It’s not easy after you get maxillofacial surgery. Still sedated from the anesthetics, you can’t drive and operate machinery for twenty-four hours. Exercise has to be put on hold for at least two to three weeks and at least 12 weeks for any sport that might injury the face (i.e. basketball and football). And then there’s the eating…or what sounds like you’re starving for those couple of weeks, limited to a mostly liquid diet.
Now, a no-chew diet sounds bleak, but it’s not impossible and it’s pertinent to a quick recovery. It is also especially pertinent that while you’re in recovery, you get the appropriate amount of protein and nutrition. This will help with your immune system and the healing process. There are four food groups that you should include in your recovery daily diet: starch, dairy, vegetables/fruits, and protein. Here’s a breakdown of each group and some ideas to fulfill each food group need.
Great No-Chew Diet Ideas:
- Starch. The key thing to keep in mind about this food group is keeping it smooth and creamy. It’s actually the key factor for all of the food groups, but I digress. Whether it’s cereal, grits, polenta, or mashed potatoes- you’re going to want to keep it smooth, creamy, and easy to swallow so that there is no chewing involved.
- Vegetables & Fruits. Juices (like tomato juice and V8) will become your best friend during this time because they easily fulfill this food group. Creamy vegetable soups can work here like creamy butternut squash, tomato bisque, or blended corn chowder. Refried beans, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed cauliflower are some tasty foods to have while in recovery. Making a smoothie can also work, but watch out for the temperature as the cold may be sensitive to your face/mouth area.
- Dairy. If you like ice cream, you now have a reason to justify your love for it. Foods like macaroni & cheese, yogurt, and pudding are some ideas. Drinks like milk and hot chocolate can fulfill the dairy food group as well. Go back to childhood and have a crustless grilled cheese sandwich and dip it with tomato soup (this can fulfill your vegetable food group too!).
- Protein. This food group is a little harder to make attractive. It is suggested that you have some pureed meat, fish, and eggs. Scrambled eggs can work and if they are a little difficult, diluting them with cream or milk may be a good idea. Drinks like Ensure or Boost will contain some of your daily requirement of protein. If you want to kill two birds with one stone (metaphorically-speaking), make a peanut butter protein milkshake!
I have heard that some people go on an all-ice cream diet, but that probably isn’t the most nutritious way to go. Definitely try to fulfill all four food groups when you’re recovering from your surgery those four to six weeks. Take this time to experiment with soups and juices! You’ll thank yourself later for sticking to a no-chew diet.
Thu is writing on behalf of Austin Oral Maxillofacial Surgery. She’s never had maxillofacial surgery, but if ever does, you’ll probably see her stocking up on ice cream.