Diced Consistency Diet
(Comparable to National Dysphagia Diet Level 3)
What is the diced consistency diet?
Foods on this diet are moist, soft, and are easy to swallow. Meats are ground or finely diced into
pieces that are no larger than ¼ inch. Food should not be runny or sticky.
How to Prepare Diced Meat and Vegetables
All food must be in pieces that are smaller than ¼ inch. The picture below will help you see how
small the pieces of food should be.
Why is this diet safer for me?
Your doctor wants you to follow this diet because of dysphagia or another medical condition.
Dysphagia means a person has difficulties swallowing. This can happen for a variety of reasons,
but often times it is the result of a stroke, injury, or disease. This diet is the next step in moving
from eating diced food to more solid food.
What about mixtures of liquids and solids like soups and canned fruits?
Thin liquids go down very quickly, but solids require chewing. While you are busy chewing, the
thin liquid is at risk to go down your throat before you can protect your windpipe and it can go
into your lungs. So it is safer to do one consistency at a time. Refer to the table on the next page
to see what foods are and are not safe.
Safe Foods Foods to Avoid Thin liquids
Yogurt (smooth or fruited)
Thin sliced or small cubed cheese
Diced (1/4 inch) or ground tender
cooked meat and poultry
moistened with gravy
Baked, soft cooked fin fish or
Casseroles with ground or ¼ inch
diced meat and tender vegetables
such as beef stew and chicken ala
Tuna or egg salad without large
chunks of celery or other raw
Cold cuts, sausage,
with large chunks of
food or nuts,
Vegetables Soft cooked, minced vegetables,
squash, legumes, potatoes
Canned green beans
Raw or hard stringy
Canned drained fruits
Soft, ripe bananas
Hard fresh fruits, dried
fruit, fruits with skins,
seeds or pits, pineapple
Cream of wheat, cream of rice,
Soft pancakes with syrup
Thin slice French toast with syrup
Slightly moistened dry cereal with
White or wild rice,
Muffins, breads, rolls,
muffins, bread with
nuts or seeds, saltine
Milk or cream
Soup Any cream soup strained or put in
Broth based soups that have been
put in a blender.
Large chucks of food in
Desserts Custards, pudding, rice pudding or
Cakes; soft cookies; pies
gelatin, desserts with
nuts, seeds, sticky
caramels or dried fruit
Beverages Beverages that are a safe liquid
thickness for you.
Tip: Beverages may need to be
Safe Foods Foods to Avoid Thin liquids
Other Butter; margarine, oils, or
Smooth cream cheese
Salad dressings, mayonnaise,
Salt, pepper, herbs, spices,
Honey, jelly, jams and preserves
Sugar, syrup, molasses
Horseradish, chili sauce
Sauces and salsa that have small
tender chunks smaller than ¼
Soft, smooth chocolate bars
Cream cheese with
chunks such as nuts,
seeds, nuts, coconuts,
sticky foods, hard or
chewy candies or
candy with nuts
Adapted from the American Dietetic Association Nutrition Care Manual: National Dysphagia
Diet Task Forces. Nation Dysphagia Diet-Standardization for Optimal Care. Chicago, IL:
American Dietetic Association; 2002: 10-12.
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone
numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital
(AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department
of Nursing. HF#459