Diet after Tonsillectomy in Children

What is the Diet after Tonsillectomy in Children

  • A tonsillectomy is a surgery to remove the tonsils. After a tonsillectomy, your child should eat foods that are easy to swallow and gentle on the throat. This makes recovery easier.
  • Follow the diet guidelines on this sheet for 1–2 weeks or until any pain from the surgery is completely gone.

After a tonsillectomy, it is important to provide a soft and easy-to-swallow diet for children to promote healing and minimize discomfort.

Here is the Diet after Tonsillectomy in Children

  1. Clear liquids: In the initial recovery period, it’s advisable to start with clear liquids such as water, apple juice, diluted fruit juices, and clear broths. These help prevent dehydration and are gentle on the throat.
  2. Soft foods: As the child progresses and is able to tolerate more substantial foods, introduce soft and easy-to-swallow options. This can include mashed potatoes, cooked cereals (e.g., oatmeal), yogurt, applesauce, pureed soups, and smoothies. Avoid foods that are spicy, acidic, or too hot or cold, as they may irritate the throat.
  3. Cold and frozen foods: Cold or frozen foods can provide relief and help reduce swelling. Offer ice cream, popsicles, gelatin, and chilled fruit purees. Ensure that these foods are not too hard or contain small, sharp pieces that may pose a choking hazard.
  4. Moist and tender foods: Opt for moist and tender foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Examples include soft-cooked pasta, scrambled eggs, mashed fruits, well-cooked vegetables, and soft bread. Avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, or sticky.
  5. Hydration: Encourage the child to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Offer cool or room temperature water, diluted fruit juices, or electrolyte solutions. It’s important to avoid using straws, as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
  6. Gradual reintroduction of regular diet: Once the child’s healing progresses and they are more comfortable, gradually reintroduce a regular diet. Start with small, easily chewed pieces of soft foods and then progress to regular textures as tolerated.

What do I need to know about this diet?

In the first 24 hours after surgery:

  • Do not give your child any foods.
  • Do not give your child citrus juices or liquids that are cloudy.
  • You may give your child liquids that are clear (such as water, chicken broth, apple juice, and lemon-lime soda without fizz).

After the first 24 hours:

  • You may give your child soft foods. Examples of soft foods are listed in the next section.
  • You may give your child any liquid except citrus juices (such as orange juice).
  • Do notgive your child foods that are not soft.
  • Do notgive your child hot, spicy, or highly seasoned foods.
  • Do notgive your child citrus juices.

While your child is on this diet:

  • Cut foods into small pieces and encourage your child to chew them well.
  • Have your child drink several glasses of lukewarm water daily.
  • Consider giving your child liquid nutritional supplements, like a liquid nutrition drink. Your health care provider can give you recommendations.

What foods can my child eat?


Soft bread. Soggy waffles or French toast without crust and soaked in syrup. Pancakes. Oatmeal or other creamy cereal. Soggy cold cereal. Pasta, noodles.


Cooked vegetables. Mashed potatoes.

What about Fruits after Tonsillectomy in Children?

  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Canned fruit
  • Watermelon without seeds

Here are some general guidelines regarding fruit consumption after a tonsillectomy in children:

  1. Soft and Non-Acidic Fruits: Opt for soft and non-acidic fruits that are gentle on the healing throat. Examples include ripe bananas, cooked or canned fruits (such as applesauce or peaches), ripe avocados, and ripe melons (such as watermelon or cantaloupe).
  2. Avoid Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, are acidic and may cause discomfort or irritation to the healing throat. It’s best to avoid these fruits during the initial phase of recovery.
  3. Be Mindful of Small Seeds: Some fruits, like strawberries, raspberries, or kiwi, may contain small seeds that could potentially irritate the healing tonsil bed or get stuck in the throat. If including these fruits, ensure that they are thoroughly pureed or mashed to eliminate any small seeds.
  4. Cold or Frozen Fruits: Cold or frozen fruits can provide soothing relief to the throat after tonsillectomy. You can offer cold fruit purees, fruit smoothies, or frozen fruit popsicles (avoiding citrus flavors).
  5. Avoid Hard and Crunchy Fruits: Hard and crunchy fruits, such as apples, pears, or raw carrots, can be too abrasive and may cause discomfort during the early stages of recovery. It’s best to avoid these fruits until the throat has healed more completely.

Meats and Other Protein Sources

Hot dogs. Hamburger. Tender, moist meat. Tuna. Scrambled or poached eggs.


Milk. Smooth yogurt. Cottage cheese. Processed cheeses.


Milk. Juices without seeds. Sodas without fizz.


Custard. Pudding. Ice cream. Malts, shakes.


Soup. Macaroni and cheese. Smooth peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without crust.

The items listed above may not be a complete list of recommended foods or beverages. Contact your dietitian for more options.

What foods are not recommended?


Toast. Crispy waffles. Crunchy, cold cereal. Crackers. Pretzels. Popcorn.


Raw vegetables.


Citrus fruits. Most fresh fruits, including oranges, apples, and melon.

Meats and Other Protein Sources

Tough, dry meat. Nuts.


Citrus juices (such as orange juice or lemonade). Soda with bubbles.




Fried foods. Chips. Grilled cheese sandwiches.

It’s crucial to follow the specific post-operative instructions provided by the child’s healthcare provider, as they may have individualized recommendations based on the child’s condition.

It is normal for the child to have a decreased appetite and experience some discomfort during the recovery period.

If you have any concerns or questions about the child’s diet or recovery, consult their healthcare provider for guidance.


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