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Monday, June 24, 2024

My Week of Menus for a "Soft" Diet

Thank you, friends, for hanging in there with me while I took several days off from blogging recently

I didn't have a guide for how or what to eat, with the exception of it needed to be soft, non-spicy (I interpreted this to mean non- heat spicy, not no spice at all like cinnamon), smooth, and chilled or cold for the first 24 hours (heat and spice can increase bleeding). I was instructed to stick with soft and smooth for several days as the incision area healed. You'll see that by the end of the week I was not only eating more variety and texture, but more volume of food.

As to what I could eat, that was up to me. Weeks earlier, I thought through some possibilities that would work for our budget and my tastes. Family members gifted me with suitable foods that I may have been reluctant to buy for myself due to cost. Otherwise, I primarily chose foods that we had on hand.

All of my meals at the beginning of the week were different from what my family was eating. At first, they took turns cooking for themselves and making food for me. Later in the week, I was able to make my own breakfast and lunch, plus modify my own dinner to work for me. By the last day, I was once again cooking dinner for the family, just modifying my portion.

Day 1

post-op first "meal"-- supposed to be cold foods for the day

baby food fruit puree pouch stirred with applesauce
pumpkin pudding (a thin cornstarch pudding mixed with canned pumpkin, sweet spices and maple extract, prepared the day before)

snack 1
raspberry sorbet 

snack 2
more pumpkin pudding

thin mashed potatoes with melted cheddar stirred in, then cooled (to meet the cold food requirement)
silken tofu pureed (using smoothie blender) with honey and vanilla extract

Day 2

cream of wheat with soy milk and butter

chicken bone broth, served warm not hot, with crushed whole wheat saltines stirred in till soft
mashed potatoes stirred with canned pumpkin puree, served warm

baby food fruit puree stirred with applesauce

pureed (using pitcher blender) cream of broccoli, potato and cheese soup with crushed whole wheat saltines stirred in, cooled
raspberry sorbet 

Day 3

cream of wheat made with soy milk, butter and drizzle of honey, cooled

chicken bone broth, served warm not hot, with silken tofu chunks and crushed whole wheat saltines
baby food fruit mixed with applesauce
chocolate soy milk

dinner(greater variety and texture in tonight's meal)
scrambled eggs with cheese, cooled 
well-cooked macaroni noodles with butter 
pureed (using immersion blender) cooked spinach
canned pumpkin puree with butter and salt

Day 4

cream of wheat cooked in soy milk with honey and butter

chicken bone broth with soft tofu chunks, very finely minced baby turnip greens, and crumbled whole wheat crackers
baby food fruit puree stirred with applesauce and canned pumpkin, then topped with graham cracker crumbs. (I discovered I needed to allow the graham cracker crumbs to soften for a bit. Eating the crumbs while still crispy was like rubbing sand into a wound.)
tiny serving of raspberry sorbet (about 2 tablespoons)

pumpkin pudding

well-cooked macaroni topped with marinara sauce and cheese
well-cooked carrots with honey-mustard glaze

Day 5

(The stitches hurt, so I'm still on a soft food diet. Even though the carrots were well-cooked last night, they still required chewing motion in my mouth.)

oatmeal cooked in soy milk, with honey and butter (I cook the hot cereals in milk to boost the protein of my breakfasts.)

smoothie (soy milk, peanut butter powder, beet powder, pureed pumpkin, banana, honey), made in smoothie blender

still hungry, so I made some cheesy mashed potatoes

egg salad, finely chopped
canned pureed pumpkin with butter and salt
pureed (using smoothie blender) broccoli
cheesy mashed potatoes

I gave up on the pureed pumpkin and the potatoes at dinner -- just too much pureed stuff. So I made myself a cup of cocoa in which I melted marshmallows. Sometimes, you just need a treat.

Day 6

I thought I'd be off of this soft diet by now. But I guess it just takes a while for healing.

scrambled egg 
leftover cheesy mashed potatoes

baby food fruit pouch stirred with applesauce and topped with graham cracker crumbs
a couple of tablespoons of softened peanut butter

first quasi normal dinner with the family, eating mostly what they had, just modified to fit my needs

pureed (using immersion blender) teriyaki chicken 
pureed (using immersion blender) turnip greens with onions and garlic
soft bread, crust off, torn into cubes and soaked in the liquid-y chicken
cocoa for dessert

Day 7

1 egg and the last of the cheesy potatoes plus minced chives made into a large potato pancake

pureed (in smoothie blender) silken tofu, blueberries, vanilla, and honey (eaten with a spoon, like yogurt)
soft buttered bread, crusts cut off
a large spoonful of softened peanut butter

For tonight, I'm making a vegetable and beef soup. I'll puree my portion. I think we'll have bread and butter with the soup. I'm getting really close to not needing pureed foods. I have very little pain now. At lunch today I was able to simply eat my slices of bread the way a normal person would, and not need to cut it into bites. As long as I chew on the opposite side all of the time. Also, I made a pumpkin snack cake to use up the leftover canned pumpkin. We'll have that for dessert.

