Now that your successful surgery is complete, you may wonder what you can eat. The progression of intake, from nothing to regular foods again, is fairly straightforward. If you have surgery in a hospital or inpatient setting, your nurse and physician are responsible for advancing your diet. If the surgery is on an outpatient basis, it's good to be prepared with the appropriate post-surgical foods in your home.
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Post-surgery, you'll probably begin with a clear liquid diet and progress to soft foods. Soft foods are generally considered those that can be swallowed without being chewed. Sherbet, puddings, soft eggs and overcooked pastas are considered soft foods. It's recommended that you start with a clear soft food, such as gelatin, and progress to an opaque soft food such as sherbet. Usually, your body will notify you if your appetite is moving too fast. If you become nauseated or bloated with gas, your body may need more time before advancing the diet. One more consideration when choosing a soft food is fat content. According to the National Institutes of Health, although they can be considered soft, foods high in fat content should be avoided because they can cause painful bloating and gas.
Clear Soft Foods
The soft food diet can be broken into many different types, including clear soft, mechanical soft and thickened soft. A clear soft diet contains any items you can see through but do not have to chew. Gelatin and thickened broths are examples of clear soft foods. These items are easily digested and passed, causing no unnecessary post-surgical discomfort. Clear soft foods have another benefit of being low in fat content, so they don't stimulate excess gas production in bowels or trigger nausea. If your doctor has cleared diet progression, the next step will be a mechanical soft diet.
Mechanical Soft Foods
The list of mechanical soft foods is only limited by your imagination. The National Institutes of Health offers meals suggestions and food ideas; however, the only set rule is that foods in this group do not require chewing. Some easy-to-prepare mechanical soft foods include ice creams, sherbets and milkshakes. A blended fruit smoothie is an excellent source of vitamins and can have protein powders added for extra nutritional value. Plain meatless stews and soft-boiled vegetables are also allowable. If these are well tolerated, you can get creative and eat tender pasta, milk toast, even scrambled eggs.