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Article: Surgery Recovery: Foods to Avoid After Surgery

Surgery Recovery: Foods to Avoid After Surgery

Wondering what foods to avoid after surgery? After surgery, you can be nauseous, constipated, and have a poor appetite. This is due to the trauma of surgery and overall effects of anesthesia.  

Are you preparing for an upcoming BBL, face lift, or cosmetic procedure? Are you confused on how to best fuel your body while recovering from surgery?

Don’t worry- you aren’t alone. Most patients don’t feel that they are given the right nutrition knowledge to empower them during their surgery recovery. That’s where I come in!

In today’s article, I will be sharing the top foods to avoid after surgery and why! I will also include some alternatives to these foods so that you will be prepared for a smooth, stress-free recovery.

Looking for more plastic surgery content? Make sure to check out my blog post on the worst foods to eat after surgery from a plastic surgery dietitian!

Foods to Avoid After Surgery 

While the first `go-to’ after surgery is protein, protein, protein, there ARE some parameters on what foods can slow down your healing, even with your good intentions.

My clients are taught early on in their surgery journey that these are foods they will not be eating the first several days after surgery. I give an explanation as well so you can better understand why these aren’t ideal for surgery recovery.


Beef includes steak, ground beef, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Although beef is very nutritious with iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, you might be surprised to hear that I do not recommend it following surgery.


It has saturated fat, which slows down gut motility. Gut motility refers to the digestion process specifically through the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and out of the body. If you have slow gut motility worsened by constipation, you will not have ANY appetite and likely experience even some more nausea. 

It is better to wait to incorporate beef back into your diet until at least two weeks after your surgery. 

A better alternative is ground turkey or ground chicken. They can both be enjoyed in burgers, stir fries, meatballs, chili, and more!

Here is a simple ground turkey recipe to try post-surgery: 


  • Ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp of oil (canola, olive, or avocado)
  • Seasoning of your choice ( pepper, sage, cayenne, red pepper, thyme and Italian seasoning are all good options).


  • Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat
  • Break up your ground turkey in a frying pan 
  • Add seasonings and continue cooking turkey until fully an internal temperature of 165 ºF is reached
  • Use this meat base for chili, stews, or tacos.

Hard Cheese 

Cheese is protein packed and a great source of calcium. It also contains important vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and B12, zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin.

Since cheese is high in protein, you might think it’s a great option for recovery. However, hard cheeses are significantly higher in sodium and saturated fat, which will contribute to the gut motility we talked about previously. 

Some examples of hard cheeses include:

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Gouda cheese
  • Provolone cheese

Overall, a few better cheese alternatives for surgery recovery include ricotta and goat cheese, which are all lower in saturated fat.

Straight Pineapple juice

Yes- read that again – pineapple juice!  This may go against everything you ever learned! 

Here is why: 

After surgery your body will likely naturally have a higher blood sugar due to the trauma of surgery.  Further, pineapple juice can spike blood sugar, and imbalanced blood sugar can impede the health of the incision.  

A 1 cup serving of unsweetened pineapple juice contains:

  • Calories: 133
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 32 grams
  • Fiber: 1 graham. 
  • Sugar: 25 grams

A better alternative is: pear juice!  

Dilute your pear juice in 50/50 water to keep the sugar content lower while still getting all of the amazing benefits.

A 1 cup serving of diluted pear juice contains:

  • Calories: 60
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 15 grams

Action tip #1: Buy pear juice to have as a part of your post-op recovery routine. You can also make your own homemade pear juice if you have a juicer!

Foods to Avoid After Surgery: Final Thoughts

All in all, here are a few key takeaways from this article:

  • What you eat after surgery can help your body recover more easily.
  • Beef, hard cheeses, and pineapple juice are not ideal for after surgery.
  • There are many better food options to choose from that are packed with nutrients. 
  • Include foods such as ground turkey, low fat cheeses and diluted pear juice.

If you would like a more detailed nutrition plan that meets your specific needs and surgical goals, then head over to my instagram page learn more about my current offers. My Better Body Protocol is for you if you have or are having a BBL, tummy tuck, face lift, and more.

Experience a better recovery after plastic surgery with my proven nutritional method!

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