Health Information

Diet - full liquid

Diet - full liquid


A full liquid diet is made up only of fluids and foods that are normally liquid and foods that turn to liquid when they are at room temperature, like ice cream. It also includes:

  • Strained creamy soups
  • Tea
  • Juice
  • Jell-O
  • Milkshakes
  • Pudding
  • Popsicles

You can NOT eat solid foods when you are on a full liquid diet.

This diet is easier to digest than solid food. It gives you the proteins, fluids, salts, and minerals that you need for energy.

For most people on a full liquid diet, the goal is to get 1,350 to 1,500 calories and 45 grams of protein a day.

Eating only a full liquid diet gives you enough energy, protein, and fat. But it does not give you enough fiber. And you may not get all the vitamins and minerals you need. So, your doctor may recommend that you take certain vitamins and supplements. This diet is safe for people with diabetes, but only when they are followed closely by their doctor.

Alternate Names

Full liquid diet

Why You May Need This Diet

You may need to be on a full liquid diet right before a medical test or procedure, or before certain kinds of surgery. It is important to follow the diet exactly to avoid problems with your procedure or surgery or your test results.

You also may need to be on a full liquid diet for a little while after you have had surgery on your stomach or intestine. You may also need to be on this diet if you are having trouble swallowing or chewing. Sometimes the full liquid diet is a step between a clear liquid diet back to your regular diet.

What You Can Eat and Drink

You can eat or drink only things that are liquid. You may have these foods and drinks:

  • Water
  • Fruit juices, including nectars and juices with pulp
  • Butter, margarine, oil, cream, custard, and pudding
  • Plain ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet.
  • Fruit ices and popsicles
  • Sugar, honey, and syrups
  • Soup broth (bouillon, consommé, and strained cream soups, but NO solids)
  • Sodas, such as ginger ale and Sprite
  • Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Boost, Ensure, Resource, Sustacal, and other liquid supplements
  • Tea or coffee with cream or milk and sugar or honey

Ask your doctor if you can include these foods in your full liquid diet:

  • Cooked, refined cereals, such as cream of rice, oatmeal, grits, or farina (Cream of Wheat)
  • Strained meats, like the ones in baby food
  • Potatoes pureed in soup

DO NOT eat any kind of cheese, fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned), meat, and cereals that are not on your "ok" list.

Also, DO NOT eat raw or cooked vegetables. And, DO NOT eat ice cream or other frozen desserts that have any solids in them or on top, such as nuts, chocolate chips, and pieces of cookies.

Try having a mix of 5 to 7 of the foods you can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Liquid foods DO NOT include "mashed" foods, such as mashed potato or avocado.

Adding More Calories

If you need to be on a full liquid diet for a long time, you can do some things to get more calories. Ask your doctor if you can eat these foods together to add calories:

  • Nonfat dry milk added to your drinks
  • Instant breakfast powder added to milk, puddings, custards, and milkshakes
  • Strained meats (like the ones in baby food) added to broths
  • Butter or margarine added to hot cereal and soups
  • Sugar or syrup added to beverages


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Care Manual: Full Liquid Diet. Available at: Accessed October 28, 2014.

Compass Group. Full liquid diet. In: Morrison. Manual of Clinical Nutrition Management. Available at: Accessed October 28, 2014.

Review Date: 10/28/2014
Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.