Patients & Visitors at Cardon Children's Medical Center  

Food & Nutrition Services


Cardon Children's Medical Center's Food & Nutrition staff works hard to provide meals that taste good and meet your specific nutritional needs. Your doctor may place you on a restricted diet such as those listed below.

If you have questions about your diet or the restrictions in your diet, ask your nurse to call one of the hospital's registered dietitians or a diet technician. Or you can may call the Diet Office directly at 412-3883.

The following terms can help you understand what you can and cannot eat during your hospital stay.

Regular or Unrestricted Diet
If you do not have specific diet needs, you will be able to plan your own meals from the hospital's menu. The hospital's dietitians recommend meals that have balanced nutrition, but whether you select a nutritionally balanced meal from our menu selections is up to you. If you would like help planning your meals, ask the nutrition representative who takes your meal order each day for help. If you would like Kosher or vegetarian meals, tell your nurse or a nutrition representative.

NPO is short for "nothing per oral" or "nothing by mouth." Doctors order this restriction for patients who will be having certain tests or surgery, and in some cases, for patients who are having trouble swallowing. We know NPO is uncomfortable, and we will try to get you eating and drinking again as soon as possible.

Clear Liquid Diet
A clear-liquid diet is usually the first step when a patient begins having food again after being on NPO. Most patients are on this diet for a short time. A clear-liquid diet includes liquids that are see-through at room temperature: apple, cranberry, and grape juices, coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, clear fruit drinks, Popsicles, gelatin, broth or bouillon, and plain hard candy are all allowed foods.

Full Liquid Diet
This diet is ordered for patients who have trouble digesting solid foods, or who have just had surgery. Foods allowed include all beverages, hot cereals (cream of wheat, oatmeal), custards, puddings, gelatin, ice cream, margarine, butter, eggnog, milk beverages, strained soups, broths, smooth yogurt, coffee, tea and juice.

Soft Diet
Foods in this diet are soft, easy to digest, low in roughage and mildly seasoned. A soft diet can include casseroles and whole meats (chicken breast, sliced beef and pork). The diet includes cooked vegetables and lettuce, but no other raw vegetables. Most fried foods, nuts, and fresh fruits other than bananas are not part of this diet because they can cause stomach and abdominal upset.

Mechanical Soft Diet
This diet of easy-to-chew and easy-to-swallow foods is for patients who have a hard time chewing or swallowing. Many foods can be made "easy-to-chew" if they are finely chopped or ground (even meat). Foods that can't be broken down by chopping or grinding and are not allowed in this diet, including any foods with seeds, nuts, raw fruits with skins, raw vegetables or foods with tough crusts.

Pureed Diet
This diet is for patients who cannot or should not chew foods. It includes all strained or pureed foods and liquids.

Sodium-Controlled Diet
This diet is used to help control high blood pressure and to control fluid retention and swelling. Sodium restrictions vary:

  • "No added salt," "4-gram sodium" or "no salt added" diet: The only modification from a normal diet is the elimination of the salt packet with a substitution of a salt free seasoning blend.
  • "3-gram sodium" or "liberal sodium restriction": This diet eliminates high-sodium processed foods, beverages, and canned vegetables.
  • "2-gram sodium" or "STRICT sodium restriction" diet: Foods to avoid are Gatorade, buttermilk, instant breakfast mixes, cocoa, salted snack crackers, chips, pretzels, bacon, salted gravies, luncheon meats, canned soups and vegetables.

Cardiac Diet
If you have heart disease, your doctor will probably recommend a moderate cholesterol, low saturated fat diet restricted in sodium to 3-4 grams a day. Ask the cardiac rehab nurse who visits you for more information.

Renal Diet
Patients who have kidney disease or changes in their kidney function can reduce the stress on their kidneys by adjusting their diets. The renal diet controls protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and fluid intake. You will be restricted to a half cup of milk at breakfast, one serving of fruit each meal, and one vegetable at lunch and dinner.

Carbohydrate Controlled (Diabetic Diet, Calorie Controlled)
This diet is for patients with diabetes or hyperglycemia and who need help managing their weight. It involves planning meals with consistent carbohydrates throughout the day to maintain blood glucose levels within acceptable levels to prevent long-term complications. Foods are prepared with no added sugar. Sugar substitute and low calorie foods are available on this diet.

Low Residue (Fiber Restricted)
This diet may be ordered for patients who have problems with bowel disease or after bowel surgery. Foods not allowed are most fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and bran, nuts, seeds and corn. Meats, most cooked vegetables, soft fruits and refined breads and cereals are allowed.

Precautions are ordered for patients who have a low neutrophil count and are more susceptible to infection. The diet eliminates foods that may have a high bacterial count. It allows any foods that have been cooked. Avoid fresh fruits, raw vegetables, garnishes and cured luncheon meats.

Lactose Controlled
This diet restricts lactose-containing foods to prevent symptoms in patients with a lactase deficiency. Foods that are avoided or limited are milk, ice cream, cream, half & half, sour cream, processed cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, and foods containing these items.

Your doctor may place you one or a combination of the following diets: Bland Diet, High Fiber Diet, Fat or Cholesterol Controlled Diet, or any combinations of these.

Cardon Children's Medical Center
1400 S. Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
(480) 412-KIDS (5437)
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