Home Health Eating Correctly after Surgery: The Foods to Avoid & Enjoy

Eating Correctly after Surgery: The Foods to Avoid & Enjoy

by Dangula Bingula

What you eat after your surgical procedure can have a major impact on your recovery and how quickly your wounds are able to heal. The right foods can help your body keep complications at bay and provide it with the fuel it needs to speed up your recovery.

A Guide to Eating Correctly after Surgery

Below are a few tips that will help you make better food choices during your surgical recovery:

1. Focus on Whole Food


Whole foods refer to anything that isn’t processed. Think of an orange versus orange juice, the juice has gone through a process in a factory to get to you, which means it isn’t a whole food. This is not to say that you should eliminate all processed foods, it’s just more ideal if your diet consists of at least 80% whole foods while you are recovering. Stock up on lots of fresh fruit and vegetables before your surgery, so that there’s no need to get to the store during your recovery.

2. Fiber is a Must


Since constipation is likely after your surgery due to the anesthetic, it’s important to eat enough fiber-rich foods during your recovery. According to Form and Face, constipation can actually increase your pain levels after surgery, which is why it’s best to avoid it if however you can. Think whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables. Foods such as cheese, red meat, sugar and processed foods, in general, will only make your constipation worse.

3. Increase Your Lean Proteins


Protein is excellent for recovering from surgery, so you may want to increase your intake slightly after your procedure. Stick to meats such as chicken, turkey and seafood instead of red meat until you are fully recovered.

Eating Difficulties after Surgery

While eating well after your surgery sounds easy enough, not all patients are able to. A lack of appetite is very common after a surgical procedure but it’s still essential that you continue eating something, even if it’s very small portions.
By avoiding food after your surgery, you are only slowing down the healing process and delaying the closure of your incision. Your body needs the right nutrients to build healthy new tissue during your recovery.


Consider adding smoothies and protein powders to your eating plan if you’re really struggling to eat. If eating is really a problem for you after surgery, make a point of eating calorie-heavy foods wherever possible as this will at least give your body some additional fuel.

For example, use heavy cream and real butter in your food and always eat the item with the highest amount of calories on your plate first if you know you’re not going to be able to finish your meal. See eating and resting as your only jobs after surgery – you need it to get well again. This is also the perfect time to add a bedtime snack into the mix.
What you eat in the days leading up to and after surgery really does make a difference to how quickly you recover. Be mindful about your food choices during your recovery – your body will thank you for it.