Jaw Surgery Aftercare and Diet

How to Eat After Jaw Surgery 

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This diet consists of smooth, easily swallowed food.

This information should assist you in the selection and preparation of a nutritiously blended diet which will help you heal and maintain your weight and energy.

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Blender Information

Ideally, obtain a blender (stationary or handheld) or food processor. Otherwise, commercial baby food may be used.

Consistency of Food

During the first few weeks of your recovery period your diet will consist of fluids and thin blenderized foods.

The addition of minced or finely chopped foods into your diet varies with the type of surgery performed; check with your surgeon before you increase the texture of your diet.

As a general rule, jaw surgery patients should not use a straw during the recovery period. Check with your surgeon before using a straw.

Guidelines for Blending Foods

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For this diet, food should be blended with enough liquid to produce a thin, easily-swallowed meal.

When the jaws are wired together tightly, it may be necessary to strain the blended food.

To add flavor and interest to blended foods or commercial baby food, it may be seasoned with butter or margarine and warmed to your ideal temperature.

Blender Method

Place liquid in blender.
Add food.
Blend on low until smooth.

You may need to add additional liquid or increase the blender speed to reach the desired consistency.

Sorting Blended Foods

Prepare more than one serving at a time and store in the refrigerator in a closed container for two or three days, or in the freezer in individual portions labeled and dated.

To serve:
Defrost in the refrigerator or over hot water.
Heat only the amount you need for one meal.

Blending Fruit

Use 125 ml (1/2 cup)
Chopped, cooked or canned fruit blending with 15-30 ml (1-2 tbs.) unsweetened fruit juice, ice cream or pudding.

Use lemon juice or orange juice with fresh peaches or bananas to keep them from turning brown.

Note: Certain fruit, such as cherries and pineapple, cannot be pureed well.

Blending Vegetables

Use 125 ml (1/2 cup) well-chopped cooked or canned vegetables blended with 30-45 ml (2 or 3 tbs.) cream sauce or vegetable cooking water.

Note: Cabbage and celery cannot be blended well.

Blending Meat

Use 125 ml (1/2 cup) tender cooked cubed meat, fish, or poultry (not fried) blended with 45-60 ml (3 or 4 tbs.) gravy or cream soup, or vegetable cooking water or vegetable juice.

Note: 1 serving of meat, fish or poultry is 90-125 ml (6-8 tbs.) pureed.

Meat Alternatives and Combination Dishes

Cooked or canned legumes (baked beans, kidney beans, chick peas, etc.) and lentils can be blended following the instructions for vegetables.

Cottage cheese can be combined with milk or soft fruit and blended to the desired consistency.

Scrambled eggs, or scrambled eggs with grated cheese, may be combined with milk and blended to the desired consistently.

Spaghetti with meat sauce, macaroni and cheese, chili con carne, etc. may be pureed following the instructions for meat.

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Food Choices

A variety of nutrients are needed to help you heal and maintain good health.

Follow the guidelines of the United States Department of Agriculture to assist you in consuming a nutritionally wellbalanced diet.

  • Enjoy a variety of foods from each group every day.
  • Choose lower-fat foods more often

The Food Guide recommendations include lower and higher number of servings for each food group because the amount of food you need every day from the food groups depends on your age, body size, activity level, and whether you are male or female.

Milk Products

Recommended: 3 to 4 servings daily

1 serving is any of the following:

  • 250 ml (1 cup) of whole, 2% or chocolate milk, or milk-based drink (milkshake) or cream soup made with milk
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) of yogurt, ice cream, milk pudding, or cottage cheese blended with milk

Note: If you don’t tolerate milk, please refer to the helpful tips section.

Meats and Alternatives

Recommended: 2 to 3 servings daily

1 serving is any of the following:

  • 50-100 g (2-3 oz.) of cooked tender meats, fish or poultry; blend meats with cream sauce, cream soup, hot broth
    or gravy
  • 1 small jar (100 g) of baby food meat thinned with gravy or soup
  • 1-2 eggs, scrambled and blended with milk, or added to soup (such as egg drop soup) and blended
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) of cooked beans, peas or lentils (blended with liquid)
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) tofu blended into soup
  • 2 tbs. peanut butter (blended into drinks)

Grain Products

Recommended: 5 to 12 servings daily

1 serving is any of the following:

  • 126 ml (1/2 cup) of hot cereal (cream of wheat, oat bran, or strained oatmeal) thinned with milk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) of infant cereal mixed with juice or milk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) of cooked rice or noodles blended with soup or milk

Fruits and Vegetables

Recommended: 5 to 10 servings daily
1 serving is any of the following:

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) of cooked or canned fruit blended with fruit juice, ice cream or pudding
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) of well-cooked vegetables blended with broth, sauce or cream soup
  • 125 (1/2 cup) of fruit or vegetable juice
  • 1 small jar (128 g) of baby food vegetables thinned with margarine or sauce
  • 1 small jar (128 g) of baby food fruit thinned with juice
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Maintain Your Weight

It is important that you maintain your weight during the recovery period (Tip: Aim to weigh yourself once a week). Losing weight indicates that you are not consuming enough calories, and this can delay your healing.

To increase your caloric intake you can:

  • Increase the number of meals and snacks you eat
  • Use whole milk or half cream and half milk in recipes for puddings and milk shakes
  • Add skim milk powder (4 tbs.) to each cup of milk used for soups, milk drinks and puddings
  • Add extra fat (butter, margarine, oil) and high fat food
  • Don’t fill up on low calorie fluids such as coffee, tea, broth, diet soda, or water – save these fluids for the end of the meal.

