Eating After Tonsillectomy

Eating After Tonsillectomy

Eating after tonsillectomy 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 as we resume eating after tonsillectomy surgery.

Eating After Tonsillectomy
What to Eat After Tonsillectomy

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.

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 foodsfor eating after tonsillectomy surgery.

For the first five days I wouldn’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.  Eating after tonsillectomy is important for several reasons. Nutrition, activation of muscles in the affected area, and feeling of well being are all benefits of smart eating after tonsillectomy.

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.

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.

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 bloody Mary steak marinade recipe.  Try it before surgery, or after you’ve recovered.  Salud!

Tonsillectomy Recovery
Tonsillectomy Recovery

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. Check out tGeneral Store.


  1. Im on day 8 post op and today o found something amazing special K chocolate protein shake. After not eating much for the past 8 days this is a GOD SEND i can actually taste it. I put it in the freezer and *right* before it freezes i drink. It feels great on my throat.

  2. I live in the UK and the advice of the NHS is to eat little and often. I’m on day 5 and been eating as normal but baby portions. Today was hard and had to go for a lie down after eating a bread
    roll and soup as i was traumatised. Also tramadol was a god send for me. Very strong so be careful.

  3. My doctor advised me to eat cold, at least no warmer than room-temperatures food. This to keep the vessels behind the scabs (the vessels in the wounds) retracted. Hot food and drinks dilate the vessels, and therefore increase chance of bleeding. Being a nurse, this makes sense.

    Sucking on ice cubes got me through. Also, scrambled eggs from water and butter, and instant noodles that I put in the fridge. Jell-O is also genius!
    Choose something high in calories, and eat even if you don’t feel hungry, if your pain allows you to. You never know when next meal will be!

    Hang in there! It does get better!

  4. 31 male, had today my tonsils removed and my ovula shortened because of sleep apnoea. Turns out my ocular likes to lean back on the back of my throat blocking my airway, thus the docs have sewed it to stay in front.

    Day 1 was not bad. I had yogurt and icecream, tried a small portion of a German soft meat called leberkäse and it worked. Then I started feeling my throat a bit swollen, ice cream no prob but then I was supposed to eat some bread slices with soft cheese and a small portion of Greek salad. Bread worked because I pushed through since the nurse said that eating normally will speed up healing. The salad didn’t work. When I eat I feel that crumbs stay on the back of the throat and I can feel the stitches. But all in all day 1 was okay, I hope to sleep a bit. The doctor said the pain in yet to come and that it will hurt a bit, so I am curious to see how days 2-7 might be

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