Clear Liquid Diet Foods

by Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

About Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

Michele Turcotte is a registered, licensed dietitian, and a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and corporate settings, and has extensive experience in one-on-one diet counseling and meal planning. She has written freelance food and nutrition articles for Trouve Publishing Inc. since 2004.



A clear liquid diet is a temporary diet and may be prescribed by your doctor for use before or after certain medical procedures. Clear liquids leave no undigested residue in the gastrointestinal tract. The clear liquid diet must maintain vital body minerals and fluids. It should only be used for a few days because it does not provide enough calories, protein and other nutrients. The list of foods you can eat on a clear liquid diet is quite restrictive.


There are many beverages allowed on a clear liquid diet; in fact, the diet is mostly made up of beverages. As long as they are clear, any liquid is allowed. Examples of clear liquid beverages appropriate for this diet include plain water; certain fruit juices without pulp, such as grape, apple or cranberry juice; lemonade; and fruit punch. Clear sodas; coffee or tea, without milk or cream; and sports drinks are allowed.

Food Items

As the name indicates, this is a liquid diet, but there are some items beyond juices or water which are appropriate for "meals." These items include soup substitutes or clear broths, such as bouillon or consommé; plain gelatin; honey; frozen ice pops; fruit ice or Italian ice and clear hard candies. A typical clear liquid meal may include one glass each of fruit juice and water; one cup of broth; one bowl of gelatin and a frozen ice pop. In place of water, you may choose hot tea flavored with honey and lemon, but without lemon pulp.


According to the Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology website, there are some physician-approved low-residue clear liquid diet supplements available to add nutrition to a traditional clear liquid diet. While not required, if this diet must be adhered to for longer than three days, these supplements may be beneficial. There are high-protein gelatins and high-calorie, low-residue juice beverages, usually available at hospitals or medical centers, that may be used to supplement this low-calorie diet.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or