Good meals for surgery patients?
October 20, 2009 1:53 PM   Subscribe

What are some good meals for folks recovering at home from surgery? I want to bring some food to my friend, but he is too polite to say, "I want this, but none of that," etc. If you have had surgery, what were you able to eat? What did you absolutely not want? This is for a person who normally likes everything. The surgery isn't related to the mouth or GI tract. Thanks!
posted by Knowyournuts to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)
I don't think non-oral and non-GI surgery ever affected what I wanted to eat, except in the case of post-surgery abdominal bloating which was an excellent appetite suppressor. Opiate painkillers tend to produce constipation, particularly in people sedentary after surgery, so perhaps plan accordingly...
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:00 PM on October 20, 2009

fruit salad
posted by debbie_ann at 2:00 PM on October 20, 2009

Without knowing more about the surgery it is hard to say. Even if it didn't involve the GI tract directly there still may be some things he can't eat due to drug interactions or other issues. Why not ask him? "I'm going to bring you dinner tonight; what are you hungry for?" or something like that.
posted by TedW at 2:01 PM on October 20, 2009

Also bear in mind that a deep anesthetic and/or painkillers can really slow down the digestive system. If it's abdominal surgery, then you'll want to avoid anything that's likely to sit in the gut for too long and be painful to expel.

A nice home-made seasonal soup (pumpkin, squash) and some fruit salad would be good.
posted by essexjan at 2:11 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Grapes. They're like little vitamin water poppers.
posted by Acacia at 2:12 PM on October 20, 2009

Typical comfort food items, which I suppose may vary by individual and culture. I always like: Homemade mac and cheese, spaghetti, sandwich fixings, chocolate milk, Coca-cola, hardboiled eggs, fruit, and fruit juices. Anything easy to heat up and serve quickly. Casseroles are a good choice. As are things that can be eaten cold: pasta salads, fried chicken, etc . . .

As an aside: Maybe you could lend him some books to read or movies to watch or make a run to the video store for his favorites.

You're a good friend. Your care and thoughtfullness in providing meals will be more important than the exact foods you choose.
posted by dchrssyr at 2:25 PM on October 20, 2009

I craved a slice of pizza after my back surgery. But then again, I crave a slice of pizza mostly all the time. I wanted something warm that would stick to my ribs without bloating me. Mac and cheese and the foods mentioned by dchrssyr are all good.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:28 PM on October 20, 2009

Whatever you select, I think presentation is important in this type of situation.
posted by jgirl at 2:59 PM on October 20, 2009

Hospital ice cream sucks. Take him a pint of Ben and Jerry's and a real spoon.
posted by paulsc at 3:01 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Grilled cheese sammich and tomato soup. Or some Jewish penicillin: chicken soup.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:30 PM on October 20, 2009

"I'm going to [insert his favorite restaurant here] to pick up dinner for us before I visit. What appetizers/entree do you want?" Even if he can't eat much, it will feel like a treat.

Order a lot so there's easily warmed leftovers. Do the dishes after. Leave any magazines you might have or a collection of short stories/essays. Make sure that there are beverages in the fridge (cold water, iced tea, juice, whatever).
posted by Morrigan at 3:44 PM on October 20, 2009

Take several portions of something that can be easily warmed up, that's not too messy, not too spicy. Quiche, beef stew, apple pie, good bread. When I am sick, I crave noodles with butter and poppy seeds, cooked carrots with butter, and chicken soup.
posted by theora55 at 3:53 PM on October 20, 2009

When I was recovering from brain surgery, the constant opiate dose really made me feel, um, bloated. So I started eating a bowl of raisin bran (or oatmeal) a day and that helped a lot.

Also, when my mother came to visit a few times a week, she often brought me a cupcake or some other pastry from this wonderful baker near us. I loved it.

Also, fruit juice.
posted by sickinthehead at 4:16 PM on October 20, 2009

Provided it's not anything too rough on the stomach, he probably wants his favorite food, whether from a restaurant or not. When I had my first surgery (I was 20, practically still a teenager), on my 3rd and final day in the hospital I ordered pizza and chocolate cake for dinner. My own personal reward for suffering through.

jgirl: "Whatever you select, I think presentation is important in this type of situation."

I agree, and it probably depends on the person. For me, I have a hard time eating leftovers of anything that has congealed in the fridge (certain soups, gravy), because it looks so nasty until it's heated up. I never want that kind of food when I'm sick.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:39 PM on October 20, 2009

The only time I'd ever had surgery it was for something minor, as a kid, but when I awoke from the anesthetic I was fed chicken noodle soup that was so, so amazing that I don't think I've ever recovered from it - this was over twenty years ago but I think part of me is still dedicated to re-discovering the incredible blend of savoriness and comfort that each spoonful of that stuff delivered ... Assuming your friend will eat meat, my advice is to make him some out-of-this-world chicken noodle soup from scratch - maybe get some of those really good, thick noodles, make the stock yourself, snip in some fresh parsley before giving it to him - just really go all-out with it ... who knows, you just might spoil him for life!
posted by DingoMutt at 5:16 PM on October 20, 2009

I had a four hour surgery three weeks ago. I was at home in bed by noon and ready for a Chipotle burrito by 5. Ask him what he likes best. Otherwise make stuff that's easy to reheat. And bring ice cream!
posted by elsietheeel at 6:58 PM on October 20, 2009

A few years ago, I was homebound for two weeks. Pot pie, grilled cheese, frozen grapes all hit the spot, but homemade chicken soup was the home run.
posted by Marky at 10:45 PM on October 20, 2009

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the help!
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:45 PM on October 26, 2009

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