Post-Surgery Meal Ideas

post-surgical meal ideas

I know that figuring out what to eat after having surgery can be confusing. Your doctor may have told you about what foods you shouldn’t eat, but what should you eat?

We’ve all read books that talk about eating ice cream or jello after getting tonsils removed, but it’s also obvious that these foods aren’t exactly nutritious. Your body needs food that kicks its healing systems into overdrive. 

If you’re struggling with what to eat after surgery, then here are a few meal ideas to help you get started.

Protein Smoothies

Protein is an important part of a healthy diet and even more so after surgery as it aids in the rebuilding of cells. It also helps to heal cells that have been damaged during surgery.

It can be difficult or uncomfortable to digest some foods that contain protein, such as meat and beans, after surgery. That’s why a protein smoothie is a great alternative.

protein smoothy for recovery

Making a protein smoothie is easy. Just combine your choice of frozen fruit with milk (dairy or non-dairy is fine) into a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.


One of the most common complaints post-surgery is constipation. Oatmeal is a great way to aid in proper bowel function because it’s full of gut-healthy fiber.

Oatmeal is particularly good for ​recovering from wisdom tooth removal since it’s soft, warm, and nutritious. This food is great in the morning for a fullness that lasts until lunch.

Simply bring the oats to a boil, cook them until they’re tender, and then combine the oats with cinnamon and a little brown sugar or maple syrup to taste.

Cabbage Soup

I know, I know, it doesn't sound super appealing, right? But cabbage is full of antioxidants that help the body to combat infections by boosting the immune system.

Cabbage can be eaten alone or consumed in combination with other healing vegetables, such as cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli, that can maximize the healing benefits.

 For a soothing dish, try boiling cabbage and your choice of other healing vegetables with soup stock and seasonings to taste. Enjoy it hot or, during warmer weather, at room temperature.

Kale Salad

I couldn’t make a list of healthy foods without including kale!

Kale has long been touted as a superfood. It is packed with many of the vitamins and minerals your body may be missing after surgery. With vitamins A and C to increase immune function, vitamin E to promote cell reproduction, and vitamin K to aid blood clotting, kale does a great job of increasing the body’s potential to heal itself.

While kale can be eaten cooked, its benefits are maximized when it’s eaten raw. Try substituting kale for lettuce in your favorite salad for a quick and easy meal.

Benefits of Kale

Brilliant Infographic from Sweet Green

The Importance of Post-Surgical Nutrition

When recovering from surgery, your body needs many different ingredients to facilitate the healing process. Without them, your body will heal slower or can even get worse! And remember, along with food, rest is an essential part of the healing process.

You can make it easier on yourself by planning meals before you go in for surgery. Using a grocery delivery service is also an efficient way to get the nutrition you need without having to tax yourself physically by actually going to the store (and let’s be honest — you probably don’t feel like going out in public anyway).

The bottom line is to listen to your body and to give it what it needs for a speedy and complete recovery.