Managing a Clear Liquid Diet

The following blog provides general dietary guidelines for a Clear Liquid Diet and should not replace the specific guidelines given to you by your physician for your specific medical procedure. Please follow your physician’s plan.

When is a Clear Liquid Diet Recommended?

If you are heading to the operating room, recovering from surgery or going for a specific medical procedure, your Doctor may recommend a Clear Liquid Diet. The aim of the diet is to clear out your stomach and intestines before a procedure or allow it to recover after a procedure. If you are heading into a colonoscopy (looking at your colon through a scope) your doctor will also ask you to go on a Liquid Diet the day before your procedure . With a colonoscopy you will also be asked to cut out liquids that are red in color.

Clear Liquid CollageWhat can I have on a Clear Liquid Diet?

The Clear liquid Diet is very limited and because it is so low-calorie and devoid of all nutrition (except sugar) it is only recommended for very short periods of time. The diet consists of basically water, gelatin, sports drinks, white sorbet, clear soda or broth. These liquids can provide a few electrolytes in the form of sodium or in the case of apple juice, white cranberry juice and sports drinks, some potassium as well. Note, this is not a Liquid Diet...This is a Clear Liquid Diet which is very specific and more restrictive.

What should I purchase for a Clear Liquid Diet?

To help you plan your diet, here is a shopping list of foods allowed on a Clear Liquid Diet, which you can get a few days before your procedure. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Here is an excellent SHOPPING LIST of Clear Liquids which are allowed on a Clear Liquid Diet from the Mayo Clinic.

  • Water (plain, carbonated or flavored)
  • Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple or white grape
  • Fruit-flavored beverages, such as clear fruit punch or lemonade, not red
  • Carbonated drinks, including dark sodas (cola and root beer), not red
  • Gelatin, not red
  • Tea or coffee without milk or cream
  • Sports drinks, not red
  • Clear, fat-free broth (bouillon or consommé)
  • Honey or sugar
  • Hard candy, such as lemon drops or peppermint rounds
  • Ice pops without milk, bits of fruit, seeds or nuts, not red

Any foods not on the above list should be avoided.

What does a full-day diet plan on a Clear Liquid Diet look like, 24 hours before a medical procedure?


  • 1 glass pulp-free fruit juice (apple , white cranberry) ClearLiquid Ocean Spray
  • 1 bowl gelatin, not red
  • 1 cup of coffee or tea, without dairy products
  • Sugar or honey, if desired


  • 1 glass fruit juice (pulp-free), not red
  • 4 oz gelatin, not red


  • 1 glass pulp-free fruit juice, not red
  • 1 glass water
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 bowl gelatin, not red


NOTE: At this time you may continue with clear liquids or you may be asked to follow a specific plan from your doctor.


  • 1 cup pulp-free juice or water, not red
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 bowl lemon sorbet, not red
  • 1 cup herbal tea, without dairy products
  • Sugar or honey, if desired

Though this Clear Liquid Diet seems daunting, it’s doable. Shop early for your clear liquids, make beverages nice and cold with added ice chips and carry them with you in bottles and containers if you are on the go. Portable apple and grape juice boxes, as well as jello cups, can be found in handy packaging at the children’s juice section and refrigerated pudding sections of your grocery store. You could even grab an ice pop and sports drink at a convenience store if you are out and about.

If you have questions about this article, Clear Liquid Diets or any other dietary needs, please feel free to contact Emma for your Expert Nutritional Personal, Professional, Team Building or Corporate needs. Contact Emma Fogt here.