~ Before I had my wisdom teeth surgery, my mom and I spent a lot of time wondering exactly what I’d be able to eat after I had my wisdom teeth removed. Luckily, we thought of lots of good ideas that really helped me feel better (without being hungry all the time). We even managed to come up with plenty of healthy options! And, we’re really excited to share our inspiration and recipes with you! Hope you feel better soon! ~
The world can be a frustrating place for a foodie. Sometimes you just don’t have time to cook. Sometimes you have to watch the picky eaters in your life order the exact.same.meal at every restaurant (don’t they get bored??).
And sometimes … you have to get your wisdom teeth out. And suddenly the world is full of so many scrumptious, inedible foods!
So that brings us to the big question …
What Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal?!?
Without a little planning, it can be a dark, dismal, and HUNGRY journey through recovery! But fear not, friends – there’s hope! I’ve recently survived these difficult days without starving to death, thanks to a bit of creativity (and the insane amount of soft foods we stockpiled beforehand).
And I’m here to make sure you can, too! (Photos of me looking like a puffy-cheeked chipmunk not included.)
First off, though, I want to be clear that this post is in no way intended as medical advice! Everyone’s surgery will be somewhat different, and you should absolutely listen to the advice your surgeon and other medical professionals give you.
With that said, these ideas are some of the things my mom and I found to work well for me – that we thought might be helpful for you, as well!
So without further ado, here are some foods I found yummy, and tips I found useful, during my days of laying around with ice on my face. (Oh, and pssst … ice helps! A lot!)
Cheat Days! (aka Indulgent Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Surgery)
Wisdom teeth removal can be pretty painful, and it steals a good couple of days from your life. But I discovered that it also grants you an amazing immunity – you cannot be looked down upon for eating an entire carton of ice cream in one day!
Getting responses such as “Oh, you poor thing,” rather than blatant disgust when you explain that you’ve eaten cheesy mashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is pretty exhilarating!
My mom did a fantastic job of stocking up on all the soft, yummy things you usually wouldn’t find in our pantry (read: anything she thought might tempt me to eat, so my meds wouldn’t make me nauseous). And while maintaining a healthy diet is always important … during recovery, sometimes finding things that are appetizing takes precedence! So if you’re ready to treat yourself to a cheat day (or several!), here are some of the things that were easy for me to eat with four big ol’ holes in my mouth:
1) Ice cream and milkshakes
These probably seem like super-obvious suggestions, right? Just make sure to pick flavors without any crunchy cookies or candy or nuts swirled in. And DON’T use a straw for those milkshakes (more on that later).
Healthy Upgrade: There are plenty of options for frozen yogurt and low-fat ice cream that are a bit healthier but still yummy! Or, try our “Instant” Peanut-Butter Banana Ice Cream (maybe without the fun toppings, though). It takes just 5 minutes and 5 ingredients and is full of fruit and protein!
Starting with a base of healthier ice cream also makes for healthier homemade milkshakes. For a real boost of nutrition (and a surprise superfood ingredient), try our Healthy Shamrock Shake. It’s sooooo good!
Also obvious! But stick to the smooth stuff – no tapioca or rice. And, even though it’s delicious, definitely save the chia pudding for later!
3) Italian Ice/Shaved Ice
This feels realllllly good on a sore mouth!
We grabbed a bunch of store-bought flavors on a whim, but later we found this super-easy Lemon Italian Ice recipe that would be so perfect, too.
Almost as fun to eat as it is to play with! Individual, store-bought cups offer handy single servings and the option of buying some different varieties to keep things interesting.
Healthy Upgrade: Make some of our Layered Rainbow Jell-O before surgery day. Even when you’re holding ice packs on your face, is anything more cheering than a rainbow?!?
If you wanna take the healthy upgrades even further, you could try ditching the store-bought Jell-O packs and make your own Homemade Jell-O with natural ingredients and natural sweeteners … and without any dyes or additives. Talk about a healthy upgrade, right?!?
5) Mashed potatoes
These were hands-down my favorite recovery food! Just be sure they’re really, really smooth, especially the first day or two. (Mmmmmm!) I indulged in buttery, cheesy mashed potatoes at practically every meal those first few days. Seriously – I ate a lot more than I should really admit …
6) Mac & Cheese
Granted, this isn’t always a super “junky” junk food – done right, it can be pretty healthy. But I found that creamy, decadent, artery-clogging Stouffer’s brand was the softest and easiest to chew. (Also … uh … yum! Worth it!)
