butternut squash soup is part of a GI Gentle diet

The GI Gentle diet is a moderate fiber, soft textured diet that may benefit people with a variety of digestive concerns. Modifying the amount AND particle size of fiber consumed can help to alleviate symptoms that occur after meals such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, cramping or distention. 

The texture and particle size of dietary fiber influences how much physical space it takes up in the gut, so modifying these factors can make your food less irritating to hypersensitive, over-full or inflamed GI tracts. 

Main principles of the GI Gentle Diet: 

  • Consume smaller, more frequent meals instead of 3 large meals daily  
  • Try to get most of your fiber from well-cooked vegetables, ripe skinless fruits and well cooked grains instead of coarse, leafy green vegetables, stringy fruits/vegetables or those with lots of seeds/skins 
  • Choose moist, more tender meats or eggs for protein
  • Select soft, smooth breads and grains over crusty or seedy loaves 
  • Include liquid meals such as soups or smoothies in your meal rotation often 
  • Instead of whole nuts or beans, select smooth nut butters & bean spreads 
  • Moderate the amount of fiber in your diet based on your personal tolerance levels- limit cooked vegetables to ⅓ of your plate and adjust up or down from there as needed 

For those with concerns related to delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis), additionally: 

  • Eat lower fat meals and avoid fried foods to prevent delays in stomach emptying 
  • Choose chewable vitamins over large pills if you take supplements
Not Recommended: Recommended: 
3 large meals 5-6 smaller, more frequent meals 
Apples, berries, grapes, pineapple, persimmons, dried fruit Applesauce, baked apples (without skin) seedless melon, banana, ripe mango, papaya, peaches, pears nectarines

Fruit smoothies (berries blended into a smoothie are acceptable) 
Large, entree-sized salads (romaine, iceberg lettuce), celery, raw cabbage (ie. slaws) Cooked beets, avocado, small salads made with baby greens (if tolerated), peeled/seeded cucumber, skinless roasted peppers, steamed carrots 
Fibrous vegetables that retain their texture even when cooked such as broccoli rabe, kale, parsnips, eggplant with the skin (skin off may be tolerated), skins of potatoes, very dense and high fiber soups such as lentil or split pea Soft, well cooked vegetables: chopped spinach, squash, zucchini, green beans, jarred roasted peppers, cooked carrots, cooked beets, cooked cauliflower, asparagus tips, well cooked broccoli florets, diced/minced mushrooms 

Vegetable based soups (small amount of beans in the soup is acceptable) such as minestrone, pureed soups such as butternut squash soup or carrot ginger 

Ripe avocado 

Crusty and/or seeded rustic breads Whole wheat sandwich bread (refined texture, no seeds) or other fine-crumbled breads 
Trail mix with nuts & dried fruit or nutty bars such as KIND Bars Ripe banana and smooth peanut butter, pb & j made with smooth peanut butter (or PB2), softer bars such as Larabar, Rx Bars or GoMacro Bars 
Popcorn Baked potato chips or tortilla chips, pita chips, pop chips, pretzels 
Bran based cereals/other high fiber cereal with >6 g fiber/serving (ie. Fiber One, Kashi Go Lean, Shredded Wheat) 
Cooked cereals such as instant oatmeal, cream of buckwheat, cream of wheat/farina, cream of rice, grits

Refined texture, moderate fiber and/or flake cereals (ie. Cheerios, Total, Life, Barbara’s Puffins, Chex, Wheaties), rice cakes 

Yogurt with a sprinkle of cereal for crunch 
Fatty/tough cuts of meat such as steakFried meat/chicken/fish Dry grilled chicken breastLean cold cuts (turkey, chicken, ham, roast beef)

Tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad  (if fat is a concern, prepare with low fat mayo)

Stewed and braised meatsLean meatballs (turkey, veal), meatloaf

Roast chicken or chicken thighs


Scrambled or poached eggs


Meal & Snack ideas on the GI Gentle diet


  • Fruit smoothie (low fat kefir/ Greek yogurt, berries, banana, mango, peach etc..)
  • Toast with mashed avocado +/- turkey bacon, egg, sliced tomato
  • Waffles or pancakes with fresh soft fruit (melon, bananas)
  • Yogurt with soft ripe fruit
  • Moderate fiber cereal (see list above) in milk, plus soft ripe fruit
  • Eggs or veggie omelet (veggies well diced) with toast or breakfast potatoes
  • Lox and cream cheese on bread of choice


  • Sandwiches (PB&J, tuna salad, turkey, ham, chicken…)
  • Sushi/miso soup
  • Soup and ½ sandwich
  • Cooked grain or potato/sweet potato with well-cooked veggies and lean protein (listed above)
  • Pasta/noodles with cooked veggies and a lean protein
  • Stews/chilis or crock pot dishes (preferably with lower fat proteins)
  • Tofu/vegetable stir fry with rice
  • Turkey burger or veggie burger with baked sweet potato wedges


  • Yogurt 
  • Lowfat puddings 
  •  Hummus and peeled/seeded cucumber or pita
  •  Lara bar, GoMacro bar or Rx bar 
  • Banana with 1 tbsp smooth nut butter
  • Soup or a smoothie 
  • String cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Packet of instant oatmeal or grits
  • Sliced turkey with pickles
  •  ½ avocado alone or on crackers or guacamole with crackers
  •  Rice cake with 1 TBSP peanut butter
  •  Roasted seaweed snacks
  • Popsicles, frozen fruit bars