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Article: What are the Best Foods to Eat After Surgery? with a Plastic Surgery Dietitian

What are the Best Foods to Eat After Surgery? with a Plastic Surgery Dietitian

If you have been feeling low on energy after your surgery or just “out of whack”, chances are you may not be feeding your body what it needs for recovery and healing. There are some foods that may support your recovery after your procedure more than others. The best foods to eat after surgery should be nutrient-dense, functional foods that are specifically made to help your entire body heal faster from plastic surgery.

Keep reading to learn more about the best foods to eat after surgery and why from a plastic surgery dietitian!

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my article on getting ready for plastic surgery.

Does surgery recovery require more calories and protein?

After surgery, your body goes into this state of hypermetabolism. This just means your body needs more calories and nutrients like protein to process and recover.

Here is the reason why:

  • Surgery depletes your body’s energy resources.
  • After surgery, your body may start breaking down your muscles for energy which is why it is necessary to eat more protein during surgery recovery.
  • Not only is your body trying to build itself back up after surgery and recover, but it is also trying to heal the wounds from surgery.

Protein and calories can help with wound healing to keep you on track for your recovery process and reduce your risk for infections.

Action tip #1: the best foods to eat after surgery are high in calories and protein. Avoid “low calorie, low fat” foods after surgery.

What if you lose your appetite after surgery?

what are the best foods to eat after surgery with a plastic surgery dietitian

A common side effect of surgery is loss of appetite, and unfortunately because of this people often don’t prioritize their nutrition habits - potentially slowing the process of healing and recovery.

If you lose your appetite after surgery, trial these foods:

Examples include:

  • Toddler pouches
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Sips of protein shakes
  • Mashed Potatoes

What are functional foods and how can they help with the recovery process after surgery?

Eating functional foods may help speed up the healing process, reduce inflammation and swelling, and reduce the risk of infections after surgery.

Functional foods can also help with GI issues like diarrhea or constipation that come with taking antibiotics after surgery.

Here’s a list of the best functional foods that help benefit recovery after surgery:

  • Gut health:
    • bananas, broccoli, blueberries, beans, oats, and fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh)
  • Immunity:
    • yogurt with live active cultures, garlic, onions, leeks, and a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Incision healing:
    • fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C (like broccoli and strawberries), beans, high protein foods (like fish and seafood)

What are the best foods to eat after surgery?

Try these 5 foods that I recommend to my plastic surgery nutrition clients after surgery for optimal nutrition for recovery!

what are the best foods to eat after surgery with a plastic surgery dietitian

1. Full Fat Icelandic Yogurt

Make sure you buy the full-fat Icelandic yogurt because it will be higher in calories and protein which is what your body needs after surgery.

This type of yogurt is a fermented dairy product that contains probiotics that are good for your gut health and immune system.

2. Papaya

Papayas are water-rich and can keep your body hydrated after surgery. They also have the natural enzyme papain, which aids in protein digestion. Papayas are also high in and antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress. The reduction is attributed to papayas lycopene content.

3. Oatmeal

Oats can provide you with lots of fiber that can help reduce gastric upset that may come with taking antibiotics after surgery. Oatmeal is considered a gut-healthy prebiotic, which promotes healthy gut bacteria postop. There are many recipes you can find online for overnight oatmeal that are delicious and nutritious.

My favorite recipe is this recipe.

Action tip #2: To add an extra boost of protein, you can use Fairlife Milk or a protein shake in place of water for your oatmeal.

plastic surgery dietitian tummy tuck bbl

4. Chicken Noodle Soup made with No Added Salt Bone Broth

Bone broth can help with the healing process after surgery and chicken noodle soup is easy to make and digest while you are recovering.

If you want to give it an extra boost add a bag of frozen vegetables and extra chicken for more vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Check out this recipe by Back to the Book Nutrition.

5. Toast and Eggs

If you’re just exhausted after surgery and can’t think of anything else to eat or nothing sounds appetizing, just keep it simple and go for toast and eggs.

Eggs are a great protein food that can help you heal faster after surgery. It is easy to make and doesn’t require a ton of energy- which is a plus!

Final Thoughts

Putting all of this plastic surgery recovery information together, the 5 foods I recommend to eat after surgery are:

  • Full-fat Icelandic yogurt
  • Papaya
  • Overnight oatmeal
  • Chicken noodle soup made with unsalted bone broth
  • Toast and eggs

These 'best' foods for plastic surgery will holistically help you heal as it supports your entire body.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed and unsure how your nutrition habits need to look after your surgery, schedule an appointment with me!

I can help you create a nutrition plan for after your surgery so that you feel confident and ready to go in your recovery. The best recovery comes not only with a list of foods, but a calculated meal plan that is specific to your body.

If you haven't already, make sure to check out our latest post on plastic surgery recovery tips!

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