In yesterday’s post about my tonsillectomy experience, I left out a very important area… what I’ve been eating for the past 2 weeks!
I started preparing for my tonsillectomy pretty much right when I scheduled my surgery. Since I’m a dietitian and a foodie, it was pretty easy to get carried away with my post-surgery diet… but I figured it was better to be over-prepared than under-prepared! My primary concerns were staying hydrated, which my doctor really stressed, and my protein intake. Protein aids in wound healing, so I wanted to try to sneak some in my food and drinks whenever possible.
Here’s what I bought & prepared for my procedures:
Supplements: Ensure Clear, Resource Boost, and Beneprotein
I froze the supplements into little ice cubes (using these trays that I got for pretty cheap on Amazon) and sucked on them when I was taking my pain meds to get something in my stomach and avoid nausea. I’m really glad I did this, although I hope to never touch another Ensure for the rest of my life
Icy Treats: fruit popsicles and Italian ice
Drinks: Gatorade & tea
Jello & Pudding
I LIVED off of Jello for the first week of my surgery.
Many people told me that items higher in sodium really burned their throats, so I picked this up at Target. It only has 70mg sodium in 1 cup. I used it throughout my recovery with no issues.
Crushed Ice: purchased from Sonic
You may remember a few weeks ago that we purchased a Vitamix blender. We were already considering buying one and will definitely get a ton of future use out of it, but my surgery was what pushed us to buy it. I used this a lot during my recovery and it was 100% worth the cost.
Pre-prepared, pureed and frozen food: chicken, banana oatmeal, baked apples, sweet potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and zucchini
My most-used food was the pureed chicken. Even when I couldn’t eat, I made protein “drinks” out of chicken broth, 2 chicken cubes and 1 scoop of beneprotein. An icy chicken drink sounds gross but was probably the most nutritious thing I consumed in the first week of my surgery.
My recommendation with the pureed/frozen foods would be to prepare at least 1 meal that you really like. I love banana oatmeal, and I practically cried tears of joy when I was finally able to eat some. I even decided to live on the wild side and mix my oatmeal with my apples
Now, when people find out you’re getting a tonsillectomy, you will hear “Eat lots of ice cream!” from pretty much everyone. However, you may find from your doctor or reading around from others’ personal experience that ice cream may not be ideal until your throat has healed up some. I think this is a big difference from kids’ tonsillectomies. From my personal experience, I agree with what a lot of other adult patients had told me… I could not handle ANYTHING that “stuck in” or coated my throat, or anything that caused mucus build-up for at least the first week. TMI alert: I attempted to drink a Frappuccino on Day 5 of my recovery and ended up filling up a 4oz. cup of spit and mucus. I tried to eat ice cream a full week after my surgery and was almost in tears because the amount of mucus in the back of my throat caused so much pain. So I would just keep that in mind when you are making preparations.
Overall, I do not regret anything I purchased or prepared for my tonsillectomy
Here’s what my post-surgery diet looked like:
Days 1-3 = crushed ice, popsicles, Jello and Ensure ice cubes
Days 4-6 = added in Gatorade, tea and chicken drinks
Days 7-8 = added in pudding, started solids but they were painful so I stopped
Days 9-14 = added in soft solids, like soups and purees
It was very interesting for me to be on the patient side of post-surgery nutrition. I definitely have a new level of empathy for patients with mouth & throat issues because despite my best efforts, I hardly ate anything the first week. Today is Day 15 and I am eating most things. I still have considerable scabbing on the left side of my throat and it’s still sore, so I have yet to try anything hot, spicy, crunchy or acidic.
Here’s my advice, from both a personal and professional standpoint: everyone heals differently, so go into the procedure with an open mind. Keep trying new things to see if/when you can advance your diet. Prepare things in advance and freeze them so you have a lot of options without wasting food. Do the best you can and know that this is just temporary
P.S. Listed below are some of the items I couldn’t live without… good luck on your surgery!!