Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published: March 2017. Next review: 2024.

Texture modified diet - soft - dental

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 softer-textured foods that can be easily chewed, requiring minimal biting.


Foods in this category may be naturally softer, or cooked to alter texture. Food should be moist, easily crumbled or served with a sauce or gravy to increase moisture content.


  • poor dentition or no dentures
  • painful mouth, gums or tongue (e.g. mouth ulcers, or following surgery of the mouth).

This diet may be ordered for geriatric patients who are unable to manage a full diet but do not need minced or pureed food.

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate.


All foods to be naturally soft, slightly firm but not tough or stringy, and without gristle or bone. Not designed for patients with Dysphagia (see Soft - Dysphagia).


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

 Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes

Soft dishes (e.g. casseroles, macaroni cheese, lasagne, crepes, quiche with crumbly base, cottage pie)

Tender sliced roast meats

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

Poached, crumbed or fried fish, fish cakes, tuna / salmon mornay

Meat with gristle

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

Dishes with crisp topping

Sauces, gravies All others Sauces with hard pieces e.g. peppercorn sauce
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice All cooked starchy vegetables, pasta, noodles and rice Crispy or crunchy vegetables

Cooked vegetables

Raw tomato, tinned beetroot or asparagus

Raw crisp or crunchy vegetables
Soups All -

Soft sandwiches with allowed ingredients

Use moist fillings (e.g. diced or shaved chicken or ham, tender sliced roast meats, salmon, tuna, egg with mayonnaise)

Sandwiches with hard fillings or raw crispy or crunchy vegetables

Bread with seeds or grains

Salads, dressings Salads using allowed ingredients -
Breads, cereals

Sliced bread and toast (white or wholemeal)

Fruit bread

Rolled oats, semolina, cold breakfast cereals moistened with milk


Unprocessed bran

Breads and bread rolls with seeds and grains

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

Cereals with dried fruit or seeds

Spreads All -
Hot breakfast choices All eggs and omelettes, baked beans, canned spaghetti, creamed corn, sausages, mushrooms All others (e.g. bacon

Canned or stewed fruit

Soft fresh fruit e.g. bananas, pawpaw, oranges, mandarins

Chopped soaked prunes


Other hard or unripe fresh fruit (e.g. apple)

Dried fruit


All yoghurt without dried fruit, hard nuts or seeds

Yoghurt-like desserts (e.g. Frûche®)


All milk-based soft desserts


Ice-cream, jelly

Jellied fruit

Any desserts or cakes with hard pastry, dried fruit or nuts
Milk and cheese All others Cheese with dried fruit or nuts
Beverages All -
Biscuits Easily crumbled biscuits and crackers e.g. shortbread, cream biscuits

Hard biscuits and crackers (e.g. Anzac biscuits, Ginger Nut)

Biscuits and crackers with dried fruit, nuts or seeds


Liquid or pudding nutritional supplements


Salt, pepper, cream, sugar and sweetener

Nuts, seeds


  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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