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Nutrition After Surgery

Special Note: Be sure to follow any specific post-op instructions from your surgeon, nurse, or dietitian.

Some people feel a little nauseated after surgery. This is often due to medications, dehydration, or simply the stress of surgery. Don’t push yourself to eat. Listen to your body and you’ll know what to eat and when. If you were on a special diet (such as low-salt) before surgery, ask your doctor if you should follow it during recovery.

Start Slowly

  • Start off with liquids and soup. They are easier to digest.

  • Progress to semisolids (mashed potatoes, applesauce, and gelatin) as you feel ready.

  • Slowly move to solid food. Don’t eat fatty, rich, or spicy foods at first.

  • Eat smaller amounts, more often.

Drink Fluids

  • It’s normal to lose fluids during surgery. Rehydrating your system helps you feel better and balances the chemicals in your body called electrolytes.

  • Unless told not to, drink at least 6 glasses of clear liquids (such as water, apple juice, or ginger ale) a day.

Good Nutrition

  • Good nutrition helps your body build tissue and heal wounds.

  • Eat a low-fat, high-protein diet.

  • High-protein cereal, fish, and chicken help repair tissue affected by surgery.

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.