Liquid Recipes for Weight Loss or Post-Surgery Diet
My jaw surgery in August 2011 was a real eye opener for me, in terms of what foods I couldn't eat afterwards. Prior to surgery, I prepared by stocking up on soup, protein drinks, and many syringes for blending and eating food in liquid form.
I soon discovered some foods that taste delicious as well as some that are not so good. I took note of all of this to document my progress and keep track of my daily calories consumed.
I hope some of this information is now useful for others going through a similar surgery or lifestyle change that requires a liquid diet.
Thanks to Calorieking.com, I noted the estimated calories for each meal at the bottom. I needed 2000 calories per day, so these are just my rough estimates. Keeping track helped me stay focused on how many calories I was lacking.
The first six days, I lived off of cranberry juice, apple juice, and Ensure, and lost about 10 pounds. However, the following month and a half I created some awesome meals that left me feeling much more satisfied than any protein drink would!
This article includes 20 food options to try when on a liquid diet, varying from tasty soups, to main meals, to desserts. They are not ranked in any particular order, but numbered solely for the purpose of sharing some ways of getting good nutrition when needing foods in liquid form.
Blended Breakfast Ideas
1. Blended Waffles
I love making breakfast from scratch, and after surgery I was so frustrated. I even made my family breakfast and sat and watched them eat the waffles I prepared.
I was so use to making the family breakfast, like I often do, that I forgot I couldn't eat it. After watching in disappointment, I soon realized that I could eat waffles, too, but in a different form.
Next time I made waffles, I served my family theirs, and then took out the blender.
- I placed my waffle on my plate and added butter and honey to it, like I always do.
- I then cut it up into small pieces, as if I would be eating it normally.
- I placed the cut up waffle and toppings in the blender.
- I added 1/2 cup of warm apple juice and a 1/2 cup of warm water.
- Then I blended, adding more liquid as needed.
This drink turned out wonderful, and has the same taste as if you were eating whole waffles.
- Waffle: 437
- Apple Juice: 63
- Total: 500 cal.
2. Carnation Instant Breakfast With Add-Ins
Both vanilla and chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfasts are not bad, but I get tired of them easily. They come in bottles and mixes. With the mixes, you have to add milk but the bottles are all ready to drink. For variety, I added some fruit.
- Put Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast mix in the blender.
- Add 8 oz milk.
- Then add 1/2 banana or three strawberries.
- Add a donut for serious added calories, yum!
- Carnation Breakfast Mix: 130
- 8 oz milk: 122
- 1/2 banana: 40
- OR donut: 195
- Total: 292/447
3. Oatmeal Morning Drink
This drink isn't bad once you get used to a liquid diet. Mom made me this a day or so after coming home from the hospital, and it wasn't doing it for me. But, I tried it a few days later, and it wasn't bad at all.
- Add some cooked oatmeal to the blender.
- Add some fruits, i.e. strawberries or 1/2 a banana.
- Add a generous amount of honey.
- Add apple juice, cranberry juice, or other juice, (I believe I used apple).
- Blend, and drink.
If you think about it, if you were having oatmeal for breakfast, you might have fruit with it. You also may have a glass of juice, too. So, mixing everything in the blender really is not scary, as long as they are ingredients you typically would have together.
- Oatmeal: 80
- Fruit: 30
- Honey: 40
- Juice: 40
- Total: 190 cal.
Lunch Meal Ideas
Let's talk soup. Soup, soup, and more soup!
A few varieties I ate during my recovery period included the below.
4. Lobster Chowder
Okay, I wouldn't suggest you get lobster chowder. That said, if you have to dine out and need something to eat, and ask the waitstaff to blend something for you, this works ok. In my case, though, they weren't able to blend it enough so I took it to go.
- At home, I blended it to my liking.
- I added warm milk to it.
- Mmm. Delicious! And oh, so creamy.
- One bowl of lobster chowder: 200
- Milk: 60
- Total: 260 cal.
5. Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
- Added 1.5 cups broccoli cheddar soup to the blender.
- I added 1/2 cup warm/hot water
- Blended, and drank.
The consistency I needed at the very beginning was very watered down in order to make it in through the tiniest opening in my mouth. I couldn't open wide at all and all liquids had to dribble their way into my mouth.
I tried using the syringe, but was unsuccessful, though I did manage to cover the walls of the bathroom in my blended goop. I found it was much easier for me to make extra liquified meals, and drink them from a cup.
