The Post-Tonsillectomy Diet

Eating Foods After Tonsils Removed

The tonsillectomy diet can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the nutrition derived from solid foods is essential for out overall health and recovery from tonsillectomy surgery. The very act of swallowing also helps the throat recover. On the other hand, pushing foods past the raw and tender area of the tonsil beds after they’ve been cut and in many cases cauterized, can cause excruciating pain and, even bleeding. We need to go slow.

tonsillectomy diet recipes

Eating After Tonsils Removed


Liquids: The best friend of any tonsillectomy diet

Liquids. Let’s start here. Since you’ll be drinking at least 8 ounces per hour during  tonsillectomy recovery. Put some thought into what you want.   Sport drinks are good. They provide electrolytes and needed calories. Since most of the calories are from sugar, you’ll want to try some other drinks too. Avoid anything acidic, caffeinated, dairy, or thick for the first week. I was amazed by how many things I drank went down like battery acid or left a troublesome film on my throat. (tonsil bed) Water is always good, but it’s hard to stay interested in it. I also enjoyed chicken and beef broths. Don’t heat them beyond, “fairly warm.” Hot has an inflammatory effect on tonsil area tissue.

how to make peanut butter smoothies

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Recipe

Gelatin was the first thing I was given to begin eating after tonsillectomy and I thought I’d gone to heaven. It tasted wonderful and, for some reason, I found it easier to swallow than water. It’s cool, soothing, and counts as hydration. Hands down, Jell-O, Jelly, or gelatin is my top pick for foods for a tonsillectomy recovery. For the first five days I didn’t venture too far beyond the liquids and gelatin. It’s contrary to what your mother might advise but, like sleep, a normally healthy endeavor can result in an hour of searing pain. I tried mashed potatoes on day two and had tears in my eyes.  For about a day after that, I stopped eating .  I don’t recommend this.  Maintaining a good diet is important for several reasons.  Nutrition, activation of muscles in the affected area, and feeling of well being are all benefits of a smart plan. Also keep in mind that most prescription pain killers can cause nausea, especially on an empty stomach.  It’s important to get some kind of food down before taking pain medicine, even if it’s just a liquid food like Ensure.

Try to add as many calories to your day as you can. As your throat allows, try some foods like oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, (NOT al dente. cook it!), ramen noodles, mashed potatoes, gravy, or cous cous. Oatmeal was, without question, my breakthrough food as I began eating after tonsillectomy. I’m still eating it almost daily, probably because of the good feeling that  it gave me in my second week. If you have a favorite post-tonsillectomy recipe, please share it in the comments section below.

When I was recovering, I used to daydream about eating steak.  It seemed so unattainable.  I couldn’t even handle mashed potatoes.  When could I ever enjoy a nice juicy Steak??  I told myself, once I got through this, I would reward myself with a delicious slab of beef.  To this day, I love my steak. I’ve put together a collection of items that I think would be helpful, if not essential, to making tonsillectomy recovery a little more pleasant, including items for your tonsillectomy diet. Check out the Tonsillectomy General Store.

Posted in Tonsillectomy Recovery
17 comments on “The Post-Tonsillectomy Diet
  1. amy says:

    I got mine exactly 3 days ago and I really wanna eat bean burritos and eat popcorn soon how long do I gotta wait you think

  2. Caroline says:

    i only got my tonsils out 5 days ago and I feel capable of eating a lot of foods.

    I’m 19 years old, and am managing pasta well, steamed veges and all
    other synonymous foods.

    I’m worried about what to expect from the removal of the scabbing stage- should I start hitting toast and things to make it all easier?

    • Greg Tooke says:

      Hi Caroline- Boy, great question! !st off, I’m glad to hear that things are going well. There are sort of two camps on the rough foods question. Australian and UK doctors tend to recommend rough foods throughout recovery. In the U.S., softer foods are generally the recommendation. I’ve researched this quite a bit and, though it’s not how I did it, I tend to side with our friends across the pond. From all the accounts I’ve read, and discussions I’ve had with ENT’s, I’ve come to believe that, short of sharp edged foods, it’s generally best to eat more textured foods to gently clear the throat and keep the muscles engaged. I am not a doctor, and I don’t want to give medical advice. These are simply my thoughts as a patient who has paid close attention to tonsillectomy recoveries. Best of luck to you!

    • amy says:

      Toast ….I wouldn’t it might hurt a lot and cause bleeding

  3. Carla says:

    At first, jello, ice cream and pudding were the best. I started to eat oatmeal and canned soups and grapes after 3 days. By day 6, the scars have started to come off, and the throat is very sensitive again. Ice cream is actually too cold right now. I poached eggs which was very easy to do and that was delicious and soothing for breakfast (I was looking for protein with a jello-like texture) For lunch I boiled chicken broth with some linguine noodles and that was very soothing. I tried a banana smoothie but bananas have acid that really burned, so I would stay away from them. I thought Gatorade might be good but that also burned.

  4. Katie says:

    I got my tonsils out five days ago, and the day of the surgery was utter hell. Once I’d arrived home, I promptly threw up the pain medicine I had to take– and that hurt more than anything. An hour or so later I tried again, and couldn’t keep it down. I ended up crushing up the pain tablets and swallowing it down with a smoothie from McDonald’s, which worked quite well for a few days. Up until Friday, I woke up every few hours with agonizing pain, and ended up having to sleep propped up on the couch. This will sound very odd, but WARM soups feel much better to me than a cold drink! Once I’d had a cup or so of soup, I could actually talk. On Saturday, I started eating macaroni and cheese, which was a blessing, as I could have some actual food in my stomach. Around that time, I could also start swallowing the pills instead of crushing them up, but I’m still talking in a whisper. I didn’t feel much pain at all today, besides the occasional discomfort from coughing. So far, recovery has gone much better than I expected!

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