Stage 3 Bariatric Diet: 
Soft Food Ideas

You FINALLY get to add soft foods once you reach the Stage 3 bariatric diet. This could be as soon as the 3rd week post-surgery or even a few weeks beyond that, depending on how you heal. Everyone’s journey is different.

Pureed foods and soft foods are easily confused. Here’s the difference:

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

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

Best Choices
(High Protein Soft Foods):

  • Cottage cheese and ricotta cheese (they don’t need to be blended anymore at soft stage)
  • Canned tuna*
  • Canned chicken*
  • Sardines (YES...try them! 😉)
  • Eggs: Try poached first, then soft boiled, then scrambled, then hardboiled for best tolerance
  • Low-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: poach, crockpot, Instant Pot.

*No need to eat dry tuna right out of the can. It’s ok to add low-fat mayo to canned fish/chicken to make it moist…

…or even better: use plain nonfat yogurt in place of mayo. Season as desired with dill, lemon juice, etc. Seasoning are ok to use.

Next Best Choices
(Not necessarily high protein, but high in vitamins, minerals, and/or fiber):

  • Vegetable 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). Assure no added sugar.
  • Soft, fresh fruit without skins (example: pears, peaches, plum, melons)
  • Banana
  • Baked fruits
  •  Smooth peanut butter

Foods to Avoid
(Even Though These are Soft):

  • Bread
  • Tortillas
  • Rice
  • Noodles

And of Course Avoid:

  • Raw, fibrous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Avoid skins and seeds
  • Avoid any foods that are hard to chew

Stage 3 Bariatric Diet: Goals

Pro Tip:

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

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

cartoon plate

Establish a Regular Patten of Eating

By the time you reach the Stage 3 bariatric diet, you should have already established regular meal times. If NOT, here’s a reminder:

Eat every 3-4 hours

Plan to eat soft foods, at “meal times” and drink protein shakes in between “meals” to assure 60-80 grams of protein daily.

Like this:

  • 6am:  Soft Food Meal: Lowfat Greek yogurt + smashed banana pieces
  • 9am: Protein Shake: (30 grams protein)
  • 12pm:  Soft Food Meal: Tuna mixed with plain Greek yogurt + seasonings
  • 3pm:  Protein Shake (30 grams protein)
  • 6pm:  Soft Food Meal: Black bean soup

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!

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