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Recipes for a tonsillectomy patient

Getting a tonsillectomy when you're older is a pain. So much more so because two weeks of ice cream and popsicles doesn't have the same allure when you'd so much rather waste those carbs and fats on cremes brulees and pig roasts. Does anyone have any recommendations for foods that won't make this surgery even more unbearable?

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  1. first thing that comes to mind is jook/congee/rice porridge...you can add your favorite minced meat, seafood, vegetables...my personal favorite is abalone, but it's so hard to find these days...


    2 Replies
    1. re: soypower

      I made my roommate my grandmother's chocolate mousse recipe after her tonsils came out, and she wouldn't eat it because it felt "too rich" to go down comfortably. Does this sound normal or was she just afraid of it because it has (gasp!) fat in it (mmm, cream). It had almost no sugar, only the amount they put in very dark chocolate. I thought it would be perfect. Oh well.

      She's pretty much been eating jello and sorbet, with occasional bouts of small amounts of solid foods. It's been a week.

      1. re: seattledebs

        I've heard that thick/rich foods like ice cream don't go down very easily for some people, which nixed my plans of stocking up on Cream of Mushroom soup.

    2. According to my husband, like swallowing a handful of broken glass. I just remember him writing, "no salt, it burns, burns, burns!" I think I made him a lot of okayu (jook) and bland chawan mushi-(savory).

      3 Replies
      1. re: mochi mochi

        Chawan mushi is a great idea! I'd prefer not to revert to jook as I don't want to gain weight while I'm "not eating."

        So if salt feels like shards of glass, what about the temperature of food? Is that something to be aware of?

        1. re: JungMann

          cold foods are going to feel a lot better (which is why so many freezer pops and ice cream) than hot, but warm should be tolerable.

          I was thinking of a soft custard made with egg substitute so it's not really fatty

          1. re: JungMann

            I don't remember him complaining about temperature, but I am sure I served it on the cooler side.
            Actually he said his throat felt like he just swallowed a handful of broken glass after his surgery. I think he was about 35 at the time. He said it was all worth it-no more strep throat.

        2. Using the criteria that the food must be smooth/soft texture:
          Blueberry yogurt smoothie (or insert your favourite fruit and blend)
          Butternut squash soup
          Corn Chowder (borders on not-so-smooth but I thought if it were pureed enough then at least you could enjoy some bacon...)
          French Toast (just thinking the one we made in the oven New Year's Day was fairly soft)
          Hummus (although if salt irritates maybe not?)

          Hope that fits the bill although I confess I don't know enough about the procedure to know if hot foods would irritate so my suggestions might be useless :\

          1 Reply
          1. re: maplesugar

            Love that you snuck in the bacon! I joked with a friend that I might try to puree some roast beef with stilton and creme fraiche to create a roast beef smoothie while convalescing. It made her throw up in her mouth.

          2. How about a simple Cream of Potato Soup...

            Boiled Potatoes
            Chicken Stock
            Heat Gently
            Finish with Cream
            Season to Taste

            Garnish with any of the following:

            Green Onions
            Bacon Bits
            Creme Fraiche
            sour Cream

            1. Well, I'd opt for the creme brulée over the pig roast, save for the burnt crust. You'll want to stay away from anything crunchy & crispy = pain. So yeah, pureed, mashed, liquid, mousse-y anything. And the occasional scoop of ice cream will feel fabosky. Good luck, young man. Ouch.

              1. The first thing my (young) son would consume after his surgery, a day and a half later, was a Slurpee. He didn't want ice cream or pudding, just cold liquids.

                I think you're going to find that the idea of good food will fall by the wayside in favor of liquid, cold, sweet for the first couple of days, then semi solid--time for the creme brulee, maybe. Taste will be secondary.

                And BTW, his doctor told us that he SHOULD be eating solid foods within 48 hours of the surgery! That did not happen!

                But the surgery was a good thing--he stopped getting strep throat over and over, and also stopped snoring.

                1 Reply
                1. re: coney with everything

                  my daughter's ENT surgeon also told me to feed her crunchy foods asap as this helped the healing. My suggestion would be to eat what the patient feels comfortable with.

                2. I had my tonsils removed when I was older - nearly 40 years old. The ice cream and yogurt diet is recommended for a reason, i.e., grittier food seems to get "stuck", or at least it feels harder and more painful to swallow. Your recovery is NOT going to parallel a kid's, so plan on doing the ice cream/yogurt thing for longer than you would like. Believe it or not, I lost eight pounds eating Haagen Dazs as my primary food for two weeks.

