Registered Nurse (RN)
Fundamentals of Nursing
Diet Basics
Diet Progression

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Diet Progression

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Diet Progression

Food Progression-of-man
A gradual progression of diet is often seen in postoperative patients with the return from an NPO state to a regular diet. The length of time on each of the following therapeutic diets varies based on the patient’s medical condition.
Clear Liquid
Clear Water

You can eat or drink only things you can see through. Plain water, clear fruit juices without pulp, soup broth/bouillon, clear sodas, tea or coffee with no cream or milk added, gelatin, popsicles, or sports drinks. Patients are started on a clear liquid diet typically after surgery. Anesthetic agents and opioid medication along with being NPO before surgery causes peristalsis to slow and delays gastric emptying, which leads to nausea and vomiting. Once bowel sounds return, a clear liquid diet is started.

Full Liquid
Filling with OJ

As peristalsis improves, the diet can be advanced to a full liquid. A full liquid diet adds to the clear liquid diet with the addition of smooth-textured dairy products, strained or blended cream soups, custards, refined cooked cereals, vegetable juice, pureed vegetables, all fruit juices, sherbets, puddings, and frozen yogurt.

Pureed by blender

A pureed diet allows for the addition of items such as pureed meats, vegetables, and fruits, or mashed potatoes and gravy. Used with patients that have dysphagia or for patients that need to conserve energy while eating.

Mechanical Soft
Mechanism making food Soft

A mechanical soft diet allows for everything included in a clear liquid, full liquid and pureed diet with the addition of items such as cream soups, ground or finely diced meats, flaked fish, rice, potatoes, light breads, cooked vegetables, cooked or canned fruits, peanut butter, and cottage cheese. This diet can also be issued for patients with dysphagia.

Low Residue (Fiber)
Low Fiber-box

Residue refers to the food that does not digest in the GI tract, primarily fiber. In a low residue or low fiber diet, the stool bulk is reduced. This diet is used in patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis. It includes easily digested foods such as pastas, moist tender meats, and canned cooked fruits and vegetables, and desserts, cakes, and cookies without nuts or coconut.

High Fiber
High Fiber-box

High fiber diets can be used to regulate the GI tract and help in normal elimination patterns. The majority of the fiber that is ingested does not digest and pulls water into the GI tract. High fiber foods include items such as uncooked or dried fruit, steamed vegetables, bran, and oatmeal.

Regular-sized combo meal

A regular diet is one with no restrictions, unless specified.


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