Post Surgery

Post-Transplant Surgery Nutrition

As you heal from surgery, you may feel tired and not have any desire to eat. Your body has a greater need for protein and calories during this time. Good nutrition will help your surgical wound heal and will also help your body fight infection.

Tips for Post-Transplant Nutrition

Eating enough calories and protein can help promote healing. Generally, three meals plus two snacks or four to five small meals per day will provide you enough calories and protein. Avoid skipping meals.

Choose good sources of protein, such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and peanut butter, dairy such as milk, cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt (Greek), beans and lentils, protein drinks/supplements, and protein powder).

After some time (several weeks to months), a generally healthy diet is recommended.

  • Use the plate method – make half of your plate fruits/vegetables, a quarter your plate protein and a quarter your plate carbohydrates.

Your blood sugar levels may be high after a transplant. You can help control them through your diet by watching the amount and type of carbohydrates you eat.

  • Carbohydrates are found in cereal, bread, rice, fruit, starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas), beans, dairy and sweets.
  • Read the food labels of your products and add up the amount of carbohydrates you are consuming at each meal and snack.
    • Aim for 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal for women and 60-75 grams of carbohydrates per meal for men.
    • Aim for 15-30 grams of carbohydrates for snacks.
  • If possible, choose whole-grain products such as whole-wheat bread instead of white bread and brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Remember to include a good source of protein at every meal/snack to help with blood sugar control.
  • Avoid sugary beverages (regular sodas, juice, energy or sports drinks) and foods with high amounts of added sugars (cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream, etc).

Foods and Beverages to Avoid Post-Transplant

  • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice as it interacts with your immunosuppression medication.
  • Raw, rare or undercooked fish, poultry, pork, beef or eggs.
  • Unpasteurized milk or cheese.
  • Unpasteurized juices or ciders.
  • Fresh sprouts (such as bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts).
  • Food that is spoiled or moldy; food that is past its "use by" date.
  • Alcohol (ask your doctor if you can safely drink any alcohol).

Food Safety Guidelines

Follow food safety guidelines to prevent foodborne illness.

Because you are taking immunosuppression medication, you are more susceptible to foodborne illness. However, if you follow these guidelines, your risk of getting sick is lower:

  • Wash your hands before cooking/preparing food and before eating. Always wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Check expiration dates (“use by” dates) and do not use them beyond the date listed.
  • Keep foods at safe temperatures – remember to keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
  • Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the countertop. The best practice is to thaw food in the refrigerator (such as overnight). If this isn’t possible, then thaw food in the microwave and cook immediately.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish. Cook all meat and fish to the appropriate temperatures listed here.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny, unless using pasteurized eggs (pasteurized shell eggs are available at some grocery stores or look for pasteurized egg products).
    • Check certain products for raw egg, such as Caesar dressing, and avoid foods such as raw cookie dough.
  • Heat lunchmeat before eating. Approximately 30 seconds in the microwave is enough to get lunchmeat steaming hot.
  • If you wish to have chicken salad, tuna salad or egg salad, it is best to make these at home yourself instead of buying them at the deli. Remember to eat them within a few days.
  • Put leftover foods into the refrigerator or freezer right away once finished eating and if going to consume them again, do so within two to three days. Remember to reheat food to steaming hot before eating.
  • Wash fresh fruits/vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten (such as a cantaloupe – wash the outside before you cut into it). You can use a vegetable brush on firm produce.
  • Check fresh fruits/vegetables for bad and damaged spots. Cut those out before eating.
  • Choose whole pieces of fruits/vegetables instead of pre-cut. If you want a salad, it is best to buy the head of lettuce yourself, take it home and wash it, instead of buying bagged salad or pre-made salad (such as on a salad bar).
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Do not use the same knife or cutting board for raw meats and fresh vegetables.
  • Clean lids of canned goods and soda cans before opening.
  • No raw bean sprouts. They are OK if they are cooked, like in a stir fry or other dish.
  • Choose pasteurized dairy and juice/cider. Look on the food label to check that it is pasteurized or made with pasteurized milk. Remember if visiting juice bars or farmer's markets, their juices may not be pasteurized.
  • When eating out, avoid buffets and salad bars. Also, avoid samples given out in the grocery store or other places.
  • Do not consume ice that has come into contact with fresh produce or other raw products.
  • Use a cooler with ice or use ice gel packs when transporting or storing perishable food outdoors, including cut fresh fruits and vegetables.

Preparing for a Transplant

Before Surgery

We will educate and prepare you to face your surgery with confidence and provide a clear understanding of all that is involved.

The Day of Your Surgery

During Surgery

Understanding what will happen the day of your transplant is important for your peace of mind.

Life After a Transplant

After Surgery

Our only goal is to make sure that you have a good outcome and we will do everything we can to make that happen.