Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Nov 2011

Diet supporting patient consumption - small meals - 6 day

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To provide smaller servings of main-meal food items and nourishing mid-meals, and spread dietary intakes evenly throughout the day.


This diet offers the same food choices as the small diet but extra items are provided at mid-meals.


Patients with reduced gastric capacity or appetite.

Nutritional adequacy

As hot main-meal items are the main source of protein, this diet has the potential to provide less energy and protein than the full diet, but should be adequate if nourishing mid-meals are provided.


Patients ordered this diet will require monitoring of their protein and energy intake; they may require supplements. It may not be possible to provide this diet at all sites, depending on the food service system used.

Examples of default food and drink specifications to encourage nutrient-dense choices are:

  • Breakfast: Cereal and milk and fruit +/- hot breakfast
  • AM: Half or whole sandwich + extras as desired + drink
  • Lunch: Hot main + vegetables + dessert (no fruit, sandwich or beverage)
  • PM: Cheese and biscuits + extras as desired + drink
  • Dinner: Soup and sandwich (no beverage)
  • Supper: Flavoured milk + extras as desired

Other high-energy mid-meals may also be suitable
(see Nutrition standards for adult inpatients in NSW hospitals, section 3.3)


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishesAll, but small (half) serves -
Sauces, gravies All -
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice All -
VegetablesAll, but single-scoop serves (approx 40g) -
Soups All -
SandwichesTwo or four points of sandwiches onlySix points or more
Salads, dressings All -
Breads, cereals All -
Spreads All -
Hot breakfast choices All -
Fruit All  
Yoghurt All -
Desserts All -
Milk and cheese All -
Beverages All -
Biscuits All -
Miscellaneous All -


  1. Agency for Clinical Innovation. Nutrition standards for adult inpatients in NSW hospitals. Sydney: ACI; 2011.
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