Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Mar 2017

Texture modified diet - soft - dysphagia

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


To provide a diet of soft-textured foods that can be easily chewed, requiring minimal biting, for patients with dysphagia.


Texture A – soft. Foods in this category may be naturally soft, or cooked or cut up to alter texture. Food should be easily broken up with a fork or be served cut up to a target maximum particle size of 1.5 x 1.5cm. Foods should be easily broken up in the mouth with minimal chewing required. Food should be moist or served with a sauce or gravy to increase moisture content. This diet texture can be applied to any portion size and most therapeutic diets.


  • for patients with swallowing difficulties

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate, but may be low in dietary fibre. Patients ordered this diet should be monitored regularly to ensure adequate dietary intake.


All foods to be naturally soft, minced or mashed, slightly firm but not tough or stringy, and without rind, gristle or bone. This diet is not necessarily a light diet (ie it can be spicy). All beverages, sauces and gravies must be thickened to the appropriate level for individuals also prescribed thickened fluids. Patients suitability for bread needs to be considered on a case by case basis by a Speech Pathologist.


Suitable for use in paediatrics (for children aged 5 years old or more) when combined with an age-appropriate diet. Not suitable for children under 5 years of age (refer to Paediatric Diet Specifications).

Specific menu planning guidelines

Note: This is a general guide - specific items require approval by Speech Pathologists.

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes

Soft dishes that can be mashed with a fork
(e.g. tuna / salmon mornay, soft macaroni cheese, flaked fish, cottage pie, tofu)

Soft dishes cut up (e.g. lasagne, smooth quiche
with crumbly base, fish cakes, crêpes)

Roasts meats to be diced and served with gravy

Well-cooked legumes (e.g. baked beans)

Sliced roasted meats or grills
Meat with gristle

Crumbed or fried fish

Dishes with hard pastry or a hard base (e.g. pizza)

Casseroles with large pieces (e.g. curried prawns)

Dishes with crisp topping

Sauces, gravies All -
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice

Well cooked vegetables without skin

Mashed and scalloped potato

Chopped pasta or well-cooked rice with plenty of sauce

Crispy or crunchy vegetables (e.g. roasted, baked or deep fried)

Jacket or boiled new potatoes with skin

Rice or pasta (if dry)


Most vegetables, if soft enough to mash with fork

Soft canned vegetables

Raw vegetables

Fibrous vegetables (e.g. corn, celery, broccoli stalks)

SoupsAll others (may contain soft pieces e.g. pasta) Soups with hard or large pieces of meat or hard vegetables e.g. corn kernels


Salads, dressingsSalads using allowed ingredients e.g. potato salad All others e.g. garden salad
Breads, cereals

Rolled oats, semolina, cold breakfast cereals
moistened with milk, soft pancakes

Unprocessed bran may be stirred into moist cereal to increase fibre

All bread

Hard cereals that do not soften easily (e.g. toasted muesli)

Cereals with nuts, dried fruit or seeds (e.g. Sultana Bran®, Just Right®)

Spreads All -
Hot breakfast choicesEggs (except fried), baked beans, canned spaghetti, creamed cornAll others (e.g. fried egg, bacon, sausages)

Cut up canned or stewed fruit

Soft ripe fresh fruit e.g. bananas, pawpaw, chopped soaked prunes.

Other fresh fruit and dried fruit

Grapes, canned pineapple, stewed rhubarb

YoghurtAll yoghurt and yoghurt-like desserts (e.g.
Fruche®) (including those with soft fruit)
Yoghurt with seeds, nuts, muesli or hard pieces of fruit

Milk-based soft desserts (e.g. custards, mousses, cut up trifle, creamy rice, puddings)

Moist cakes (sauce, custard, cream etc. may be



Jellied fruit (with small fruit pieces)

Any desserts with hard pastry

Dry cakes without custard, cream
or sauce

Cake with dried fruit, nuts seeds or coconut

Milk and cheese

All milk

Cottage cheese, ricotta, camembert, soft cheddar (grated or soft cheese slices)

Hard cheeses

Crisp cooked cheese topping on hot dishes

Beverages All -
Biscuits None -

Liquid or pudding Nutrition supplements

Soft smooth chocolate

Cream, pepper, salt, sugar, sweetener

Nuts, seeds and coconut

Hard lollies


  1. Dietitians Association of Australia. Nutrition manual. 9th ed. Canberra: DAA; 2014.
  2. Dietitians Association of Australia and The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Ltd. Texture-modified foods and thickened fluids as used for individuals with dysphagia: Australian standardised labels and definition. Nutrition & Dietetics 2007;64 Suppl 2:S53-76.
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