If you have had a tooth (or teeth) pulled or have endured other major dental work, you are likely familiar with the dreaded liquid-only or soft-foods diet.
Initially, you may ecstatically praise the excuse to slurp milkshakes of every flavor all day for the next seven days. However, two or three milkshakes down, your craving for substantial food will probably send you scrambling for healthier recipes that will be easy on your teeth (or lack thereof) and satisfy your hunger.
Before you head to the kitchen, be clear on your dentist’s dietary instructions. A “liquid-diet” may mean only liquids (water, tea, broth, juice, milk, liquid meal replacements) or it may mean softer, more liquid-based foods (ice cream, soup, purees). If you are restricted to liquids, squeeze fresh lemon or lime in your water, try a variety of broths, and drink an assortment of juices to keep up your calories and do the best you can in keeping your hunger at bay. Typically after a few days, you will be able to incorporate soft-foods.
Ready to eat foods
These are foods that require little to no cooking – you may already have some in your pantry or refrigerator – and can be eaten as snacks or combined with other foods to round out a substantial meal. Be sure to include a protein-based food at every snack or meal – protein can be found in yogurt, cheeses, eggs, tofu, and bean purees.
Ice cream or frozen yogurt
Custard or pudding
These delicious recipes put a gourmet twist on a liquid or soft-food diet.
Makes 1 serving
1 cup of your favorite frozen fruit
1 1/2 cups vanilla soymilk or yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla or berry flavored whey protein or more to taste
Handful of ice cubes
Pour the ingredients into a blender and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.
Note: Double or triple the recipe and refrigerate the extra servings.
Vegetable Bean Soup
Makes 2 servings
1 (16-ounce) can minestrone or bean soup
1 cup of your favorite vegetable, steamed or sauteed until tender
Place soup and vegetables in a blender and puree. Pour into a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until heated through. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or sprinkle of shredded cheese.
Note: This soup can be made up to three days in advance and refrigerated until ready to heat.
Pumpkin Feta Soup
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add pumpkin and broth, stirring until smooth. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and use a hand-held immersion blender to puree smooth or pour pumpkin mixture into a blender and, holding a towel over the lid, carefully blend until smooth. Place pan back on burner on low heat and add parsley, cream, and feta, stirring until feta is melted. Serve warm. Store extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Jalapeno Cream Cheese Pudding
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup jalapeno jelly or more to taste
Place ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Peanut Butter and Banana Whip
Makes 4 servings
1 (12-ounce) box soft tofu, chilled
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, chilled
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 very ripe banana, sliced