A clear liquid diet:
- Includes clear liquids that are easy to digest and absorb
- Does not leave any undigested food material in the intestinal tract
- Provides fluids, some calories, and nutrients
- Does not provide adequate nutrition and should not be followed for more than a few days
Your child might need a clear liquid diet for a few days before or after a surgical procedure or medical test.
- Due to nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Due to intolerance of solid foods
Offering choices can make a clear liquid diet easier to follow.
You can adjust the temperature, texture, and flavor to add variety. Choose options that your child likes.
- Plain water
- Flavored water
- Clear fruit juice
- Sparkling juice
- Clear soda
- Electrolyte drink
- Sports drink
- Caffeine-free iced tea
- By spoon
- Water ice (no fruit bits)
- Finger food
- Flavored gelatin
- Fruit popsicle (no fruit bits)
- Caffeine-free tea (black, green, herbal)
- Honey lemon water
- By spoon
- Vegetable broth
- Chicken or beef broth
Avoid using these ingredients:
- Fiber and milk are not part of a clear liquid diet.
- Caffeine, lactose, prune and pear juices, and sugar alcohols (erythritol, glycerol, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol) can lead to increased stooling.
Add fruit, vegetables, or herbs to filtered water. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to infuse. Then strain and keep in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
- Fruit (fresh or frozen chunks or slices): citrus, berry, melon, mango, kiwi, pineapple, peach
- Fresh vegetable: cucumber
- Fresh herb or spice (gently smash to release flavor): basil, mint, rosemary, fennel, star anise, sliced ginger
Add an ounce of clear fruit juice to seltzer or ginger ale. Try a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
- Cranberry, white grape, and apple juices are all clear.
Steep a caffeine-free tea bag in hot water and enjoy hot, warm, or over ice. To make sparkling tea, try adding a tea bag to seltzer.
- Use green, black, chai, ginger, fruit (peach, mango, passion fruit), white, mint, chamomile tea.
- Add honey or lemon to taste.
- Steep with cinnamon stick, ginger slices, anise, whole cloves.
Flavored gelatin (by spoon)
- Sprinkle 2 envelopes (1/4 ounce, each) gelatin over 1 cup clear juice in a glass bowl.
- Bring 3 cups clear juice to a boil, then pour over juice and gelatin mixture.
- Stir until gelatin dissolves completely.
- Pour into 5-ounce juice glasses and refrigerate 4 hours, until firm.
Flavored vegan gel
Bring 1 ½ teaspoon agar flakes (or ¾ teaspoon agar powder), 8 ounces 100% fruit juice, 8 ounces water, and ¼ cup granulated sugar to a boil, stirring often. Boil for 2 minutes.
Pour into serving bowls or glasses. Refrigerate 4 hours, until firm.
Flavored gelatin (finger food)
- Sprinkle 2 envelopes (1/4 ounce, each) gelatin over 1/2 cup water in a glass bowl.
- Boil 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons sugar; stir to dissolve sugar and pour over gelatin mixture.
- Stir in clear juice, then pour mixture into 8-inch square pan and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
- Once firm, cut in 1-inch cubes and serve.
Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
Can use homemade, from bouillon, or commercially prepared. Try adding flavor while warming the broth:
- Herbs: sprigs of fresh herbs - steep for a few minutes, then strain
- Ginger lemon: sliced ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Turmeric: sliced or dried turmeric, pinch of cumin, squeeze of lime juice
- Bring 1 cup water and ½ cup honey to a boil.
- Stir in 3 cups pulp-free fruit juice.
- Pour into a bowl. Freeze 3 hours, stirring every 15 minutes with a whisk or fork.
- Or, to make popsicles, pour into molds and freeze until firm.