What Can I Eat After Surgery?
The hard part is over and you’re on the road to recovery. You were given a list of instructions on how to take care of yourself for the next few days. When and how to take your medications is clear, how to care for your healing body has also been made plain, but what can you eat after surgery?
Soft Food Diet
After an oral surgery you’re going to be on a soft food diet for a while. There is just no way of getting around this. Though yummy, even mashed potatoes and ice cream can get old after eating them day after day. The best we can do is get creative (or ask nicely for someone else to!) with the foods that are available to us. Below we list of several kinds of soft food to keep your post surgery menu interesting, along with a recipe or two.
Remember that even though a food is soft ask yourself is it spicy? Very hot or very cold? Are there seeds, even small seeds like poppy? Rice and quinoa, even when cooked extra soft, could get into holes and might not be the best way to go. Oh, and before I go, let me introduce you to your new BFF’s, Blender and Food Processor. Bon appetit!
SOFT FOODS IDEAS
- Baked beans
- Baked fruits/vegetables e.g. peach, squash
- Bread pudding
- Breads/buns dipped in sauces or gravy
- Breakfast cereals (softened in milk)
- Cottage/ricotta cheese
- Creamed soups
- Creamy egg or potato salad
- Crescent rolls (Pillsbury types)
- French toast (soft soaked bread)
- Fruit juices
- Guacamole (pureed)
- Hashbrowns (softened)
- Ice cream/custard
- Juiced veggies/fruits
- Liquid meal replacements like Boost
- Loafs/breads made from banana (no walnuts!), applesauce, lemon, etc.
- Muffins (moist and smooth, not chunky)
- Pasta (cooked longer than al dente)
- Potatoes (mashed)
- Protein shakes
- Refried beans (mashed if needed)
- Rice pudding
- Seedless watermelon
- Sloppy joe/chili
- Soft tamales/enchilada (not spicy!)
- Stews (pureed)
- Toast or baby cookies dipped in tea
- Soft tofu
- Vegetables (cooked and mashed or pureed)
Soft Food Menu Ideas
Now that you have the ingredients, it’s time to get creative! Along with the variety of shakes and smoothie flavors you can whip up, try some of these:
- Mac N Cheese – experiment with different types of cheeses, over cook the pasta.
- Hummus on soft pita bread or just enjoy with a spoon. Try a variety of hummus flavors.
- Add soft cooked fruit or jams to the center of your crescent roll before you bake them.
- Cook your eggs into an omelette with melted cheese.
- Substitute crepes for pancakes.
- Soup combinations and flavors galore, such as: pureed butternut squash, pureed black bean (not spicy!), noodles and vegetables, well cooked ramen, pureed cauliflower, pureed chickpea leeks, miso soup, and on and on…
- Zucchini sliced and steamed with garlic and Parmesan.
- Roasted bell pepper puree over creamy polenta.
- Cottage cheese with applesauce.
- Perogies – boiled not fried.
- Your nutrition doesn’t need to suffer, add veggies to your smoothies.
Hopefully this gets you thinking of other creative ways to get you past the soft food stage.
Foods to Avoid After Oral Surgery
These are all big no-no’s!
- very hot/very cold
- acidic foods such as: citrus and tomatoes
- seeds (sesame, caraway, poppy) and nuts
- foods that are hard and crumbly: popcorn, chips, crackers
- sticky or chewy foods that would cause you to open your mouth wide
For a week following your surgery, do not use a straw for anything. If you have a smoothie or a shake, for example, use a spoon or just drink from the cup. The suction will prevent your body from forming and keeping blood clots, which is how you stop bleeding. Blood clots are also important in preventing dry socket. Dry socket is a painful condition where the clot wasn’t allowed to form, exposing the underlying bone.
You Can Do It!
We’ve had fun talking about the diet you’ll be on while you heal, but in all seriousness, it is a crucial part of your post op care. You wouldn’t throw a ball after shoulder surgery or do sit ups after having your appendix out, would you? Chewing hard or tough foods will put a strain on the surgery site, causing it to reopen, or your implant to become irritated and fail. Small, crumbly foods could get trapped in holes that haven’t had a chance to heal, fester and become an infection.
Allow your body to use all it’s resources to heal strong and quickly. Stressing it out by making it harder to heal will only increase your chances for a difficult or failed post surgery.
Now go forth and cook and create and mix and match! With a little luck and a whole lot of creativity your soft food phase will fly right by.