado

     1 – 2 pieces of low-glycemic fruit: green apple, pear, berries and cantaloupe

     1 cucumber

     A fistful of kale or romaine or spinach

     Coconut water (or purified water)

     Stevia, to taste, and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon or some cacao (optional)



Blend ingredients in a high-powered blender.









Chia Pudding

Chia pudding is a healthy breakfast option or really an anytime snack. It pairs great with cinnamon and is a tasty way to work these super foods into your diet. Chia seeds pack an impressive 11 grams of fiber in just two tablespoons, and are full of protein, helping you feel full. Also great for people who want to lose weight.



     2.5 cups unsweetened almond milk

     1/2 cup chia seeds

     2 tablespoons of organic honey

     1 teaspoon vanilla extract

     1 teaspoon cinnamon



     Fresh fruit – mashed banana, mashed blueberries

     Coconut flakes

     Small seeds – chia seeds, ground flax seeds



1  Whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, and sweetener together in a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10

minutes and then whisk again (this just helps prevent clumping).


2  Cover and chill in the fridge for 2.5-3 hours, or overnight. It helps to stir the mixture every so often

during this time, but don't worry if you can't.


3  Stir well before serving. Portion into bowl(s) and add your desired toppings. Leftovers will keep in

an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.




Posts: 504
Joined: Aug 2013

I make lots of soup. I love chicken soup with five veggies plus garlic and herbs. I take the chicken out ...only use cheap drumsticks....that gets put into little containers and frozen for the dog. I then blitz it which makes it thick with the veg add water and cream to the correct consistency. I make enough to freeze. If I make any dinners I usually cook in extra liquid so the people who can eat have the chicken and veg or pork and veg I blitz the veg and gravy. I sometimes put just a little pasta in. I drink plenty of coffee in the day...by the pint...and boost it with whey powder. For sweet it's yoghurt smoothies with canned fruit and sometimes 2 raw eggs which you don't taste but they make it Creamy like an egg nog.i use canned fruit because it's cheaper has syrup and makes better shakes. I also use canned soup with cream. I don't know whether it's enough calories but I keep my weight 8 st 2pounds. Before radiotherapy I was nearly 11 stone but my weight has never come back but I'm healthy. Caramel and rice puddings very milky.

the_wife's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Nov 2015

Thanks for all the tips everyone. As a caregiver, food has become an ongoing and often frustrating challenge for both of us. I need to feed hubby high calorie meals in small portions. I can't eat what he does, obviously, but would like to be able to come up with things we can both eat with some minor additions for him.... The other day I made beef stew in the crockpot, but when serving his portion, I could add powdered milk or cream. We eat oatmeal with flaxmeal meal or chopped walnuts and bananas, then I add protein powder and whole or fortified milk to his. 

Tonita, thanks for the website and all your recipes! I've found there is a HUGE difference between dieticians at the cancer clinic and actual nutritionists. The dieticians don't seem to be able to think beyond short term measures and the tube, while the nutritionists use real food and a healthy diet that is sustainable.

Hubby is tired of smoothies, so I've moved on to soups and stews using the crockpot for "dump meals" with quick and easy ingredients like mixed veggies that come pre-chopped and canned broth for stews. 

For soft foods don't forget about fish - salmon is always good and easy to prepare. For Easter I went to the Deli and bought pickled herring, potato salad, humus, snack sized veggies, rice pudding, hard boiled eggs, cheese, crackers, and we had a Smorgasborg. It was perfect! I let hubby serve himself so there was no pressure for him to eat a big meal and no pressure for me to cook a big meal.

Some friends of ours brought us some venison salami, which will be perfect for hubby to snack on at work.

Things like meatloaf, pasta, rice, noodles - as long as there is lots of sauce - seem to go down well. Hubby used to like baked beans, but not so much anymore. 


Posts: 54
Joined: Jun 2015

I read a lot of suggestions for soft food, virtually none of which worked for me.  I got frustrated reading how others could eat scambled eggs or pasta, etc, and soups didn't work for me either, especially store boughten ones.  I did eat them sometimes, but they disagreed with me, as did anything resembling Ensure or Carnation Instant Breakfast.  I gave up on that and bought a food processor and pureed things--veggies, potatoes, even meat.  I learned to make things smooth enough I could eat this with no problem.  I did smoothies and ice cream, but to be honest, I really can't stand smoothies (makes me the odd one out most of the time).  The ice cream worked well and I had lost a lost of weight, so the calories were helpful.  I remember years ago my mother saying my dad drank malts when he was being treated for cancer.  It's whatever you like or whatever you can swallow.  Gets boring, but it gets better over time.

Tonita's picture
Posts: 160
Joined: Feb 2016

I keep trying new things all the time.  I'm not eating as well as I was before, but I have to eat what I can.  Now my favorite is cream of asparagus soup with a buttered onion roll.  I break the roll into small pieces and drop it into the soup.  It goes down great and I can actually taste it.  I just tried macaroni and cheese with ground beef and beets.  Quite the concotion but it's tasty.  Cream of wheat is great for getting my pills down and I have that for breakfast with an egg.

I really miss the great salads with chicken and all the other foods I love, but baby steps I guess. 

abbimom's picture
Posts: 87
Joined: Sep 2010

i used to make grilled cheese then break it up and put it in tomato soup.  Smoothies with protein powder, apples, spinach, banans and peanut butter.  mashed potatoes and gravy, clam chowder, green bean casserole, hamburger gravy on mashed potatoes, yogurt, soft boiled eggs. Good luck. I had stage three tongue cancer 16 years ago so lots of experience with soft foods!


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