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patient education : 16071--Post Esophageal Surgery Diet Instructions

Instructions from Nutrition Services with guidelines for food and drink after esophageal surgery

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    Nutrition Guidelines Following Esophageal Surgery

    Why do I need this diet?

    This diet is designed to exclude foods and drinks that might impair how you swallow or hurt the throat after surgery.  This diet will also help you get enough calories and protein. This will help you heal and return to your normal life as soon as you are able.

    Diet Progression

    For esophagectomy patients: You are to have nothing to eat or drink for 14 days after surgery or until           . When approved by your surgeon, you will begin with a clear liquid diet (clear juices, broth, jello) for 1 day, and then full liquid diet for 1 week.  Full liquids are foods and beverages like broths, strained cream soups, milk, milkshakes, pudding, custard, popsicles, sherbet, vegetable and fruit juices, and other drinks that are not carbonated.

    When you are tolerating the full liquid diet for 1 week, you may advance to the post-esophagectomy soft diet (in the chart below) at 22 days (~3 weeks) after surgery.  You will need to follow this diet for about 3-4 weeks after your post- surgery follow up visit. Once your body has had time to heal, you can slowly resume a normal, healthy diet.  At your first post-operative appointment, your doctor or nurse will let you know if you can start eating different foods.  Keep in mind that you may always need to eat small, frequent meals. Avoid eating or drinking 2 hours before bedtime or laying down.  You will need to keep your head of bed elevated 30 degrees.

    For other types of esophageal surgery:  The general progression of the diet is a full liquid diet for the first 2 weeks after surgery followed by a soft diet for about 4 weeks. Full liquids are foods and beverages like broths, strained cream soups, milk, milkshakes, pudding, custard, popsicles, sherbet, vegetable and fruit juices, and other drinks that are not carbonated.  You will find the soft diet in the table below. Once your body has had time to heal, you can slowly resume a normal, healthy diet – generally 4-6 weeks after surgery. At your first post-operative appointment, your doctor or nurse will let you know if you can start eating different foods.  Keep in mind that you may always need to eat smaller and more frequent meals.

    Guidelines

    1. Eat 4-5 small meals a day.
    2. Eat slowly, take small bites, and fully chew all food.
    3. Sit upright while eating and remain upright for 30-60 minutes after eating.
    4. Take one chewable multivitamin with minerals per day.
    5. Prepare foods so that they are moist, soft, and easy to swallow.
    6. Carbonated drinks, such as soda, beer, and champagne should be avoided (Speak to your surgeon about when /if you may use them again.)
    7. Nutrition supplements or homemade milkshakes can be used to replace meals or snacks if you are having trouble taking in enough nutrition. Carnation® Instant Breakfast™ mixed with milk, Ensure®, Boost®, or store brand – choose the “plus” kind for the most calories. 

    Food Group

    Include

    Avoid

    Milk   and Milk Products

    Milk:   all types

    Yogurt

    Custard

    Ice   cream

    Cottage   cheese

    Cheese

    Ice   cream or yogurt with chunks of fruit or nuts

    Meat   and Meat Substitutes

    Soft   eggs (eggs finely chopped)

    Tofu

    Casseroles

    Moist   Fish (NO bones!)

    Meat   and poultry  (chicken or turkey)

    Peanut   butter

     

    Fruits

    All   juices

    All   canned fruits

    Fresh,   peeled fruits:  bananas, melons   (seeded), berries, apples

    Fresh   fruit with skins:  plums, peaches,   nectarines, oranges, apricots

    Dried   fruits

     

    Vegetables

    Well-cooked,   soft, or pureed vegetables

     

    Raw   vegetables

    Bread   and Starchy Foods

    Cooked   cereal

    Mashed   potatoes

    Baked   potato (without skin)

    Soft,   moist rice

    Noodles

    Macaroni

    Spaghetti

    Dry   cereals softened in milk   

     

    Bread  

    Pancakes

    Waffles

    Dry   cereals without milk

    Potato   chips

    Popcorn

    Crackers

    Fats

    Butter

    Margarine

    Mayonnaise

    Salad   dressings

    Cream:   sour, whipping, coffee

    Cream   cheese

    Gravy

    Bacon  

    Nuts

    Deep   fried, crispy food

    Desserts

    Sherbet

    Gelatin

    Puddings

    All   cake type desserts

    Cookies

    Pie   crust

    Dry   desserts

    Desserts   with nuts or skins

    Questions? Call UVA Health System Nutrition Services at 434-924-2286 or the dietitian in the Cancer Center at 434-243-9627.

     

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