A clear liquid diet is made up of clear liquids and foods that are liquid at room temperature.

The clear liquid diet does not provide all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, or calories that your body needs. The goal of this diet is to provide liquids and part of the calories you need until you can eat solid food. Your body digests (breaks down) clear liquids easily. Sticking to a clear liquid diet may help you feel better until you can eat solid food. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much liquid you may have each day.

Starting Solid Foods

Healthcare providers will tell you when you can start to eat solid foods. You should not stay on the clear liquid diet for more than two or three days, unless your provider has told you to. Ask your provider, dietitian, or nutritionist any questions you may have about your diet plan.

Clear Liquid Diet Basics


  • Clear juices (such as apple, cranberry, or grape), strained citrus juices or fruit punch

  • Mild tea (without cream or milk)

  • Mineral, bubbly, or plain water

  • Clear soft drinks like ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or club soda (no cola or root beer)

  • Clear sports drinks

  • Iced tea

  • Lemonade

  • Coffee (without cream or milk)

  • Clear nutritional drinks like Ensure Clear® or Boost Breeze®


  • Clear broth or bouillon


  • Plain popsicles (avoid popsicles with pureed fruit or fiber in them)

  • Hard candy

  • Flavored gelatin, such as Jell-O® without fruit

  • Italian ice

  • Honey and sugar to sweeten

Sample Menu

Breakfast: One cup of juice, 3/4 cup of clear broth, one popsicle and one cup of herbal tea

Morning snack: One cup of a clear sports drink

Lunch: One-half of a cup of juice, 3/4 cup of clear broth, 3/4 cup of lemon-lime soda, 1/2 cup of flavored gelatin, and one cup of herbal tea

Afternoon snack: One cup of flavored gelatin

Evening meal: One-half of a cup of juice, 3/4 cup of clear broth, 3/4 cup of ginger ale, and ½ cup of flavored gelatin

Evening snack: One popsicle

Liquids to Avoid


  • Any drink that you cannot see through

  • Drinks with alcohol

  • Dairy products such as milk, hot cocoa, buttermilk, and cream

  • Fruit smoothies, nectars, fruit juices with pulp and prune juice

Who to Call

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.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.