Here again, these aren’t necessarily unhealthy! You know that, here at THK, we usually go with whole wheat, which actually makes pancakes really nutritious. But this might be one time to grab a packaged brand like Eggos – they’re so soft and easy to chew!
Healthy Upgrade: If you’re gonna try to stick with a bit of nutrition, our Perfect Whole Wheat Pancakes recipe is simple to whip up, and can even be made ahead and frozen.
Plus, we’ve got tips to make them into fun, cheerful shapes! (To, yanno, distract you from the holes you’ve just had drilled in your face.)
Either way, they’re a lot softer drenched in syrup … oh, and pro tip: keep some fraction of the guilt out by using pure maple syrup!
8) Cream soups
The perfect “sick food”! I honestly didn’t eat much soup, since it just didn’t sound enticing on a hot July day. But, practically any other time of the year (especially here in Ohio), it would’ve been a slam dunk.
Update 2021: Here’s an idea that would’ve been perfect for those hot days, if only I’d found this recipe sooner! Check out this Chilled Peach Soup. It has a shockingly unanimous 5-star rating on more than 2,000 reviews. And it sounds sooooo perfectly cool and satisfying – on those bleak wisdom teeth days, or any day!
9) Cream pies
Definitely too tasty for their own good! You may have to skip the crust (at least for the first few days), but the rich, smooth filling of a chocolate silk pie is a perfect post-op indulgence.
Healthy Foods for After Wisdom Teeth Surgery
Of course, while cream pies are delicious, the lingering threat of heart problems later in life is … well … not so much. 😉
While it’s a bit more of a struggle to find foods that are yummy, don’t hurt to eat, AND provide one or two decent bits of nutrition, it’s certainly doable – I found a lot of yummy treats that I was able to feel good about eating!
Another of my personal favorites. I felt like a true third-grader again, sitting on the couch watching Disney and eating applesauce! If you’re going with store-bought, I’d recommend trying some cool flavors so you don’t get bored. (But also be on the lookout for brands which avoid questionable ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup.)
Or, try our Easy Homemade Applesauce, which is surprisingly simple to whip up, and can be frozen to stock your freezer before surgery.
Try to find low-fat varieties, or grab some Greek yogurt for a little extra protein.
3) Cottage cheese
To keep things interesting, try the little “Cottage Doubles” cottage cheese packs that come with a side container of fruity jelly to mix in – yum!
I’d skip steel cut oats at first, since they’re a bit chewier. Just go with simple, thin oatmeal, maybe sweetened with a drizzle of maple syrup.
You can pack a lot of nutrition into a smoothie, especially if you use plenty of whole fruit and even veggies. Whir in some nonfat Greek yogurt to give you filling protein. Just remember that you can’t use a straw to drink ’em!
Try our Classic Strawberry Banana Smoothie, our “Elvis” Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie, or our Pineapple Orange Creamsicle Smoothies (pictured below). Or, for even more refreshingly smooth and creamy ideas, take a peek at our collection of All-Time Best Healthy Smoothie Recipes!
And, for a really unique visual guide to building all sorts of smoothies, check out Taste of Home’s guide to smoothie recipes. It’s filled with cute graphics to help you easily blitz up lots of other yummy, creamy, soooooothing creations!
It might feel sort of lonely without its pita chip friends, but a few spoons of hummus is a soft, creamy way to get some protein. If you want to make your own, try our Edamame Hummus for great flavor, smooth texture and terrific nutrition.
If you’re a Mexican food lover, a similar bet would be bean dip or refried beans – maybe dotted with some tangy queso fresco cheese, or with a bit of gooey, comforting cheddar melted on top. Ali at Gimme Some Oven has a homemade version of Refried Beans that you can try, if you’re not a fan of the canned stuff.
Another idea: try the super-easy Garlic White Bean Mash in a Flash (catchy name, huh?!?) from Nagi at the popular blog Recipe Tin Eats.
This may sound like an odd food to eat on its own, too, without crunchy crackers as a base. But remember that string cheese in your elementary school lunchboxes? I say it’s about time we admit that eating straight-up cheese is delicious at any age!
As you’re recovering from wisdom teeth surgery, though, skip harder cheeses like cheddar. Soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella are the way to go. (You might not feel quite up to eating even really soft cheeses for the first day or two, but after that, you’ll probably be able to give it a try.)
