Postoperative Nutrition: A Few Helpful Tips

Everyone knows the familiar saying: “You are what you eat.” Especially after surgery which is strenuous on your body, eating a healthy diet that matches your body’s increased demands is important. Fruits, vegetables, greens, and whole grains will give your body the fuel it needs to heal quickly. If your surgeon orders a specific diet or has particular recommendations, make sure to follow them! Immediately after waking up and returning home, it might be difficult to eat large meals or solid foods. With a little bit of preparation, you can make recovery easier by buying snacks like apple sauce, saltine crackers, and oatmeal ahead of time. Eating 6 small meals throughout the day can be easier to tolerate. Some drugs involved in anesthesia and pain relief after surgery can contribute to constipation, so you’ll want to limit any foods that exacerbate this effect. Refined and processed foods, large amounts of milk and dairy products, red meat, and sweets with a lot of sugar should be avoided.

As with anything involved in your perioperative journey, a little bit of preparation goes a long way. Make sure to plan ahead, stock up on groceries and snacks, and bring any questions to your surgeon’s attention before your surgery date!

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“Nutrition Tips to Improve Wound Healing.” Cleveland Clinic, 2014,

“Nutrition Guidelines Following Surgery .” The Portland Clinic, 2019,

Michael Freyer