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Ideas for What to Eat after a Tonsillectomy

Updated on February 16, 2013

Need Ideas for What to Eat after a Tonsillectomy?

Even the biggest ice cream fans are bound to tire of eating ice cream after several days of the "typical" soft food diet following a tonsillectomy. One challenge following this type of surgery, especially with children, is keeping options varied so the child will continue eating rather than refuse food or liquids due to boredom with the limited list of acceptable foods allowed during recovery.

Our son, 6 years old, has just had a tonsillectomy, an adenoidectomy and tubes put in his ears this past Thursday. We are right in the middle of the recovery phase and wanted to share ideas from what we have learned for others who are or will be experiencing this in the future.

Maybe you have no need for the information in this lense, but if there is anyone you know who might find the information helpful, you can find "share options" above just below the title. I know I would appreciate tremendously if a friend passed this kind of information along to me, as I can never have enough ideas for situations like this with my own children!

[Image Credit]

The Ongoing Debate about Tonsillectomy and Tubes in Ears

It's interesting the varying opinions between parents and even professionals about certain medical procedures, tonsillectomy and tubes being a big one! When I posted on my Facebook page about the upcoming procedure, we got a number of comments right away about the experiences others had with their own children with having one or both of these procedures done. Most were positive, but at least one said it really didn't help her child because the child had allergies anyway.

On a personal note, we are expecting to see a big improvement for our son in several areas. He had been experiencing for a couple of months a pretty significant hearing loss due to fluid build up in his ears, even though with him, we had not really noticed a lot of sickness. He had been getting some infections but never ran fever, so we really thought he just had a cold. Infections were found by his doctor at the last two annual well visits.

His tonsils were so large that the anesthesiologist commented to the ENT during surgery that they likely were meeting in the middle, or coming close, at times and that very possibly he could have been experiencing some sleep apnea. There have been certain meat textures that he has had trouble eating, but since we had no idea of the physical problem, we assumed it was either behavioral or he simply did not care for the flavors of those meats or the texture. He has struggled with weight gain, so we are really hopeful that this will help in that area as well.

What has been your experience with your child?

The "Typical" Recommended Soft Foods Options

[Disclaimer: The information here is not intended to be and should not be taken as medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor regarding what to eat following a medical procedure such as a tonsillectomy.]

When we received our post-operative instructions and information following our son's surgery, we were told that he could eat only "soft foods" until his post-op appointment (one week later). The foods he has eaten generally have been mostly:



Yogurt (Note: Coconut milk yogurt has a higher fat content than regular dairy yogurt products, so should be more filling.)

Ice Cream/Sherbet



Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Grits (We used caution with this since they are "gritty" and told our son if it was uncomfortable at all or too warm on his throat to let us know and not to eat anymore.)

*After a couple days, we tried some instant oatmeal, thinking that, too, might be more filling. We gave the same instructions to our son as we had with the grits. We used the instant since it is less coarse than regular oatmeal. At the time we tried it, though, it was too much for him so he only ate one bite.

Another suggested food was soups, as tolerated.

Most importantly, we were instructed to make sure he was drinking lots of fluids. This should help keep his throat moist and from getting too dry where it would be more likely to crack and cause bleeding. Bleeding would send us to the ER where the ENT would meet us for another procedure.

Our son has done really well with this. Apple juice and Pedialyte have been the options we've had most success with. He wanted some mango juice but at one point it seemed to upset his stomach a little, perhaps too acidic.

[Image Credit]

This recipe is an excellent choice not only because it has great flavor, different from what the patient is eating in the "typical soft foods" options. It also will be more filling and has great fiber in it from the potatoes, which seemed to help our son's system regulate following the surgery, an important consideration after having anesthesia.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30-35 minutes

Serves: 8


  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced into about 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 ounces chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 10 baby carrots thinly sliced


