Stage 3 Bariatric Diet: 
Soft Foods

You FINALLY get to add soft foods once you reach the Stage 3 bariatric diet. The diet progression is intended to help you ease back into eating, so soft foods are one step above pureed foods:

  • Pureed foods: applesauce consistency
  • Soft foods: can mash with the back of a fork

Jump to Soft Food Diet Ideas

Important Note:

  • "Soft" doesn't = "bland" 
  • It's perfectly fine to use seasonings to your preference and tolerance

In addition to the foods allowed on the Stage 1 Liquid diet and Stage 2 Pureed diet, you can add:

High Protein Soft Foods:

    These are best soft choices to begin with on the stage 3 bariatric diet because they count toward your protein goal. The more protein you get from food, the less you need from protein shakes.
  • Lowfat cottage cheese
  • Lowfat ricotta cheese 
  • Canned tuna*
  • Canned chicken*
  • Sardines (YES...try them! 😉)
  • Eggs: Introduce in this order for best tolerance: poached, soft boiled, scrambled, hard boiled
  • Reduced fat cheese (limit to 1x/day)
  • Tofu
  • Whole beans: pinto, black, garbanzo, kidney, etc.
  • Whole bean soups
  • All varieties of fish and shellfish if cooked using a moist cooking method like poaching, crockpot, or Instant Pot.

*No need to eat dry tuna right out of the can. It’s ok to add low-fat mayo, plain nonfat yogurt, and/or mustard to canned fish/chicken to moisten. 

Other Allowable Bariatric Soft Diet Foods:

These are good choices on the stage 3 bariatric diet because they're real foods. Although they aren’t necessarily high protein, they’re healthful foods versus highly processed foods, so they’re good sources of nutrition- vitamins, minerals, and/or fiber. 

  • Vegetables soups
  • Steamed or well-cooked veggies like carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes
  • Low sodium canned veggies
  • Canned fruit in its own juice or water packed (example: pears, peaches, fruit cocktail). Read labels to make sure no sugar is added!
  • Soft, fresh fruit, skins removed (example: pears, peaches, plum, melons)
  • Banana
  • Baked fruits 
  • Old fashioned oats
  • Small amounts of healthy fats like: smooth peanut butter, avocado, olive oil

Acceptable Soft Foods for the Bariatric Diet:

    These foods are the right soft texture for the Stage 3 bariatric diet, but they aren't exactly nutrition powerhouses. To make them nutritionally "better," sprinkle in plain, unflavored protein powder. (Or only use them sparingly to help you get through the soft diet):
  • Sugar free pudding
  • Lowfat cream soups

10 Quick and Easy
Bariatric Soft Food Diet Ideas

  • Poached egg: Season with pepper, Mrs Dash, Everything but the Bagel Seasoning, or smooth mild salsa
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt + mashed banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Cottage cheese + mashed berries. Sprinkle with ground flaxseeds.
  • Ricotta cheese + low sugar marinara; sprinkle with Parmesan
  • Baked apple:sprinkle with apple pie spice
  • Baked pear: sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Black bean soup
  • Lentil soup
  • Black beans + mild salsa + diced avocado
  • Cottage cheese + diced hard boiled egg + avocado slice, diced + pepper (this one is a personal fav!)

Bariatric Soft Diet: Foods to Avoid

  • Bread
  • Tortillas
  • Rice 
  • Noodles
  • Raw, fibrous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Skins (apple skin, cucumber peel, etc.)
  • Fried foods
  • Breaded foods

Stage 3 Bariatric Diet FAQs:

Q: Is Salad Considered a Soft Food?

A: No. ☹ Remember, “soft” food is any that you can mash with the back of a fork.

Q: Can I eat pizza on the soft diet?

A: No, I wouldn’t advise it. But don’t worry, further down the road you can enjoy small portions of pizza.

Hang in there... solid foods are coming next on the Stage 4 Bariatric Diet!

Pro Tip:

Although you may be sick of protein shakes and soft, mushy foods by now, don’t race ahead to solids just yet. Have patience!

Advancing too fast can cause you to vomit. And depending on your procedure, it could also result in food getting “stuck.”

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