Importance of Fiber

To help prevent constipation, add extra fiber to your diet by:

  • Mixing 1 or 2 tbs. natural bran or wheat germ with hot cereals, casseroles, soups or milk drinks
  • Eating high fiber legume dishes such as blended baked beans or split pea soup
  • Having blended prunes or prune juice once a day

Note: Fiber should be gradually increased; don’t make all of these changes on the same day. Gradually add extra fiber to your diet over a few days.

Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional Supplements provide liquid nutrition in a convenient form. These products are not essential, but can be helpful as part of a meal or snack.

Also, if you find it difficult to consume the recommended servings from the grain products or milk products groups, you could include 1 or 2 servings of a nutrition supplement since it is a good source of the nutrients provided by these groups.

Some products to look for at your drug store or grocery store:

  • Boost*
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast
  • Ensure, Ensure Plus
  • Essentials*
  • NuBasics*, NuBasics Plus*
  • Resource, Resource Plus*, Resource for Kids*
  • Pediasure* (for children)

Note: *These items are lactose-free.A vitamin and mineral supplement is not necessary with a well-balanced diet. However, if you find that you are not able to regularly consume the recommended number of servings from the United States Department of Agriculture, it would be beneficial to take a vitamin and mineral supplement.
Ask your pharmacist to help you choose a suitable variety, since you may need this supplement in liquid form.

Helpful Tips

If you can’t tolerate lactose or are allergic to milk, try the following:

  • Use Lactaid milk (if you are lactose intolerant) or soy milk (if you are allergic to milk)
  • Use a lactose-free nutritional supplement (they may not be milk-free) as part of a meal or snack
  • Use a soy-based frozen dessert such as Tofutti in place of ice cream in beverage recipes
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Meal Planning

You may find it easier to have five or six smaller meals in a day rather than fewer large meals. Taking food in liquid form is both time consuming and tiring, and liquids tend to be more filling. For portion size, refer to the food choices section.


  • Hot-cooked cereal prepared with milk, served with cream and sugar
  • Scrambled egg blended with milk or cottage cheese blended with fruit
  • Apple juice

Mid-Morning Meal

  • Milk beverage (see recipes) or instant breakfast


  • Cream of tomato soup made with milk
  • Blended macaroni and cheese thinned with milk or cheese sauce
  • Blended green beans with butter or margarine
  • Vanilla pudding thinned with milk
  • Juice or water (end of meal)

Mid-Afternoon Meal

  • Fruit yogurt blended with milk, or pudding thinned with milk
  • Juice


  • Blended roast beef thinned with gravy
  • Mashed potato blended with milk or cream and butter
  • Carrots blended with butter or margarine
  • Pears blended with unsweetened fruit juice or ice cream
  • Water or tea (end of meal)

Bedtime Meal

  • Hot-cooked cereal served with cream and sugar, or milk beverage (see recipes)
  • Pineapple juice
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The following abbreviations have been used throughout these recipes:
tsp. (teaspoon)
tbs. (tablespoon)
ml (milliliters)

Metric Conversion

To convert to metric, use the following measurements:
cup = 125 ml
cup = 200 ml
1 cup= 250 ml
1 lb. = 450 g
1 tsp. = 5 ml
1 tbs. = 15 ml

Main Dishes


2 servings

2 tsp. margarine or butter
2 tsp. onion, chopped
1 small potato, diced
1 small carrot, sliced
cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 lb. fish fillets, fresh or thawed
1 cup milk

Melt margarine in saucepan and cook onion until tender. Add potato, carrot, water and tsp. salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Cut fish fillets into 1 inch (3 cm) cubes. Add fish to saucepan and cook 10 minutes longer. Cool slightly and blend in a blender/processor. Return to saucepan, add milk and reheat but do not boil.
Per serving: 222 calories, 22 g protein


6 servings

1 lb. ground beef
2 tbs. onion, minced
1 cup macaroni (uncooked)
1 10 oz. can tomato soup
cup water
1 tbs. ketchup
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder to taste
For blending: extra broth or tomato juice

Brown beef and onion in a saucepan. Cook macaroni and add to saucepan with remaining ingredients. Put into a casserole and bake at 350F or 180C (covered) for one hour. Put about 1 cups in blender/processor and add extra broth or tomato juice to achieve proper consistency.
Per serving: 365 calories, 17 g protein

Milk Drinks


2 servings

1 cup ice cream
1 cup whole milk
1 pkg. Carnation Instant Breakfast

Combine and blend well. To vary the flavor, try different flavors of ice cream or Instant Breakfast, or add 1/3 to 1/2 cup fruit or 1 tsp. instant coffee.
Per serving: 290 calories, 11 g protein


1 serving

cup root beer, cola or fruit flavored soda
1 cup vanilla ice cream

Place a large scoop of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass and add soda until glass is almost full.
Per serving: 230 calories, 3 g protein


2 servings

cup pineapple juice
cup grape juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1 banana
cup ice (3 cubes)

Blend in blender until smooth and foamy.
Per serving: 223 calories, 8 g protein


2 servings

1 cup buttermilk
2 tbs. brown sugar
cup orange juice
1 cup vanilla ice cream

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend to desired thickness.
Per serving: 265 calories, 8 g protein


1 serving

cup strawberry ice cream
1 cup whole milk
ripe banana, sliced

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Per serving: 325 calories, 9 g protein


2 servings

1 cup chocolate milk
4 tbs. peanut butter
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Combine ingredients, blend until smooth.
Per serving: 385 calories, 14 g protein

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