                  Meat and crusty breads were particularly hard to swallow. Try things like eggs, vegetable frittatas, soufles, bread puddings, fruit pies, mashed potatoes and bland pasta. Smooth and creamy are what you are going for here. Get the food temperature down at serving to something a little warmer than room temperature. Trust me, your desire for meat, fish, spicy food, hot temperatures, crusty bread, etc. is going to be suppressed once you realize that it hurts to swallow or you think it feels like you are going to choke. You'll get there again soon enough. I think the recommendation about soup/congee is a good one too -- just don't try to eat that stuff when it's too hot for the first week or two. It will burn.

                  I don't remember having difficulty with salt. In fact, gargling with warm salt water was recommended after a period of time. It may be that some salty foods do burn, especially if they are vinegar based or if there are other spices. Play it by ear (or throat) and just check with your doctor. It was ten years ago for me, so procedures may have changed.

                  Good luck on your surgery. It was the end of many strep throats for me.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RGC1982

                    I hope my metabolism parallels yours because I have just discovered Haagen-Dazs Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream. It doesn't go down any better than regular ice cream, but if I'm going to force myself to eat something, I might as well enjoy the flavor before the pain!

                    1. re: Euonymous

                      The vichysoisse was great for the first few minutes; I mean absolutely fantastic. I don't know if I've ever had vichysoisse before so I was pleased to find it so flavorful, smooth and satisfying. Unfortunately it also burns and the thickness and coating cause a lot of pain. I may have to wait a few days before I can finish the pint.

                      Also I have just found that baba ghannouj and foul muddamas both contain enough acid in one spoonful to cause immense pain for over an hour.

                      1. re: JungMann

                        I should have mentioned that you (or whoever you buy it from) should probably leave out the cream and much of the salt for the first week or so. Cream and salt can both be tough on a tonsillectomy-sore throat.

                        I would never recommend baba ghanoush, as it generally contains a fair amount of lemon juice, and that, as you've learned, can hurt.

                    2. In true CH form, I regained my appetite within 8 hours of leaving the hospital. And as we approach the end of day one, I've already grown tired of ice cream and popsicles. The ice cream hurts and the popsicles take too long to eat and are unsatisfying. I've been wary of eating yogurt as I'm still working on the 6oz. of fresh pineapple-cantaloupe-pear juice I got after the leaving hospital due to the minute amount of citric acid in the juice causing me disproportionate amounts of pain..

                      The food I find most tolerable has been warm miso. It's savory. It's comforting. And it's filling. But I still need a little variety otherwise I will go stir crazy. The creamy butternut squash soup my friend offered was too thick to even fathom. And pureed vegetables look equally painful. Chawan mushi sounds good if someone can provide a simple recipe as I'm still somewhat slowed down and caring for myself. Any other suggestions?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: JungMann

                        Hm. Mac & Cheese? Some other slurpy pasta dish, or noodle soup? I guess anything thin, warm, and mushy should work, no?

                        1. re: linguafood

                          I'm not eager to try pasta yet. The pieces look too big to swallow.

                          1. re: JungMann

                            I feel for you, I was older too when I had that surgery. I was starving and a friend came over eating fries and hamburger. I tried one. I almost had to go back to the hospital.

                        2. re: JungMann

                          6 sm. shiitake, soaked
                          1/3 bunch spinach
                          1 T. Mirin
                          shoyu to taste
                          1/2 tsp salt
                          1tsp sugar
                          2 cups-chicken stock
                          3 eggs
                          chicken breast-kamaboko-gingko nuts all optional

                          Boil spinach-slice shiitake mushrooms-
                          Season stock with mirin-shoyu-salt to taste and bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool. Beat eggs and add to cooled stock; strain egg mixture.
                          Place chicken-shiitake, kamaboko, spinach in small bowls (5) Pour egg mixture slowly into each bowl. 3/4 full. Place bowls in steamer; steam for 15-20 minutes or until set. Dutch oven or skillet with a lid may be used as a substitute steamer.

                          I made his without any condiments and the first time with shoyu and salt... he said it burned his throat. Next time bland and he liked it. Good luck.

