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According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), a full liquid diet is described as any foods that are liquid or will become liquid at body temperature. After oral surgery, these foods can help provide your child with nutrition needed to recover and to heal the surgical area.

Increasing calories and protein is important for children who are on a liquid diet for more than 2 to 3 days. After cleft palate repair, pharyngeal flap, LeFort 1/III advancements, fractured jaw repair or any surgery requiring an incision inside the mouth, the full liquid diet is recommended for 10-14 days after surgery. This allows the child to get good nutrients while avoiding any solid chunks of food that might get lodged or stuck in the incision, infecting or disrupting the repair.

The ADA’s Diet for Craniofacial Surgery lists the following foods that are allowed after oral/jaw surgery. You can use this as a guide, adjusting it to the foods your child likes or dislikes. For infants, do not include any foods that you have not already introduced to your child before surgery.



Allowed/Recommended: No breads are allowed

Avoid/Use Sparingly: All breads



Allowed/Recommended: May be pureed into soup /broth

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others



Allowed/Recommended: Smooth, hot cereals (i.e., Cream of Wheat or Rice, MaltOMeal)

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Chunky oatmeal. Dry cereals



Allowed/Recommended: Thin, mashed potatoes with butter &/or gravy. Pureed and thinned rice or pasta

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others



Allowed/Recommended: Cooked and pureed vegetables or strained baby vegetables (thinned as needed). Strained vegetable juices

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others



Allowed/Recommended: Pureed fruits or strained baby fruits(may thin with fruit juice)

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others



Allowed/Recommended: Pureed meats or eggs thinned with broth or added to strained cream soups. Melted cheese (added to soup, pureed casseroles, etc.)

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others



Allowed/Recommended: Milk, cocoa, chocolate milk, milk shakes/malts, eggnog, instant  breakfast mixes, nutritional supplements such as Kindercal, Pediasure as directed.

Avoid/Use Sparingly: None



Allowed/Recommended: Pureed broth soups and strained cream soups. Combination baby foods, thinned to flow readily through a large syringe. Pureed spaghetti sauce thinned with tomato juice  or sauce; other pureed or thinned casseroles.

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others



Allowed/Recommended: Melted gelatin; fruit ice; sherbet; flavored ice cream/ ice milk. Popsicles, pudding pops, frozen fruit bars, fudgsicles, creamsicles. Strained baby desserts thinned). Sugar, honey, syrup, ice cream toppings, jelly.

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Products containing pieces of fruit, nuts, candy or chips.



Allowed/Recommended: Butter and margarine, Half & Half, whipping cream, gravy, sour cream.

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others



Allowed/Recommended: Any are allowed.

Avoid/Use Sparingly: None. Limit use of empty calorie drinks such as soda, Kool-aid, diet  drinks, Gatorade, etc.



Allowed/Recommended: Ground spices and seasonings that your child has had previously.

Avoid/Use Sparingly: Any others

*Twin Cities Dietetic Association - 1997

**Remember that you can also utilize pureed baby foods without chunks.


Adding Calories

At meal time

  • Use cream, sour cream or cheese sauces on cooked, pureed vegetables or potatoes.
  • Add gravy and sauces to blended meat dishes and potatoes.
  • Use liberal amounts of butter and margarine.
  • Add brown sugar and whole milk or cream to hot cereal.

Powdered milk and cream (for children over one year of age)

  • Make “double strength” or “high protein” milk by adding one cup of dried skim milk powder to one quart of fluid whole milk. Mix well and chill overnight before using. Use this milk to drink and in place of regular milk for all food preparation.
  • Add powdered milk to foods. Three tablespoons mixes well with cereals, scrambled eggs, omelets, soups, casserole dishes, potatoes, gravy, etc.
  • Use cream or “double strength” milk in preference to regular milk for cereal, cream sauces and other recipes calling for milk.


  • Standard formula is 20 calories per ounce. You can increase this to 24 calories per ounce by following these guidelines:
  • For standard powder, add three scoops of powder to five ounces (150 ml) of water.
  • For standard liquid concentrate, add one can (390ml) of concentrate to 260ml of water.

Breast milk

  • Generally does not need to be fortified, but if a child also takes formula, you could alternate breast milk feedings with 24 calorie formula for added calories.
  • Be sure to completely empty breasts during pumping to get higher calorie hind milk.

Nutritious snacks

  • Fruit and cottage cheese (pureed)
  • Milkshakes & malts-for additional calories and protein, add Instant Breakfast mix
  • Ice cream with topping
  • Pudding or custard, add whipped cream for added calories
  • Higher calorie fruit juices like grape, prune, pineapple and nectars
  • Eggs-cooked and blenderized

Recipe Ideas

Place ingredients for each recipe in blender. Cover and blend at high speed. Add more liquid if necessary.

Fruit Whip

¾ cup cooked or canned fruit

½ Tbsp fruit juice

Apricot Whip

1 jar strained baby apricots

dash of salt

¼ cup evaporated milk

Banana Shake

1 cup milk

4 Tbsp powdered milk

1 small ripe banana

2 tsp sugar

¼ tsp vanilla

dash of nutmeg

Fruit Drink

1 banana (mashed)

1 cup fruit juice (any kind)

ice chips (optional)

Pink Lassies

1 cup cranberry juice

4 Tbsp. Orange juice

1 cup vanilla ice cream

High Protein Milk Shake

1 cup whole milk

½ cup ice cream

1 pkg Instant Breakfast mix

Peanut/Banana Shake

¼ cup whole milk

½ cup vanilla ice cream

2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

½ ripe banana

Breakfast Drink

1 cup apple juice

½ ripe banana

¼ cup infant rice cereal

Homemade Yo-J

8 ounces of your favorite yogurt

1 cup orange juice

Breakfast Shake

1 cup whole milk

8 ounces vanilla yogurt

½ cup orange juice

½ ripe banana

2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

Favorite Casserole or Old Fashioned Beef Stew

Blend up your favorite casserole or stew. Add enough milk or broth to get the consistency you need.

Macaroni Salad

1 cup macaroni and cheese

1 cup milk

season to taste

Quick Potato Soup

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 cup hot milk (or cream)

dash onion and garlic salt

Cheese Fruit Salad

1 cup cottage cheese

½ cup canned fruit

½  cup fruit juice

Chocolaty/Peanuty Shake

½  cup chocolate ice cream

¼ cup whole milk

2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

Yogurt Delight

8 ounces of your favorite yogurt

1 cup whole milk

Yogurt Shake

8 ounces of your favorite yogurt

1 cup whole milk

½  cup vanilla ice cream

Graham Crackers ‘n’ Milk

3 graham cracker squares

¼ cup whole milk

Creamed Meat

1 jar junior baby meat

½ cup milk

3 Tbsp instant potato flakes

seasoning to taste

These instructions and recipes are to be used as guidelines only. If your child has special dietary needs or allergies, adjust the recipes accordingly. If you have any questions about the full liquid diet, please contact the craniofacial team at 651-325-2308, or 651-602-3277.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.