13 January 2021

Section 13: Dietary advice for weeks 3 & 4 – soft food

Soft foods are foods that are moist and can be mashed up with the back of a fork or spoon– a knife is not required. You must follow this phase for 2 weeks directly after the liquid phase of the diet. Do not be tempted to progress too quickly onto normal, solid foods, as those could cause potential problems with your band. 




  • You may find you can manage a largervolumethan you might expect, and you may experience an increase in appetite. Remember, this is normal and a good sign that you are healing well 
  • Aim for 3 meals per day, although some patients find that 4-6 smaller meals are better tolerated. Everyone is different
  • Follow all the guidelines described underFollow-up and general guidelines on healthy eating & living with a band
  • Follow the ’20, 20, 20, 20rule
  • Continue to take a chewable complete multivitamin and mineral supplement every day
  • Continue to avoid fizzy drinksand alcoholuntil 4 weeks post-op 


Balanced meals 


Aim to use a small 6-inch plate for your meals. 

Each meal should consist of: 


  • Vegetables/fruit - half the plate. These are filling and low in calories, so are a great option  
  • Protein-based foods - a quarter of the plate 
  • Carbohydrate-based foods - a quarter of the plate 


You should also aim to include a source of calcium in your diet every day. 


Fruit & vegetables (½ of the plate) 

  • Very well cooked (boiled/steamed) vegetables – all types (fresh, tinned, frozen) apart from those listed under ‘caution foods’ inDietary Advice for Week 5 onwards. When “over-cooking” vegetables to ensure they are soft, use the water you have cooked them in for gravy
  • Avocado, but limit to one per week (it contains healthy omega 6 oils but due to this it is quite high in calories)
  • Baked beans – these only count as 1 portion per day
  • Stewed or soft tinned fruit (no skin)
  • Soft mashed banana


Carbohydrate-based foods (¼ of the plate) 


Breakfast cereals: 

  • Weetabix
  • Porridge
  • Readybrek
  • Ricekrispies, cornflakes – left to soak in milkand go soggy 


Potatoes (white or sweet): 

  • Centre of jacket potato (no skin)
  • Mashed potato
  • Boiled potatoes (no skin), ideally mashed


Pasta and grains: 

  • Very well cooked pasta shapes
  • Very well-cooked noodles (egg or rice-based) 
  • Tinned pasta e.g. spaghetti hoops 


Avoid during this phase: 

  • All bread products including crackers/crackerbreads 
  • All types of rice 


Protein based foods (¼ of the plate) 



  • Omelette, boiled, scrambled, poached or dry fried


Meat and poultry 

  • Lean (ideally 5% fat or less) minced beef/pork/lamb/chicken/turkey


Fish and seafood 

  • Fresh or tinned white or oily fish (poached, grilled, steamed, baked) – aim to include one portion of each per week 
  • Avoid very dense types of fish at this stage e.g. monkfish, fresh tuna steak 


Vegetarian meat substitutes 

  • Quorn mince 
  • Soya mince 


Beans, pulses and lentils 

  • All varieties (baked beans, chick peas, kidney beans, mixed beans, lentils), ideally mashed
  • Reduced fathoumous



  • Soya mince
  • Soft tofu


Avoid during this phase: 

  • All meat including that hasn’t been minced, including sandwich meats and ham 
  • Quorn and soya-based products that haven’t been minced 


Milk and dairy products  


Milk and dairy products (and lactose-free alternatives) are good protein sources too.  These include: 


  • Any type of milk other than full fat
  • Smooth low fat & low sugar yogurts
  • Reduced fat cottage cheese
  • Reduced fat cheese triangles/cheese spread
  • Reduced fat soft cheese



  • Dairy free “cheese” spread
  • Dairy free yogurt

These are also a source of essential calcium, so it is important you include some of them in your diet each day. There won’t be enough calcium in your daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. 


Vegan alternatives are also good, as they are usually fortified with calcium.  However, nut-based milk products contain very little protein - soya products are a better choice for protein.   


Meal ideas fothe soft phase 


Please note that portion sizes are a guide only – you may need to eat less or more than what is stated, as everyone is different. You may also find your appetite is beginning to come back by now and if so, this is completely normal. 