                        3. Cheese Grits
                          Pureed Split Pea Soup
                          Matzoh Ball Soup

                          If all else fails, you could eat pureed baby food. Earth's Best Organic Baby Foods are just whole pureed fruits and vegetables. I have tasted them and they are delicious. Particularly the peas and sweet potatoes. They also have a butternut squash puree.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: foodie06

                            As soon as I get my energy back, I think I may go to the market and try some of the baby foods you recommended. In the interim, I do love cheese grits (though I've also been trying to eat healthily while recuperating). Is that soft enough to not hurt?

                            1. re: JungMann

                              Try the pastina, or small tiny acini pepe pasta. Little kids swallow that without chewing -- it just slides down. You may be able to put this in the miso or other warm chicken broth (talk about fusion cuisine!). I love grits too, but the pasty texture is something you need to think about. Glad to hear you are coming along.

                            2. re: foodie06

                              I have an adult friend who eats that brand baby food fruit as snacks. Her grandkids ate them & she tried them. Think her favorite is a plum/banana combo. On a similar note, frozen bananas put in a blender with juice, other fruit makes a smooth, creamy but not fatty tasting smoothy. JungMann, feel better soon!

                              1. re: meatn3

                                Actually the squash is really good.

                            3. Would something like egg drop soup, made with a good homemade chicken stock, go down ok? That would provide a little healthful protein and nourishment.

                              1. I remember drinking a lot of clear broth, warm to room temp. Won ton soup was a nice change. Also, I ate a lot of watermelon. Ice cream and other creamy things actually are harder to take as they tend to coat the throat and you have to swallow more. The key is to not swallow for about 3 weeks if I remember.

                                1. I recall when I was five years old and had my tonsils out, all I wanted to eat when I came home were canned tomatoes.

                                  So my mom calls the ENT doc...

                                  "Canned tomatoes!!??" he exclaimed. "Well, if thats what he wants, let him have them..."

                                  I recall eating them and they tasted so good. Don't know how I did it but they didn't hurt a bit...

                                  1. It seems that those of you that had your tonsils out ate a lot better than I did. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and refused to eat everything for about a week (even ice cream). I lost 10 lbs, which is a lot for a child.

                                    1. Don't worry about carbs and fats right now! I took a full 3 weeks to even start eating normally after mine at age 20, and my dad took 4 weeks at age 48, although he also had his uvula out. I think I lived on straight painkillers and water the first two days, after which I could finally eat some sorbet. Day 4 or 5 started the cold soups. Have you tried some gazpacho? A melon or fruit soup would taste good chilled whih would probaby feel great on your throat. Please take it easy. I think I pushed myself too hard the second week of recovery (talking too much, etc) and pushed back my recovery to almost 4 weeks.

                                      Good luck with your recovery and your ENT problems. My tonsillectomy saved me from 5+ times a year strep and probably saved my life. I got scarlet fever twice in one year and was hospitalized and put on IV fluids quite a few times. One of these times was at a remote college and I could have ended up in the ICU if my roommate hadn't come home early and found me unable to even move from bed.

                                      1. I found that Jack in the box shakes are the best and that having type of orange juice was very painful..do not consume any type of citrus..burn the heck out of your throat!
                                        All the best to you!

                                        1. Just wentthrough this myself. Smoothies were the only thing I could really tolerate. Milk shakes were ok. The more dairy, the harder it was to swallow. Poor hubby tried to make me chicken broth. His broth is excellant. To me at the time, way too salty.

                                          The Trader Joe frozen fruits (rasberries, strawberries, etc) were a life saver. FYI: It was 5 days before I had my first bite of solid food. And it was a burger from Shake Shack. Still painful, but soooo worth it!

                                          1. I'm 28 and just had mine taken out two days ago. Other than stocks and broth, the easiest things for me to get down are ramen and sugar free or fat free pudding cups. The mashed potatoes and mac and cheese I tried to eat last night hurt more than I had expected. Probably due to their "sticky" nature when eaten at room temperature. The ice cream and popsicles were a little to grainy for me to eat comfortably. I had a small piece of ham today that I chewed very well and that was pretty good going down. Also, with my ramen I've been adding whisked eggs to it at the last minute for protein, green onions for color and flavor, and a little sesame seed oil for lubrication. I think tonight I'm going to make a stock with some dashida, add some rice noodles, and maybe some more scrambled eggs. (Egg whites if you want to go that extra mile)