Foods to Eat When Tonsils Are Out

The tonsils are a pair of oval-shaped pads at the back of the throat. When tonsils become infected often or severely, doctors often recommend tonsillectomies, or surgical removal of the tonsils. While certain foods may exacerbate pain or swelling after tonsils are taken out, such as hard or acidic foods, others may relieve symptoms. The Mayo Clinic suggests soft, bland foods during the initial days of recovery. Other foods, such as probiotics, may support prompt, efficient recovery.

Soft, Chilled Foods

Consuming soft, bland foods can help reduce risk for added pain caused by sharp foods, such as potato chips or thin-crust pizza, during the days following a tonsillectomy. The Mayo Clinic also suggests chilled foods following the procedure, as coldness may help alleviate inflammation and provide a numbing effect. Valuable soft, chilled and bland-food options include ice cream (without chocolate chips, nuts or other hard particles), frozen yogurt, chilled soups (not spicy), fruit smoothies, milk shakes, chilled applesauce and chilled Jell-o or pudding. The Mayo Clinic also recommends frozen fruit Popsicles or frozen juice cubes as a means of reducing pain and swelling and supporting hydration.

Soft, Warm Foods

Soft, warm foods can also provide comfort. Examples of soft, warm foods that also provide mild flavors include hot oat- or rice-based cereals, mashed potatoes, cooked white rice, soup and warm beverages. According to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, fluid intake is the most significant element of tonsillectomy recovery. Thus, broth-based soups, hot cocoa and other warm or cold beverages are encouraged.


Probiotics, also known as helpful bacteria, may help support immune system strength and prevent further infections after a tonsillectomy. Krista Scott-Dixon, Ph.D., health writer for the “Diet Channel,” suggests probiotic intake while recovering from surgery. Probiotics may prove particularly useful while taking antibiotics, since such medications are known to deplete the body of beneficial, disease-fighting bacteria. Probiotics are found in cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, kefir, buttermilk and in fermented soy products. Since kefir and yogurt are generally served chilled, they may help alleviate inflammation during initial recovery days.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide an assortment of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (disease-fighting nutrients). Scott-Dixon suggests whole food antioxidant sources over dietary supplements for optimum wellness benefits and as a means of speeding the recovery process following surgery. Soft fruits and vegetables that may be consumed shortly after a tonsillectomy procedure include bananas (ripe or mashed), applesauce, canned pears or peaches, baked squash and nearly all steamed vegetables. Vegetable-based soups provide additional soft, nutritious options that support hydration during recovery. Several days after tonsils are removed, or whenever acidic and more solid-form foods are tolerable, most all fruits, vegetables and juices provide valuable antioxidant-rich, healthy food options.

About this Author

August J. McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as “Healthy Aging,” “CitySmart,” “IAmThatGirl” and “ULM.” She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit – a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.