This information explains how to follow a minimal-fat diet. When following this diet, you limit how much fat you eat. There is no range of fat for this diet. The goal is to get your daily fat intake as close to zero grams (0) as possible.

Your doctor may prescribe this diet:

  • After certain abdominal surgeries
  • If there is a leak in the lymphatic system
  • If fatty fluid builds up in the abdomen (belly) or chest

Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to resume your regular diet.

Use this resource to help you choose the best foods to eat while you are on this diet. Also, be sure to check the Nutrition Facts label on packaged goods so that you know how much fat is in your food.

Key Points

  • Eat only foods with zero grams of fat.
  • Do not use any fat to prepare food, such as butter, margarine, or oil.
  • Use Teflon® nonstick pans to stop foods from sticking when you cook.
  • Use fat-free condiments, spices, herbs, garlic, and onions to flavor your food.

What to Eat on a Minimal-Fat Diet

Food Group

What to Eat

What to Avoid


  • Skim milk
  • Fat-free cultured or frozen yogurts
  • Fat-free cottage cheese
  • Other fat-free dairy products
  • Low-fat or whole-fat:
    • Milk
    • Yogurts
    • Puddings
    • Cheeses


  • Coffee (black or with fat-free half and half or skim milk)
  • Tea with lemon or skim milk
  • Soda
  • Juices
  • Fruit punch
  • Fat-free hot chocolate
  • Creamers
  • Coconut milk
  • Smoothies containing dairy products with fat (e.g., “regular” yogurt, ice cream, or milk)
  • Fruit beverages that should be avoided (see “What to Avoid” under “Fruits”)

Breads, Cereals, and Grains

  • Hot or cold cereals
  • Plain pasta
  • White rice
  • Rice noodles
  • Fat-free white bread
  • Fat-free varieties of Vita Muffins® and Vita Tops®
  • Fat-free rolls
  • Matzos
  • Zwieback
  • Fat-free crackers
  • Angel food cake
  • Fat-free cookies
  • Fat-free cakes
  • Any items containing nuts, seeds, or coconut
  • Doughnuts
  • Croissants
  • Pastries
  • Pies
  • Whole-grain products
  • Brown rice


  • Except for those fruits listed under “What to Avoid”, you may have all other fruit in these forms:
    • Fresh
    • Frozen
    • Jarred
    • Canned
    • Dried
  • Jellies
  • Jams
  • Juices
  • Coconut
  • Cherimoya
  • Dried figs
  • Papaws
  • Sapodillas
  • Sapotes
  • Any fruit with toppings containing fat such as whipped cream


  • Except for those vegetables listed under “What to Avoid”, you may have all others in these forms:
    • Fresh
    • Frozen
    • Jarred
    • Canned
    • Juiced
  • Boca Original Vegan Burger® and other fat-free veggie burgers
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Fat-free kidney beans, black beans, and pink beans
  • Any vegetables with:
    • Butter
    • Oil
    • Margarine
    • Sauces that contain fat
  • Olives
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Soybeans
  • Avocados
  • Jarred vegetables in oil

Meats and Poultry

  • Up to 2 servings a day of fat-free turkey breast or other packaged deli meats labeled fat-free
  • All others


  • None
  • All


  • Fat-free butter-type spreads (such as Promise® and “I Can't Believe It's Not Butter®”) limited to 2 servings a day
  • Medium-chain triglyceride oil (sold in pharmacies or health food stores)
    • As a salad dressing with vinegar or lemon juice
    • Mixed in fruit such as applesauce
    • To sauté food at low heat (not deep fry)
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • All oils
  • Cooking oil sprays
  • Regular salad dressings


  • Fat-free broth
  • Health Valley® soup cups
  • All others

Liquid Nutritional Supplements

  • Enlive® (Abbott)
  • Resource Breeze® (Nestlé)
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink®, powdered vanilla or strawberry mixed with skim milk
  • Ensure ClearTM (Abbott)
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast® ready-to-drink or powdered chocolate
  • All others containing fat


  • Ketchup
  • Fat-free mustard
  • Fat-free mayonnaise
  • Fat-free salsa​
  • Louisiana red hot sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Pickles
  • Pickle relish
  • Plain horseradish
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fat-free salad dressings
  • Molly McButter®, limited to 2 teaspoons a day
  • Regular or low-fat mayonnaise
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Olives
  • Peanut butter
  • Any items with added fat

Contact information for buying nutritional supplements

Abbott Nutrition
1-800-422-ASK2 (2752)


Sample Menus

To make the Double Milk in the sample menus:

  1. Combine 1 quart of skim milk with 1 envelope of nonfat, dry milk powder.
  2. Blend well and refrigerate.

Double Milk has twice the amount of calories and protein of skim milk.

Menu #1


  • Farina with skim or Double Milk
  • Resource Breeze® or Enlive® beverage
  • Dry toast with jelly
  • Coffee with fat-free half and half or skim milk


  • Fat-free black beans over white rice, topped with fat-free salsa and fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink® powder with skim milk or Double Milk
  • Fresh pineapple


  • Mixed green salad with fat-free dressing
  • Fat-free spaghetti with fat-free tomato sauce
  • Green beans prepared in fat-free broth
  • Toasted fat-free bread with garlic powder
  • Fruit juice
  • Fat-free frozen yogurt over angel food cake with maple syrup


  • Fat-free pretzels
  • Double Milk with fat-free chocolate syrup

Menu #2


  • Eggbeaters with fat-free salsa or ketchup
  • BlueBran VitaMuffinTM with strawberry jam
  • Fresh orange
  • Tea with lemon and honey


  • Fat-free cottage cheese with fruit
  • Zwieback with apricot jam
  • Strawberry Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink® with skim milk or Double Milk


  • Fat-free veggie burger with ketchup and mustard
  • Baked sweet potato with marshmallows
  • Homemade coleslaw (shredded cabbage, carrots, onions, fat-free mayonnaise, and vinegar)
  • Fat-free ice cream with fat-free chocolate syrup
  • Fruit juice


  • Fat-free yogurt