8) Scrambled eggs
Another protein-packed idea here! Try mixing in some shredded cheese for flavor. Or, serve them on top of mashed avocado – pretty much like our Breakfast Avocado Toast, without the toast!
These can require a little bit of chewing, but you can either mash them up, or wait a day or two until you’re ready to be a bit more adventurous.
10) Fish and salmon
And speaking of being adventurous, when you’re ready to try actually chewing again, fish is a great “real food” to start with – especially soft, flaky fish like salmon. I ordered salmon at my first restaurant meal after my surgery, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to eat.
I also love our Easy Honey-Glazed Salmon recipe (and would definitely recommend it once you’re starting to eat a bit more normally again)!
Little Spoons Are Good! (But Straws Are Bad.)
Those first few days, probably at least 80% of the food you’ll be wanting to eat will be eaten with a spoon. For real – think about it!
Luckily, in a food blogger’s household, there’s never a shortage of silverware. Since we like to mix up our photoshoots with fun plates, props, and cutlery, we have entire basement cabinets filled with mismatched bowls, cute-patterned napkins … and different-sized spoons!
And again luckily, that includes an adorable, tiny silver spoon (Oyster spoon? Appetizer spoon? Collectors’ item? Who knows!), which my incredible dad was smart enough to suggest. Brilliant!
If only we’d had more of those little guys! I think we washed that spoon about 10 times a day, because I ate everything with it! It was so much easier to fit into my swollen mouth, and just so much more comfortable to eat with.
This may seem insignificant; a minor change. But friends, let me tell you: it is not!
As silly as it sounds, I’m really not sure I can recommend it highly enough: find yourself a baby spoon, or an appetizer spoon, or some sort of small spoon to eat with!
While you’re at it, you may want to invest in a long-handled spoon, as well (like the white plastic ones in our photo above). Since you’ll most likely be banned from drinking through straws for at least a week, those long, slender spoons are great for eating the last dribbles of a milkshake or smoothie – two delicacies you’ll almost definitely want to enjoy.
Hey, skipping straws saves the sea turtles AND saves you from opening a hole from your mouth into your sinuses. Apparently, this hole would sometimes cause liquid you drink to come out your nose. I personally thought this would make an excellent party trick. (Not sure my mom agreed.)
Cooking Is Also Good!
If you’ve had your wisdom teeth out, or are planning to soon, you’ve probably heard the term “dry socket” tossed around. The medical definition for it is, I believe, “something you really don’t want.”
It happens when the clot around the extraction site doesn’t form right, comes loose, or dissolves prematurely – and, from what I’ve heard, it’s extremely painful. To reduce the risk of developing it, you’re advised not to do anything that would significantly raise your blood pressure in the days following your surgery.
Read: you lay in bed. Maybe get up to walk to the fridge.
So after two days of binging on pudding cups and Netflix – banned from running, kickboxing, drumming, heavy lifting, brisk walking, and even sneezing (ah yes, I’ll just … control that …) – I started to kinda miss my healthy lifestyle. My poor, lonely sneakers!
Not that I wasn’t enjoying my implicit permission to be an absolute couch potato, but … yeah, actually, I wasn’t really. I was bored out of my mind, I felt like I was wasting away, and I really just wanted to go for a run.
Well. I couldn’t do that.
But my mom and I did come up with some fun ways to get me up and moving without, yanno, actually really being up and moving. We went to see a movie (bonus: sitting in the dark, no one can see your swollen face), read books on the porch, painted our nails, played
bored board games, and, of course, cooked!
Cooking was a very fun but not-too-taxing thing to keep me busy … and, hey, I got some food out of the deal!
On careful investigation, I found that our own website here is full of yummy, soft recipes! In addition to some of the recipes I’ve linked to in this post, you can prowl through our Recipe Index to look for others you might want to try as you start to feel better.
Hugs and Good Luck!
Let’s be honest with each other here.
Recovering from surgery is never going to be exactly a hoot and a half. But hopefully, with the right foods and the right mindset, it’ll be as manageable for you as it was for me!
Again, this post isn’t intended as medical advice or a comprehensive list. Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice, tailored to your own situation and medical needs. But with that in mind, I hope you find some of these ideas helpful!
Sending hugs and wishing you a quick recovery!