Tonsillectomy Diet Tips

how to make smoothies
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Recipe

What are the Best Foods to Eat After Tonsillectomy?

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.

Eating after tonsillectomy
Slushies After Tonsillectomy- Just Do it!


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.

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 theGeneral Store. -Greg Tooke  


  1. I’m on day 3 I’m from the uk so it’s a rough diet back ASAP but that isn’t gunna happen I came out of surgery and 2 hours later had 2 yougharts a bowl of soup and mac and cheese with Brussels spouts now my throat hurts when I eat but I’ve also found its hard to go to the bathroom(I dunno if this is the painkillers though ) I advise you not to go for the flavoured water as it dries your throat out go for plain tap water if not plain bottled water I’ve been eating pink panther wafers and malteasers which I find easy to go down and if u manage that toast does help honestly ….rolls as well Just in little bits like the toast make sure it’s got plenty margarine on it and I find it easier with jam cups of tea as well cheesy wotsits I’m just trying to let you guys know what I’m finding easy all I say is have tissues on hand as I have water dripping back out my mouth after drinking and don’t push yourself just stay in bed if you can …. I haven’t been dying for any food in particular but I only stopped smoking the day of my operation and I’m dying for a cigarette but DON’T DO IT IT’S TORTURE !!! I been told chewing gum is good has anyone tried Anything I haven’t mentioned that works please let me know as I want to get this better soon x

  2. Hi my name is Christy & I’m 34 years old & had a tonsillectomy on January 15 2014. I suffered from throat infections for years & had a chronic one that lasted 4 months & 4 rounds of antibiotics, so I was convinced that a tonsillectomy was the next (& only option). The first 3 days were ok & I was eating the diet my Dr. had suggested, when I choked on my liquid pain meds. I had a 3 hour coughing fit that led to me rupturing an artery on the left side of my throat. I was rushed to the hospital & lost half my blood volume. I had emergency surgery & 2 units of blood. Now I have a blood clot in my arm from the IV & the dr.’s can’t prescribe any blood thinners for fear of another hemorrhage. I thank God I’m here to see my two children again. All I can say is please do your research to make sure it is absolutely pertinent to get your tonsils out. My Dr. had preformed over 4500 tonsillectomies & I was extremely confident in his skill. If you do have this surgery, water down ANY medicine you get & try not to cough excessively! Almost dying has given me a new lease on life & I will never take a breath for granted again.

  3. Hey I had my tonsillectomy yesterday- I’m 27 and a mommy of two little girls ages 4 and 7 wks. There seems to be a big discrepancy between what doctors say for the most part between the UK and US. I did a lot of reading and UK drs advise slightly scratchy food and a return to the normal diet ASAP. Many drs in the US say NO WAY and to only eat soft, mushy things. I live in the US but thankfully my doctor prescribes to the UK approach. I was offered soda and crackers when I woke up from short term anesthesia (I declined both because carbonation sounded awful and I have food allergies) but did pick up some soda water and chips that I could eat on the way home.

    It is actually easier to eat soda water and slightly crunchy foods than mashed food for me. The softer the food is, the more it gets caught in the pockets where my tonsils used to be. However, I seem to be having a better time recovering than many of my peers. I drink a ton of water and Gatorade and have a warm mist vaporizer by my bed. I have had chronic tonsillitis every 6 weeks or so for the past nearly 10 years. Already my throat feels more open (even with the swelling and coughing up bits of tissue) and I feel better. Yes my throat hurts but it’s not any worse than the tonsilitis I’ve been experiencing.

    One very positive thing I noticed immediately after surgery was that I could hear better. I’ve had a post nasal drip for years and it sort of would get stuck by the swollen tonsils, dry out and block my ear passages. Within an hour of coming home, I spat out some old gunkie mucus blocks and now I have less pain/pressure in my ears than I’ve had ever.

    My advice, drink a ton- especially green or white tea with cinnamon and honey. Every time you swallow, it will sting a little less- whether you are drinking water, chewing ice or drinking juice. The tea, cinnamon and honey will soothe and are naturally anti-inflammatory. I usually do 1-2 Tbs honey with 1 tsp cinnamon for an 8 oz mug of tea. If you can, alternate between the Rx and ibuprofen (ask your dr first since Motrin has been known to thin the blood a bit). Try drinking lightly carbonated drinks (I like club soda because it cleans out my mouth/throat without leaving sugary gunk behind) and try a few well chewed crackers or chips (sun chips have worked the best for me- less bready and can be well chewed without being too sharp- unlike potato chips). Jello is soothing but pudding (particularly rice or tapioca) seems to get stuck and build up on my throat. Gargling a little sea salt in water a couple times a day also helps. No one wants to get an infected site because of food buildup.

    ** IF you have extremely yellow scabs or bright redness, you probably need an antibiotic. I’ve seen a lot of peoples recovery pics online and I want to say that at least 40% look infected at one point or another. I am not a doctor but I grew up in the medical community and can’t stress this enough- if you feel like you have a fever, chills, extreme nausea, bad odor or there is ooziness or extreme inflammation/redness on a surgical site, see your doctor about getting on an antibiotic. It’s going to hurt any time you have surgery but any of the above symptoms signal something is wrong.

    Overall, and yes I know I’m only on day 2, I am so happy I did this. I nearly backed out and was having major panic attacks for the few days before my surgery. There are way too many horror stories and gross pictures online. I read people say that this surgery hurt more than labor. For me, that wasn’t true at all. Labor was way worse, recovering from a c-section was way worse, having kidney stones was way worse and having back surgery was 10000x worse than this for me. I have had a lot of health complications and surgeries over the years. This one hurts but it’s not end-of-the-world-just-shoot-me-right-now kind of pain. For me, so far, it just feels like I have a bad case of tonsillitis or strep with a few ulcers on my throat. As long as you keep swallowing (even in nothing is in your mouth) active swallowing every 30 min or so seems to keep things from getting to painful.

  4. I thought I would have a read here to see if there were any clever ideas for food the first week post op. I am a breastfeeding mum to a 5 month old who is not yet on solids. I NEED good nutrition from day one post op to maintain a good milk supply which will already be compromised by stress, pain and drugs. I had hoped that dairy would still be fine; thought about blending soups; baked beans with poached eggs; and mash. However, from much of what I’ve read has now really concerned me. If anyone has clever ideas on food please reply.

    1. Hi Kim. My first thought is a supplement drink like Ensure. I might also suggest a breast pump to stock up a bit. Do you have someone to help you during your recovery? I hope so…

      1. Hi Greg,

        I’ve been pumping and storing since I saw the ENT, however, at best, I can only get one feed a day as I am anxious about the surgery and being separated from my boy (stress affects ‘let down’). I have received great advice about how to express and feed my boy, but I still will need the best nutrition, ummm, actually food in general, to keep up my supply. Also, breastfeeding makes you hungry!!! That is why I need to figure out how to eat food.

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