- 1.5 cup broccoli cheddar soup = 250 cal.
6. Tomato Soup
Due to unsuccessful use of the food syringe, I consumed a lot of tomato soup in the first couple of weeks after surgery. I found it to be the easiest food to get into my stomach, but not very filling.
This soup is easy though because it is already so thin that it didn't need to be blended first.
- In a saucepan, mix together tomato soup and cheese, if you desire.
- Then serve.
- Tomato soup: 90
- 1 slice Velveeta cheese: 60
- Total: 150 cal.
7. Progresso Soups
Progresso's hearty soups such as Italian Meatball and Steak and Roasted Russet Potatoes were incredibly delicious meals, and very hearty.
- Heat 1/2 cup water, and add in with the soup, into a saucepan.
- Blend hot soup.
- Soup varies between 80 cal. & 130 cal. / can.
8. Wonton Soup (Or Egg Drop)
We have reached my favorite! You didn't think I would have missed out on Chinese food during my recovery period, did you? For the most part I did, but the soup was the main thing I was craving.
- In the blender, I added soup, including wontons and liquid.
- Because of the high amount of liquid and very slight amount of wonton, it blended fairly easily.
- It was easy to drink and savor. The high salt content made it easier to drink. After a while drinking meals is not bad though at first it is rough and you want the real thing. But then you realize you can't have it and liquid wonton soup is amazing.
This is delicious and very satisfying. However, if you need to keep your calories high you'll have to supplement because this soup is very low in calories.
- Wonton soup = 90 cal.
9. Cheese Soup
Campbell's makes a cheese soup which is good, but very thick. It needs to be be watered down, but don't worry, it doesn't take away from the flavor as it is already very, very concentrated.
- I added a small glass of cheese soup to blender.
- I added warmed water to blender.
- I also added some meat sauce from the fridge to blender (really quite tasty).
- Cheese soup: 100
- Meat sauce: 70
- Total: 170 cal.
Blended Dinner Meals
These meal suggestions were successful for me, starting about a week and a half after surgery. Prior to this, I sat at the dinner table, sad, frustrated and drinking an Ensure or something.
But as I got more mobility back in my mouth and some new elastic bands, I could push more foods through my front teeth. This made it so I could consume liquids with slightly thicker textures.
So, the following blended dinner meals may need to be tweaked depending on where you are at in recovery and/or how liquidy you need your meals to be. When in doubt, add more water, milk, juice or tomato sauce.
10. Pork Stir Fry with Spagetti and Mixed Vegetables
Mom is a great cook, and she makes a really good pork stir fry. I stared longingly at it and took in the delicious smells as she placed a plate of food in front of me like I could just eat it. I would have laughed, but it hurt to do so. Then I realized that I, too, could have this meal.
- Mom's stir fry primarily consists of pork, celery and peppers (and other secret ingredients).
- I added a small cup of stir fry to the blender.
- Then I added a 1/2 cup of cooked spaghetti.
- Added some green beans.
- I heated up 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and 1/2 a cup of water and then added to blender.
- I blended until proper consistency, and consumed.
- I rushed to the bathroom to Waterpik out my teeth between each bite. In the beginning, I ate a lot of meals in the bathroom, which is a bit gross.
- Stir fry: 180
- Pasta: 63
- Green beans: 17
- Total: 260 cal.
11. Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Comfort foods aid in a speedy recovery, and they will make you feel that you are somewhat normal.
- Add small portion of spaghetti to blender.
- Add small portion of meat sauce to blender.
- Add one can of warmed tomato sauce to blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Spaghetti and meat sauce: 200
- Can of tomato sauce: 80
- Total: 280 cal.
I also love pizza, very, very much, and I tried plopping a slice of veggie pizza from Pizza Hut into the blender.
- I added one slice of cut up pizza to blender.
- I heated up one can of tomato sauce and added it to blender.
- Blend until perfect consistency.
For pizza night, I could only consume one slice because that one slice ended up being 2 glasses of liquid. The can of tomato sauce, or liquid in general, makes it difficult to consume lots of pizza or large quantities of food.
But this is okay because small meals are important. You don't want to bloat, because, well, that will cause other problems not mentioned in this hub!
- 1 slice pizza: 100
- One can tomato sauce: 80
- Total: 180 cal.
13. Macaroni and Cheese
I love Annie's boxed macaroni and cheese so I had to give it a go in the blender, especially when I started getting desperate (and by that, I mean starving!)
