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Clear Liquid Diet

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KEY POINTS

  • A clear liquid diet means that your child drinks only liquids that you can see through.
  • A clear liquid diet is used only for a short time because it does not provide enough nutrition and calories to stay healthy.

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What is a clear liquid diet?

A clear liquid diet means that your child drinks only liquids that you can see through. Clear liquids are easy for the body to absorb. This diet allows your child’s digestive system to rest and provides fluids and energy when your child can't follow a normal diet.

When is it used?

Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend a clear liquid diet to help:

  • Rest the digestive system when your child has a lot of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Prevent dehydration
  • Prepare for a colonoscopy or surgery on the intestines
  • Recover from surgery

A clear liquid diet is used only for a short time because it does not provide enough nutrition and calories to stay healthy.

What can my child have on a clear liquid diet?

Drinks

  • Sports drinks or flavored waters that you can see through (no red or purple)
  • Fruit juice such as apple, white grape, or lemonade without pulp (no tomato, orange, or grapefruit juice)
  • Water
  • Tea or coffee with sugar or honey (NO milk or creamers)
  • Clear soft drinks such as ginger ale, lemon, or lime (no colas or sodas that are orange, blue, or red)
  • Clear nutrition drinks such as Boost Breeze Tropical Juice or Ensure Clear

If your child has a lot of vomiting or diarrhea, your healthcare provider may recommend an oral rehydration solution (ORS), which is a drink that replaces liquids and minerals. You can buy an ORS at drug and grocery stores.

Soups

  • Chicken, beef, vegetable broth or bouillon without meats, noodles, rice, beans, or vegetables

Desserts

  • Hard candies that are not red or purple
  • Plain Jell-O or other gelatin
  • Popsicles or lemon ice, but no sherbets, sorbets, fruit bars, or anything that contains pieces of fruit

Avoid

  • Milk, shakes, or smoothies
  • Fruit toppings, whipped cream, or nondairy toppings such as Cool Whip
  • Oatmeal or other cooked cereal
  • All meats, fats, bread or grain products, vegetables, and fruits other than clear juices
  • Drinks that contain alcohol
Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-08-30
Last reviewed: 2019-08-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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