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Note: This article isn’t specific to LADA diabetes. In addition to my LADA diagnosis, I also have a couple of family members with Type II Diabetes, and I’ll sometimes write articles that aren’t specific to my LADA experience. This is one such article!
My husband has had to eat a soft diet due to dental surgery and he also has diabetes. It is challenging to meal plan because lots of soft foods are high in carbohydrates, and that’s not good for someone with diabetes.
We’ve solved this problem two ways. First, we’ve put together a list of soft foods that are low in carbohydrates that he can eat for meals or snacks. Our second solution is to cook up healthy homemade meals or low carb store bought ones, and put them through a food chopper or blender. This is more prep work, but allows for more variety in his diet. If you have to eat soft foods for an extended time period, I highly recommend a food chopper and/or blender because it expands meal possibilities! (We like this Black & Decker Food Chopper the best! It allows us to chop up just one meal at a time. The chopper bowl can be used to eat from, and it’s easy to clean.)
Whether you have a long term reason for needing soft foods, such as having tooth problems, or whether this is just a short term diet change due to wisdom teeth extraction or dental implants, I hope that these lists help you with your meal planning!
Soft Low Carb Food Ideas
- Hummus. Made from chickpeas, this is a healthful snack. It’s low in carbs. A serving size of 71 grams only has a net 8 carbs (11 carbs total minus 3 grams of fiber). This popular vegetarian food is available at most grocery stores, but sometimes can be expensive. We like to buy this at Costco, which usually has several flavors and costs less than other stores. If you have a food processor, it’s a food you may want to make at home to save costs. See this “Real Hummus recipe.”
- Cauliflower. This vegetable becomes very soft with cooking! “Riced cauliflower” has recently become a popular alternative to mashed potatoes. One cup only has 2 grams of carbs. You can buy fresh cauliflower and boil and mash it, or buy it frozen. Some grocery stores sell it frozen as “Riced cauliflower.” Cook it a little longer then the suggestion on the package and the “rice” texture will easier turn into a smooth “mashed” texture. Add cheese sauce or your favorite seasonings for a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. We often chop up some kind of meat (hamburger for example) and mix it in to make a complete dinner.
- Cottage Cheese. If you like cheese, try cottage cheese for a soft food. It’s low in carbs and high in protein. We often mix in seasonings, hot sauce, ketchup, etc. Some people like it with fruit – but you’ll likely need to blend fruit first to keep this an easy to eat snack, and keep in mind that fruit has sugar in it, which will raise the total carb count. So, if you can find a savory flavor you like to add instead, that might be better.
- Tuna. Mix with mayonnaise for a soft meal! Chunk light tuna has less mercury than albacore. We’ve been enjoying flavored tuna that comes in ready to eat packages by StarKist and Bumble Bee. Amazon has a good variety and sometimes cheaper prices than in the grocery store, especially when buying a case at a time — I like to be well stocked in case of an emergency so this appeals to me 🙂 My favorite flavor is the StarKist Hickory Smoked Tuna. This tuna is advertised as a high protein on the go snack, and it is a great choice for a low carb diet.
- Greek Yogurt (plain). Yogurt can have a lot of sugar in it, so always read the nutrition
label when buying. We’ve found that we can enjoy yogurt while keeping the sugar content low by purchasing plain greek yogurt and then mixing in a little honey or jam to sweeten it just enough. Yogurt is excellent for “gut health” as it has living bacteria that’s good for you! Learn more about probiotics in yogurt and why yogurt is good for you.
- Eggs – scrambled. 1 large egg has virtually no carbs (less than a gram), while it contains 6 grams of protein. I’ve found that a diet high in protein helps keep my blood glucose more stable. Scrambled eggs are easy to make, and can be served with ketchup!
- Eggs – hard boiled and mashed. Buy a dozen eggs, because there are many ways to serve them! We like to cook them hard boiled and then mash them up, into an “egg salad” consistency. But, to keep it soft, we do egg salad without the hard onion. Instead, we use onion powder, and other spices like garlic, mesquite spicing, etc. Mix with mayo and a bit of mustard! Add salt and pepper, or try a low or no salt seasoning.
- Avocado or Guacamole. Avocados are rich in fiber and oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that is good for your heart! Many people eat guacamole as a snack food with potato chips, but this isn’t necessary. It can be eaten all on its own, or used on bread instead of butter. Of course, bread is going to increase the carb count, and bread is not necessarily soft… So you may need to brainstorm a way to make avocados a part of your diet! I consider them to be a good breakfast food. I like eating slices of avocado with my eggs. Read more about the health benefits of avocados here or follow a guacamole recipe.
- Fish. Do you like fish? Often it is soft enough that it can be eaten after some good fork mashing. If the fish is breaded or has a panko coating, then there is some carbs, but may not be a high count depending on the recipe.
- Refried Beans. The grocery store sells canned beans in several different ways (for example: baked beans, chili beans), but refried beans are the easiest choice for a soft food diet. Add some melted cheese, salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream! They aren’t carb free, but they are high in fiber, making the net carb count low (when counting carbs, subtract the fiber from the total carb count).
Expand your meal possibilities by chopping up food.
What do you love to eat? Can you chop it up?
Basically the trick to a meal “chopping up well” is
1) cutting it up into small portions prior to running it through a food chopper
2) adding water OR sauce if necessary.
Add enough water, and anything will chop up. But the texture may not always be ideal!
It’s probably going to be a process of trial and error for you. I highly recommend this Black & Decker Food Chopper.