Thoughts about my menus

Day 1 was short on protein, vegetables and whole grains. However, I was allowed a light breakfast before the procedure. For my light meal I had a smoothie made with a small banana, soy milk, flax seed meal, honey, beet root powder, and peanut butter powder. This meal added a full serving of vegetables (beet powder), 1 fruit, fiber in the flax seed meal, and protein in the soy milk and peanut butter powder. By the end of Day 1 I managed to get over 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. It felt like I ate a lot of sweet foods that day, though -- not great.

On day 2, I incorporated slightly thicker foods with mash-able chunks in the saltines soaked in soup/broth. I was also allowed to eat warm foods, just not hot or spicy. Heat and spice can increase risk of bleeding from sutures in the mouth. I didn't have very much post-op bleeding, fortunately. But I didn't want to create a problem where it had not previously existed. I also added more savory foods this day in the bone broth and the broccoli/cheese soup. I was still lean on protein. A major difference between day 1 and day 2 is that on day 1 others were bringing me all of my foods. Whereas on day 2 I was getting my own breakfast, lunch, and snack. My daughter made dinner for the whole family that night. They had their soup non-pureed and with carrot sticks plus the crackers. I didn't eat as many fruits and vegetables on this day, but I did manage to get some whole grains in with the whole wheat crackers.

Day 3 -- the first two meals were very soft foods. But by dinner I could have soft chunks, like scrambled eggs and well-cooked macaroni noodles. I had really missed having foods with texture by this point. But I didn't want to risk breaking open the wound site. Again, I fell short of the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable recommendation. But I did do better with protein, having the scrambled eggs with dinner. By the way, bone broth has a fair amount of protein. My pint-size box of chicken bone broth (Kettle & Fire) contains 20 grams of protein. I used just under 1 cup for each meal, providing about 9 grams of protein in bone broth and 2 or 3 grams of protein in the tofu per bowl of my soup. Also by day 3, I was doing better with variety in all of the foods that I ate. 

By day 4 I was getting the hang of preparing enough varied soft foods for my meals to meet my nutritional needs.

Day 5 and I'm growing weary not eating chewy foods. Despite what I'd like right now, dinner last night involved too much chewing. I'll go softer for dinner tonight. Time will pass and I'll soon be able to eat chewier foods again. You know what they say, when the patient begins complaining, they are beginning to recover. Breakfast of oatmeal was not soft enough for this stage. You don't think about oatmeal as being chewy, but it is, just slightly. It also has larger particles which floated around in my mouth and irritated the stitches a bit.

By day 6 and day 7, I was managing better, eating slightly more textured foods and making ordinary family meals work for me.

I didn't pre-plan my meals for these days. Instead I made sure there were plenty of soft foods that I could choose from on hand. 

pre-made foods and tools that made preparing a soft diet easier

  • blenders to puree soup, tofu, cooked vegetables and meat
  • baby food fruit puree pouches -- I mixed these with jarred applesauce, as the baby food pouches were too banana-y and peach-y for me. My husband gave me a couple of boxes of fruit puree pouches earlier this spring. I saved them for this surgery that I knew would be happening.
  • boxed bone broth -- my son and daughter-in-law gave me 2 pint-sized cartons of bone broth on Mother's Day 
  • silken tofu -- it's already soft, but can be made completely smooth with a blender or cubed and dropped into broth
  • instant mashed potatoes to make single servings of potatoes
  • canned pumpkin puree -- can be added to smoothies, mashed potatoes, broth soups, or eaten as is seasoned with butter and salt or butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of spice
  • jarred applesauce to moderate the flavor of the baby food and pureed pumpkin

We used 3 types of blenders this past week, an immersion blender, a smoothie blender, and a pitcher blender. The immersion blender is great for small quantities, like a single serving of cooked greens or tender meat like chicken breast. The smoothie blender works well for smoothies and slightly larger amounts of food and liquid. It's especially useful for consuming directly out of the container, like with smoothies, or when using the smallest container, a single portion of vegetables. For a container blender, the smoothie blender is easy to clean up afterward, just wash a cup and a blade assembly. The pitcher blender worked better for larger quantities, such as a couple of bowls of soup.

