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After surgery, your diet will be restricted to ensure that you heal properly. You'll be going through four different stages to gradually step you up from a liquid diet to a solid food diet. The amount of time you'll be in each stage varies depending on the type of surgery you've had, so double check your program information packet to be sure. Below is a guide that will help prepare you for your diet throughout the first month or so after surgery.?

Stage 1: Clear Liquids

 You'll be in this stage for about two days. A "clear liquid" is defined as any liquid that can be seen through and includes beverages like water, decaffeinated coffee and tea, broth or bouillon, sugar-free gelatin and fruit popsicles. During this stage, you are not expected to meet your daily protein goal.

Stage 2: Full Liquids

Full liquids provide adequate fluids, vitamins, minerals and protein intake while allowing your digestive system time to heal. The following foods are acceptable during this stage and can be fortified with protein powder. This stage includes but is not limited to protein shakes, skim or soy milk, light yogurt, low-fat cream soups and oatmeal.

Stage 3: Puree Diet 

For the puree diet, all foods are blended to the consistency of baby food or applesauce. During this stage, you can introduce foods like blended or soft cooked meats, vegetables and fruit; reduced-fat soft cheeses, such as cottage cheese and melted cheddar cheese; and pureed tuna, chicken, salmon or hard-boiled eggs. At this point, it's important to start focusing again on getting your goal of 70-90 grams of protein per day.

Stage 4: Soft Diet/Intro to Solids

During this stage, you'll want to start with soft foods, and then gradually introduce solid food.

Feel free to use this guide as a quick reference, but be sure to refer back to your program packet for more details. Don't hesitate to discuss any questions or concerns about your diet or when to re-introduce certain foods or nutritional supplements with your dietitian.