Achalasia surgery is a major medical procedure that requires careful post-operative care and attention. Diet and eating after achalasia surgery is an important factor in the success of the surgery and the recovery process. As a dietitian, I’m here to provide you with the best recommendations for what to Eat After Achalasia Surgery to help you stay healthy and heal well. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the types of food to avoid, as well as the most nutritious and beneficial foods to incorporate into your diet.
The Importance of a Soft Diet
Following achalasia surgery, it’s important to stick to a soft diet in order to promote healing. A soft diet helps reduce the risk of developing complications, including discomfort and strictures (narrowing of the esophagus). In addition to limiting intake of foods that are hard, crunchy, or difficult to chew, it’s important to consume smaller meals that are more frequent. This will help the stomach digest food more easily and prevent potential problems.
Foods that are typically part of a soft diet include things like cooked cereals, yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, steamed vegetables, pureed soups, and tender meats. Avoiding fried or greasy foods is recommended as well. Drinking plenty of liquids can also help keep your digestive tract lubricated and reduce the risk of complications.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding what you should eat after achalasia surgery. A nutritionist or dietitian can also provide helpful guidance and meal plans to ensure you are eating the right types of foods to promote healing.
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Foods to Avoid
When it comes to eating after achalasia surgery, there are certain foods that should be avoided in order to prevent any potential complications or irritation of the esophagus. It is recommended to avoid any food that is hard, chewy, crunchy, or fibrous. These include:
- Tough meats such as steak and pork
- Uncooked vegetables and fruits with skins, such as apples and carrots
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains, like wheat germ, bran and oat bran
- Crackers and chips
- Hard candies
- Dry or chewy breads
- Raw fruit and vegetable juices
It is also important to avoid acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, citrus fruits, coffee, and soda. Additionally, spicy foods should be avoided as they can cause irritation in the throat. Alcoholic beverages should also be avoided as they can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which may lead to reflux symptoms.
Foods to Eat
After undergoing achalasia surgery, it is important to slowly reintroduce soft foods into your diet. Make sure to chew all foods thoroughly and avoid any food that is too hard, crunchy, chewy, or difficult to swallow.
Good choices include mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables like carrots, squash, broccoli, and spinach, cooked fruits such as applesauce and pears, canned and stewed fruits, soft meats like chicken and fish, eggs and egg substitutes, tofu, yogurt, milkshakes, smoothies, soups, oatmeal, and rice. You should also include plenty of fluids throughout the day.
It is best to start with a light diet and gradually increase portion size as tolerated. If you are having difficulty tolerating soft foods after surgery, talk to your healthcare team for help. It is also recommended to work with a registered dietitian to create an individualized nutrition plan that meets your specific needs.
Achalasia surgery is a major procedure and it’s important to follow the diet guidelines your doctor gives you to ensure a successful recovery. Here are some delicious recipes that can help make sticking to your post-surgery diet more enjoyable.
Overnight Oats: Soak 1/2 cup of oats with 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (or cow’s milk) in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, top with sliced banana, chopped walnuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey.
Blueberry Muffins: Mix 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mash one banana until smooth and add 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil, 1/4 cup honey, and 1 large egg. Combine wet and dry ingredients, then fold in one cup of fresh blueberries. Spoon into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Lunch and Dinner Recipes
Grilled Salmon: Season a 4 ounce piece of salmon with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 minutes per side over medium-high heat. Serve with a side salad of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, and sliced cucumbers.
Vegetable Soup: Sauté 1 small diced onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add 1 cup chopped carrots, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add 4 cups vegetable broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup cooked white beans and 1 cup cooked diced potatoes. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with crusty bread.
Smoothie: Blend together 1⁄2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1⁄2 frozen banana, 1⁄2 cup frozen berries, 2 tablespoons almond butter, and 1⁄2 cup non-dairy milk or cow’s milk in a blender.
Apple Slices with Peanut Butter: Slice one apple into thin wedges and spread a tablespoon of natural peanut butter on each slice.
These recipes will help you get the nutrition you need while sticking to the dietary guidelines after achalasia surgery. Enjoy!