- Cook up a box of mac and cheese.
- Add a small portion to blender.
- I added a slice of Velveeta cheese, just because I found it's a lot easier to drink blended foods if they genuinely taste either extra cheesy, or extra spicy. It gives it some oomph and a little extra flavor.
- I added 1/2 cup of milk to blender.
- Mmmmhmm, I drank my little heart out.
- Mac and cheese: 240
- Cheese slice: 60
- 1/2 cup milk: 60
- Total: 360 cal.
Burger night was not going to be a night I missed!
- First, I assembled the burger on my plate, like I would be eating it then and there.
- I added onion, tomato, a slice of cheese, and a generous amount of mustard and ketchup.
- I placed the burger and its fixens into the blender.
- I added a cup of heated up tomato sauce.
- Blend, and drink.
It is very hard to consume a whole cheeseburger!
One burger and a can of sauce equalled about two full glasses of liquid, which is too much for my stomach to take at one time. So, I had half the amount which was perfect, and saved the rest for later.
- 1/2 a burger: 200
- Tomato sauce: 40
- Total: 240 cal.
Besides breakfast, I am also a taco girl, as they are my favorite dinner item. So on family taco night I blended all the ingredients for myself.
- I added sautéed beef, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and cheese to blender.
- I added a slice of a garlic baguette to blender.
- I added 1/2 cup of warmed apple juice and water to blender.
- I added a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic and olive oil. The spices enhance the flavors wonderfully, making it very, very tasty.
- Blended until smooth, adding more liquid as needed.
The end result is delicious, and tasted just like a regular taco. The only downside is that you can't eat as many tacos as you normally would. Liquids fill up your tummy very fast.
- 1 cup blended tacos: 200
- Apple juice: 40
- Olive oil: 120
- Total: 360 cal.
I love making homemade fettuccine alfredo. It isn't too unhealthy but it definitely has some good calories. It's perfect for a person on a liquid diet!
Ay, finally, dessert.
In the beginning, I lived off of dessert, as it was the easiest for me. I would grab an Ensure drink or other protein drink, and the sugar content in those is outrageous.
I needed calories though, with a goal of 2000 a day. So, I found ways to really consume some crazy high calories with high calorie desserts.
These are not too fattening but they are a nice change of pace. You can be creative and throw anything into the blender that looks appealing.
- I added yogurt to blender.
- I added various fruit: 1/2 a banana, some blueberries, strawberries, melon, or kiwi.
- Smoothie (varying with individual fruits used): 50
- Yogurt: 70
- Total: 120 cal.
18. Graham Cracker Frosty
- I added one Vanilla Ensure to blender.
- I added 3-4 graham crackers to blender.
- I added a good heaping scoop of peanut butter.
- Add ice to blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Ensure: 350
- Graham crackers: 90
- Peanut butter: 90
- Total: 530 cal.
- Add a generous amount of ice cream to blender. Remember, ice cream is mostly air, so five scoops of ice cream won't amount to much liquid. Live it up! Enjoy your hefty loaded milkshakes while you can.
- Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup milk to blender.
- Add some whipped cream!
- 1/2 cup ice cream: 250
- Milk: 50
- Whipped cream: 50
- Total: 350 cal.
20. Chocolate Milk Drink
- Add 8 oz chocolate milk to the blender.
- Add chocolate pudding to blender.
- Add half a donut to blender.
- Chocolate milk: 100
- Pudding: 60
- 1/2 donut: 70
- Total: 230 cal.
Which blended food would you be willing to try?
A Quick Look at the Foods With Highest Calories
Number of Calories
Carnation Instant Breakfast
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Pork Stir Fry
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Mac n' Cheese
Graham Cracker Frosty
Chocolate Milk Drink
So, if you or someone you know, has, is, or will be undergoing a surgery requiring them to implement a liquid diet, or if you have other reasons to pursue a liquid diet, have no fear.
It is really not all that bad, and there are tons of meals you can create just by looking in your fridge or cabinets. Be creative, and make small portions because not everything you create is going to taste super!
It can be frustrating, especially when you make an unpleasant meal for yourself, when all you want is a big juicy cheeseburger. On days like that, relax, have an Ensure, and try again tomorrow. Best of luck!
Eating Through a Straw
Although I didn't use the syringe much, this guy's video was quite helpful for me.
© 2012 emilybee