Minimal-Fat Diet

This information explains how to follow a minimal-fat diet.

On a minimal-fat diet, you limit how much total fat you eat. There is no range of fat for this diet. The goal is to get your daily fat intake as close to 0 grams as possible.

Your doctor may prescribe this diet if your lymphatic system (the tissues and organs in your body that help fight infections) is leaking fluid. The leaked fluid can build up in your abdomen (belly) or chest. If you eat less fat, your lymphatic system will make less fluid and the leak may heal.

Use this resource to help you choose the best foods to eat while you’re on this diet. Also, be sure to check the nutrition labels on packaged foods so that you know how much fat is in your food.

Your healthcare provider will tell you when to go back to your regular diet.

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Key Points of a Minimal-Fat Diet

  • Eat only foods with 0 grams of fat.
  • Don’t 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 (such as ketchup and mustard), spices, herbs, garlic, and onions to flavor your food.
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What to Eat on a Minimal-Fat Diet

Food Group
Do Not Eat
  • Skim (fat-free) milk
  • Fat-free cultured or frozen yogurts
  • Fat-free cottage cheese
  • Other fat-free dairy products such as fat-free cheeses and fat-free ice cream
  • 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 with skim milk or water
  • Creamers
  • Coconut milk
  • Smoothies containing dairy products with fat (such as yogurt, ice cream, or milk)
  • Fruit beverages that should be avoided (see “Do Not Eat” under “Fruits”)
  • Non-dairy milk alternatives, such as almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, and oat milk
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® crackers
  • Fat-free crackers
  • Angel food cake
  • Fat-free cookies
  • Fat-free cakes
  • Any items with nuts, seeds, or coconut
  • Doughnuts
  • Croissants
  • Pastries
  • Pies
  • Whole-grain products
  • Brown rice
  • Except for those fruits listed under “Do Not Eat”, you can have all other fruits in these forms:
    • Fresh
    • Frozen
    • Jarred
    • Canned
    • Dried
  • Jellies
  • Jams
  • Juices
  • Coconut
  • Cherimoya
  • Dried figs
  • Papaws
  • Sapodillas
  • Sapotes
  • Avocado
  • Any fruit with toppings containing fat such as whipped cream
  • Except for those vegetables listed under “Do Not Eat”, 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 Other Proteins
  • Up to 6 ounces a day of fat-free turkey breast or other packaged deli meats labeled fat-free
  • Egg whites
  • Fat-free varieties of Eggbeaters®
  • 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 except for medium-chain triglyceride oil
  • Cooking oil sprays
  • Regular salad dressings
  • Fat-free broth
  • Health Valley® fat-free soups
  • All others
Liquid Nutritional Supplements
  • Boost Breeze® (Nestlé)
  • Carnation Breakfast Essentials®, powdered vanilla or strawberry mixed with skim milk
  • Ensure Clear (Abbott)
  • Carnation Breakfast Essentials® ready-to-drink or powdered chocolate
  • All others containing fat
  • Ketchup
  • Fat-free mustard
  • Fat-free mayonnaise
  • Fat-free salsa​
  • Louisiana “Original” Hot Sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Pickles
  • Pickle relish
  • Plain horseradish
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fat-free salad dressings
  • Molly McButter®, limited to 2 teaspoons a day
  • Fat-free pasta sauce
  • Marshmallows
  • Regular or low-fat mayonnaise
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Olives
  • Peanut butter
  • Any items with added fat
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Buying Nutritional Supplements

You can buy nutritional supplements at your local market or drug store. You can also order them online for home delivery.

Here is a list of companies you can order nutritional supplements from:

Abbott Nutrition


800-422-ASK2 (800-422-2752)

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Sample Menus

Double Milk

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

Menu 1


  • Farina with skim or Double Milk
  • Boost Breeze® or Ensure Clear 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 Breakfast Essentials® 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 VitaMuffin with strawberry jam
  • Fresh orange
  • Tea with lemon and honey


  • Fat-free cottage cheese with fruit
  • Zwieback with apricot jam
  • Strawberry Carnation Breakfast Essentials® powder 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
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