I pureed vegetables and chicken in cooked form, adding water to the blender/container to aid in pureeing. I found that vegetables,. once pureed, often needed additional seasoning, due to the watering down of added liquid. Silken tofu, while already very soft, benefits from pureeing, too, becoming very smooth and yogurt-like in texture.

So that was my week in meals for a week following "mouth" surgery. Could I have planned better? Absolutely? Could I have eaten a more balanced diet? Certainly. Could I have pre-made more foods for myself? Of course. In the end, I got through the week, and I don't think I did much damage to my health. The important things for this past week were that I gave my mouth, gums, and jaw a chance to begin the healing process, and I didn't tear any stitches. I think I succeeded in that regard.


  1. Not easy to be on a restricted diet while healing. Glad you healed well and missed chewing!!

    I have concerns about not having enough protein in our diet, so am considering buying soy whey isolate protein, not sure if that is the exact name. I've been checking prices, very expensive. I'm not a fan of protein supplements but I think it's also very important to have enough protein to keep our muscles healthy and to repair tissue. Another thought is nutritional drinks for weight loss like Ensure.

    Have a nice evening,

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you.

      About protein, can you both have unlimited eggs or egg whites? I don't know how the price of whole eggs compares in your area to that of soy protein or whey protein, but eggs are a really good source of protein without adding very many calories to a day. So is white meat chicken or turkey. Also, can you both have milk? A few tablespoons of dry milk powder is a great way to add protein to foods you may be cooking or drinking. One of my daughters was recently told she should up her protein to help with building bone. In my own research for her, milk powder, eggs, and chicken breast meat were some of the best sources of protein she could eat without crowding out other foods too much (she gets full easily). Just even adding one extra egg or some milk powder to whatever she eats each day would be a help. My daughter likes tea, so I encourage her to add several spoons full of milk powder to her cup each time. I also suggested she stir in a spoonful or two to each glass of liquid milk or smoothie she drinks. Adding protein doesn't have to be something that is done in one fell swoop each day. It can be adding bits here and there throughout the day.

      I fully agree on getting enough protein to stay healthy and strong. And especially so as we get older. I'm glad you're thinking of this now while changes will be very impactful. I've been working at feeding my whole family more protein these last few years.

    2. Hi again, Laura,
      I remember something else that may be of help for your husband.
      The findings from this study were that bone health is improved by additional dietary protein when there is also adequate calcium intake. So, that's something to keep in mind, protein supplementation that would also add calcium (like dairy milk, yogurt cheese or bone-in fish like sardines), or consuming enough calcium from other sources or supplements during the day plus the additional protein.

      Anyway, take a look at that study and see if any of it would apply to your husband's situation. Good luck!

    3. I read that 25-30 g of protein is advised per meal, a total of almost 90g per day for older people. I doubt we are consuming anywhere near that since we don't eat dinners. I like your suggestion to add powdered milk, eggs and chicken breast meat where you can. I will keep that in mind. It helps when I hear a suggestion rather than read it, as I am more apt to remember it!!


  2. I think you did a great job getting a variety of foods in you diet this week. My sister recently had face surgery and put some pretty interesting food combinations in her blender. The good news is that both of you are healing.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Thank you.

      I hope your sister is feeling much better now and her surgery was successful for her. I can really empathize with her. It's been a bit of a challenge thinking of ways to eat foods I like without pulling on the stitches. I was surprised at how delicious foods still tasted even after pureeing. The beef and vegetable soup last night was pretty good all blended up.Sure, it looks like cat food, but it tasted delicious. Ditto on the pureed chicken teriyaki. My family thought it looked gross, but I thought it tasted great. I also found that I could sneak in extra servings or partial servings of foods by blending them together. Whatever works, right?

  3. You worked hard to come up with a do-able meal plan. It sounds like the important thing was to preserve the integrity of your surgery site, and you did that. It would be next to impossible to have a completely balanced diet under your circumstances--this is a temporary situation and you can gradually increase those things which make your diet more varied as you continue to heal. I'm glad to hear that you are continuing to heal!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Thank you. Sometimes our best for a particular circumstance isn't perfect, but I'm learning to live with that. Fortunately, our bodies are quite resilient and can take a week here or there of less than perfect. I did discover what food I love more than any other. I would have thought that was chocolate. Nope. It's bread. That was the food that I couldn't wait to add back in.

      I hope your week is off to a great start, Kris!


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