  • 1-2 x Weetabix or supermarket equivalent + semi-skimmed /1% fat / skimmed / calcium-enriched soya /lactose-free milk and mashed banana/stewed apple/pear


  • Porridge (~30-50g dry weight) orReadybrekor supermarket equivalent made with water & semi-skimmed /1% fat / skimmed / calcium-enriched soya / lactose-free milk + mashed 

banana/stewed apple/pear 


  • Overnight oats 


  • 1-2 eggomelettemade with semi-skimmed milk and a sprinkle of reduced fat grated cheese with soft onions and peppers 


  • 1-2 eggs, scrambled with ½ tin chopped tomatoes


  • 1-2 poached eggs + 3-4 tinned plum tomatoes


  • Fruit smoothie made with 1 x ‘fun size’ banana, handful of frozen raspberries, 100mlapple juice and 2 tbsp. low fat natural/soya yogurt


Lunch and evening meals 


  • Omelette/scrambled eggs/poached eggs as above


  • Well-cooked cauliflower cheese (2-3 florets) + 2-3 florets broccoli + 1 scoop

mashed potato 


  • Cottage Pie/Shepherd’s Pie (if homemade: a 500g pack of minced beef/lamb will makea large pie, of whichan 1-2 tablespoons should be an adequate portion).  Serve with 2-3 tbsp. soft carrots, cabbage and brussel sprouts (or try our recipe below) 


  • Lasagne(if home-made, a 500g pack of minced beef will yield 8-10 portions), avoiding the crunchy top. Serve with 2-3 tbsp. soft vegetables  


  • Soft pasta shapes + bolognaise sauce – ensure the pasta is cooked for 15-20

minutes so it is very soft; a 500g pack of minced beef or 300g pack of minced Quorn 

should make a batch large enough to yield 8-10 portions, as long as you use tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onions etc. to bulk out the sauce. Do make sure all these vegetables are cooked thoroughly so they are soft 


  • 1 x mashed sweet potato + 1-2tbsp. reduced fathoumousor home-made houmous 


* Ratatouille (roast peppers, auberginecourgette, red onion, cherry tomatoes & garlic for 30-45 minutes until soft; then place in a pan with 1-2 tins of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes until very soft); serve with soft pasta or mashed potato 


  • Well-cooked lentils or dhal with mashed potato/sweet potato


  • Soft fish (avoid ‘meatier’ types such as tuna or monkfish and shellfish – these are toosolid/chewable for this stage) in parsley/tomato sauce with mashed potato and soft vegetables


  • Centre of a jacket potato + 40g cottage cheese or ½ tin of tuna mixed with 1tbsp.

light or extra light mayonnaise or 1 chopped boiled egg mixed with 1tbsp. light or extra light mayonnaise 



  • Pureed/stewed fruit with low fat custard
  • Mashed banana and low fat custard
  • Low fat yogurt/fromage frais/mousse/sugar free jelly


Drinks see Follow-up and general guidelines on healthy eating & living with a band 



Sample Meal Plan 

Breakfast: cheesy scrambled eggs 

Mid-morning: mashed banana with low fat yogurt 

Lunch: inside of a jacket potato with tuna and extra light mayo or baked beans  

Mid-afternoon: fromage frais or high protein yogurt 

Evening meal: herby cottage pie with mashed carrots 

Supper: stewed apple with low fat custard 


Vegan Sample Meal Plan 

Breakfast: 1-2 Weetabix with calcium-enriched soya milk 

Mid-morning: mashed banana with soya yogurt 

Lunch: inside of a jacket potato with baked beans   

Mid-afternoon: non-dairy yogurt  

Evening meal: spiced lentil soup  

Supper: stewed apple with non-dairy custard 


Soft phase - check list

  • Soft, sloppy foods only 
  • Should be able to mash with the back of a fork - no knife needed 
  • Add extra sauces, gravy, fluid to soften meals 
  • Follow the 20/20/20/20 rule 
  • Use small cutlery and a small 6-inch plate 
  • Continue to focus on protein foods 
  • Continue with your chewable multivitamin & mineral supplement 
  • Avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks 


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