1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What You Can Eat On a Clear Liquid Diet

By

Updated February 17, 2014

A clear liquid diet includes only liquids that don't have any pulp, bits of food or any other residue. They may have a tint (like orange juice or cranberry juice), and they may be sweetened or a little salty, but you shouldn't see anything floating around in the liquid. They're easy to digest and don't put much stress on your digestive system.

Acceptable Clear Liquids

These fluids are usually allowed on a clear liquid diet, but you should check with your doctor to see if there are any additional restrictions.
  • Water
  • Apple juice
  • Grape juice
  • Cherry juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Cranberry blend fruit drinks
  • Lemonade (no pulp)
  • Fat-free clear chicken broth
  • Fat-free clear vegetable broth
  • Fat-free clear beef broth
  • Bouillon dissolved in water
  • Flavored gelatin
  • Coffee (no cream)
  • Tea (no cream)
  • Clear soft drinks
  • Popsicles that don't contain any fruits or ice cream
  • Sports drinks
  • Honey
  • Hard candies

You must avoid liquids that aren't clear, such as milk, cream, whipped cream, almond milk, soups (other than plain broth), fruit juice or lemonade that has pulp. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as well.

Sample Menu
I know this seems like a boring diet. It is, but it's only temporary. Here's an idea of what you can have.

Breakfast

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 dish flavored gelatin
Morning Snack
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 popsicle
  • 1 glass water
Lunch
  • 1 cup tea with honey
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 glass water
  • 1 dish of flavored gelatin
Afternoon Snack
  • 1 popsicle
  • 1 hard candy
  • 1 glass water
Dinner
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 glass water
  • 1 cup tea
  • 1 dish of flavored gelatin
Nighttime Snack
  • 1 cup grape juice
  • 1 hard candy

This is only an example menu. You can probably have more or less food, depending on your appetite.

Precautions

This isn't meant to be followed for more than a few days and only under supervision of your health care provider. Hopefully, you'll soon be able to switch to a full liquid diet. If you need to follow it for a longer period, he or she may add clear liquid supplements because a diet like this doesn't provide enough calories or nutrients.

One other thing to remember is that red-colored foods can make it look like you have bloody stools, and grape juice may turn stools green. You might want to keep track of the clear liquids you're eating in case your doctor needs to know.

Sources:

Maher AK. "Simplified Diet Menu." Eleventh Edition, Hoboken NJ, USA: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, October 2011.

Stanford Medicine Cancer Institute. "Clear Liquid Guidelines." Accessed June 5, 2013. http://cancer.stanford.edu/surgery/colorectal/clearLiquidDiet.html

 

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Nutrition

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.