Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning

Nutrition Post Surgery

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Nutrition Post Surgery

by Beth Wolfgram, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD

Immediately post surgery 

  • Eat whatever feels appetizing and appealing to you for the first 1-2 days post surgery. You will most likely feel nauseated and not have a large appetite.

  • Drink your calories if that is easiest – 100% fruit juice, Muscle Milk shakes, soda, or PowerAde.

  • Try to eat something small every few hours.

  • Ask a friend or family member if they can help you when you return home.

  • Keep in mind you will lose a few pounds immediately post surgery – this is mostly due to hydration status and lower calorie intake.

  • After the first few days you can begin to focus your efforts on recovery nutrition again.

Protein options: Focus on high quality protein foods to aid in wound healing and keep your immune system strong! Include a small amount of protein at each snack & meal.

  • Cottage cheese

  • Yogurt

  • Chicken noodle soup

  • Chicken (prepare ahead of time and freeze)

  • Peanut butter

  • Microwavable dinner (low fat, low sugar)

Carbohydrate options: bland carbohydrates that are easy to digest won’t aggravate the stomach and are good for when you’re feeling nauseous.

  • Crackers (plain, unsalted, or lightly-salted) i.e. saltines

  • Bread

  • Bananas—helps to replenish electrolytes lost with vomiting or diarrhea

  • Applesauce cups, jello cups, or pudding cups

  • Microwave oatmeal

  • Pasta & marinara sauce

  • Frozen vegetables

  • Canned or fresh fruit

High fiber options: Pain medications prescribed after surgery can cause constipation. Including fiber in your diet, along with drinking plenty of water, can alleviate constipation.

  • Fruit (prunes or prune juice are great!)

  • Smoothie ingredients: frozen fruit, yogurt, juice, protein powder, etc.

  • High fiber cereal

* You may want to wait 1-2 days to eat these high fiber foods if you are feeling nauseous.

Drinks: Since you may not have much of an appetite, calorie-containing beverages are essential for providing energy for recovery!

  • Gatorade or PowerAde (full-calorie version, not Zero)

  • Ginger Ale, 7up, or Sprite (full-calorie version, not diet)

  • 100% Fruit Juice

  • Meal replacement drinks (like Ensure or Boost)

  • Popsicles

  • Low-fat milk

Day 1 of a normal appetite

  1. Have a snack or meal every 2-3 hours throughout the day.

Your body burns more calories immediately after surgery to promote a healthy immune system and healing. It is important to eat enough during this time!

  1. Include plenty of omega-3’s and other healthy fats.

These foods help decrease inflammation and promote healing.

  1. Always include protein with snacks and meals.

  1. Have a fruit or vegetable with every snack and meal.

These foods are rich in vitamins A and C, which are essential for healing.


  1. Hydration is very important for healing and recovery.

Always carry a water bottle with you and drink several glasses of fluids at meals.

As you return to activity

  • It’s time to stay healthy! Stick to a healthy nutrition plan to help your body recover and get back your conditioning level.

  • Consume nutrient-dense snacks and meals with protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables every 2-3 hours throughout the day.

  • Focus on fueling your body before and after your workouts for optimal recovery.

Good protein sources:

·       Lean meats

·       Beans

·       Eggs

·       Quinoa

·       Nuts

·       Nut butters

·       Cheese

·       Greek yogurt

·       Milk

Fruits & vegetables rich in vitamins A, C, & Zinc:

·       Carrots

·       Sweet potatoes

·       Green leafy vegetables

·       Citrus fruit

·       Strawberries

·       Tomatoes

·       Peppers

Foods rich in omega 3’s and healthy fats:

·       Fish

·       Avocados

·       Nuts

·       Nut Butters

·       Fish oil supplements

·       Seeds

·       Olive Oil

How to reach us: _________________________________________________________________

For Sports Dietitian’s Use

Athlete: _________________________________            

Date: ______________________________

Contact number: __________________________               

Date of surgery: ____________________________                        

Type of surgery: ___________________________              

Estimated length of recovery: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________

How is the athlete getting around: _____________________________________________________________





Other information:




Snack bag


Sports Dietitian


Beth Wolfgram, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS was the Sports Dietician for the University of Utah. She is currently a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Main, GSSI Sports Nutrition Consultant, Sports Dietician for the NBA G League Maine Red Claws and a CPSDA Board Member.

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