  1. Fill 5-quart stockpot with water, bring to a boil and add potatoes. Boil until fork-tender. Drain water and reserve potatoes in a bowl. Clean stockpot and place back on burner over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil and melt butter over medium-low heat, so as not to brown. Once butter is melted, turn heat up to medium and add onion and garlic. Stir onion and garlic continuously until soft so as not to brown garlic.
  2. Once onions are soft, add potatoes. Fold potato and onion mixture until combined thoroughly. Add chicken broth. If broth will not cover potatoes, add water until covered. Bring to a simmer. Add curry powder and carrots. Simmer approximately ten minutes until carrots are soft. Taste test and add salt and/or more curry powder if desired.
  3. Take a serving at a time and process in food processor until smooth. This way, the whole family can enjoy the regular soup while your patient enjoys the "soup puree" that won't bother the healing throat. Just make sure it is cooled enough so not too hot on the throat.
Cast your vote for Curried Potato Soup Recipe

Another Recipe Idea

This recipe idea is great for just general upset tummy sickness. It was developed by my husband when both of my children and I were battling a pretty nasty stomach bug.

The usual "chicken soups" were not appealing to me at all, and so I asked him if he could make us something with a little different flavor but that would be mild for our tummies. Both of our children are big pasta fans, so that was my only real request regarding must-have ingredients. This recipe really hit the spot!

A Few More Ideas

*Peaches, pureed (One of our son's favorites.)

*Mashed up banana

(Our son cannot have a lot of banana, but this would be an excellent, nutritious option for those who can.)

*Baby foods (If your child will eat them!)

Helpful Kitchen Resources

Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor Brushed Chrome and Nickel
Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor Brushed Chrome and Nickel

A must-have to be able to provide a better variety of foods that can be eaten following a tonsillectomy.

Wilton 2304-1050 101-Piece Cookie Cutter Set
Wilton 2304-1050 101-Piece Cookie Cutter Set

Keep jello fun and interesting by cutting it into a variety of shapes!


Don't Forget!

A special gift for the patient to give in recovery. Below is the surprise gift we got our son... he LOVED it.

Monster Truck Gift

Our son loves monster trucks. His favorite is Grave Digger, so it was no surprise when my husband came back from the store the morning of the surgery with Son-uva-Digger. This is the monster truck driven by the son of the driver of Grave Digger.

What Would Make the Perfect Gift for your Patient?

Vote for your favorites or add your own and vote it up!

2 Best Recovery Tips

I am so pleased to say that our son's recovery went very smoothly. He is back to his "old self" and we saw immediate improvement with issues he was having pre-surgery.

When we received his discharge instructions before leaving the surgery center, there was a lot of information. There were 2 tips that proved most helpful for a successful recovery:

  1. Stay hydrated. Push fluids. This can help prevent the tonsils from bleeding as they heal, something that we were advised, if happened, we would have to meet the surgeon in the ER for another procedure.
  2. Keep the pain meds going in the immediate days of recovery to help keep the pain from becoming too intense, which can discourage drinking if the throat is too uncomfortable or painful when swallowing.

Great Books for Helping Kids through Sickness

Bear Feels Sick (The Bear Books)
Bear Feels Sick (The Bear Books)

Great book for helping children better understand sickness and the need for rest.

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?

This is part of a series... we have a different one and our kids LOVE it.


Would love to know your suggestions and thoughts.

Do you have a recipe suggestion, or if not, any thoughts about this topic?

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    • TheChefsWife profile image

      TheChefsWife 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Absolutely!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Soft foods that are yummy and healthy are sure the way to go, but there has to be desert. Right?

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      yes Jello or soft ice cream great for the first day or so, in no time they are back eating normal.

    • TheChefsWife profile image

      TheChefsWife 5 years ago

      @sockii: Thank you! None of my 3 sisters or I needed to have it done either, so first experience for me.

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      I was fortunate as a child and never needed either a tonsillectomy or tubes (and no children of my own to have experience with in that way, either). But this is a great resource for parents who might need some good ideas!

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Anything liquid and warm (not hot!) seemed to go down well when my brother had this done. Later as he recovered he liked ice cream and colder stuff too.

    • TheChefsWife profile image

      TheChefsWife 5 years ago

      @kerbev: Really... warm? I've always eaten jello cold and never heard of it as a drink!

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 5 years ago from Upstate, NY

      Warm jello! Make the jello, but serve it up warm. It's what my Mom always gave me when I was sick or after surgery. SUCH a comforting drink! (Red is best)