Clear Liquid Diet

The clear liquid diet consists of foods that are liquid or will become liquid at room temperature. Examples of foods allowed on a clear liquid diet include fruit juice, broth or bouillon, gelatin, or frozen ice pops. You should be able to see through the liquid.

The purpose of this diet is to provide the necessary fluids, electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium), and energy to keep the body functioning during times when you are not able to consume a regular diet. A clear liquid diet should not be continued for long periods of time, as it is not nutritionally adequate.

A CLEAR LIQUID DIET MAY BE NEEDED:

  • When a sudden-onset (acute) condition occurs before or after surgery.  

  • As the first step in oral feeding.  

  • For fluid and electrolyte replacement in diarrheal diseases.  

  • As a diet before certain medical tests are performed.  

ADEQUACY

The clear liquid diet is adequate only in ascorbic acid, according to the Recommended Dietary Allowances of the National Research Council.

CHOOSING FOODS

 Breads and Starches 

  • Allowed:  None are allowed.  

  • Avoid: All are to be avoided.  

 Vegetables 

  • Allowed:  Strained vegetable juices.  

  • Avoid: Any others.  

 Fruit 

  • Allowed:  Strained fruit juices and fruit drinks. Include 1 serving of citrus or vitamin C-enriched fruit juice daily.  

  • Avoid: Any others.  

 Meat and Meat Substitutes 

  • Allowed:  None are allowed.  

  • Avoid: All are to be avoided.  

 Milk Products 

  • Allowed:  None are allowed.  

  • Avoid: All are to be avoided.  

 Soups and Combination Foods 

  • Allowed:  Clear bouillon, broth, or strained broth-based soups.  

  • Avoid: Any others.  

 Desserts and Sweets 

  • Allowed:  Sugar, honey. High-protein gelatin. Flavored gelatin, ices, or frozen ice pops that do not contain milk.  

  • Avoid: Any others.  

 Fats and Oils 

  • Allowed:  None are allowed.  

  • Avoid: All are to be avoided.  

 Beverages 

  • Allowed: Cereal beverages, coffee (regular or decaffeinated), tea, or soda at the discretion of your health care provider.  

  • Avoid: Any others.  

 Condiments 

  • Allowed:  Salt.  

  • Avoid: Any others, including pepper.  

 Supplements 

  • Allowed:  Liquid nutrition beverages that you can see through.  

  • Avoid: Any others that contain lactose or fiber.

SAMPLE MEAL PLAN

Breakfast

  • 4 oz (120 mL) strained orange juice.

  • ½ to 1 cup (120 to 240 mL) gelatin (plain or fortified).

  • 1 cup (240 mL) beverage (coffee or tea).

  • Sugar, if desired.

Midmorning Snack

  • ½ cup (120 mL) gelatin (plain or fortified).

Lunch

  • 1 cup (240 mL) broth or consommé.

  • 4 oz (120 mL) strained grapefruit juice.

  • ½ cup (120 mL) gelatin (plain or fortified).

  • 1 cup (240 mL) beverage (coffee or tea).

  • Sugar, if desired.

Midafternoon Snack

  • ½ cup (120 mL) fruit ice.

  • ½ cup (120 mL) strained fruit juice.

Dinner

  • 1 cup (240 mL) broth or consommé.

  • ½ cup (120 mL) cranberry juice.

  • ½ cup (120 mL) flavored gelatin (plain or fortified).

  • 1 cup (240 mL) beverage (coffee or tea).

  • Sugar, if desired.

Evening Snack

  • 4 oz (120 mL) strained apple juice (vitamin C-fortified).

  • ½ cup (120 mL) flavored gelatin (plain or fortified).

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your child's condition.

  • Will get help right away if your child is not doing well or gets worse.