How to Maintain Heathy Habits Following Surgery

Those of you who follow me on social media know the I had surgery last Monday. My reconstruction required revisions and I had fat grafting so I went under the knife for my 6th time. Another surgery, another setback, another hurdle – I was determined not to let surgery ruin my wellness habits this time around. Leading up to my surgery, I felt great. I was working out regularly and eating well. I felt strong, energized, and ready for surgery. But… I was nervous about how a month of restrictions would impact my ability to keep up my wellness routines.

I decided to take control of the situation by planning head and setting myself up for success.  I took certain steps to position myself for an easy return to my healthy eating habits post-surgery. Since I am unable to exercise, aside from walking and low impact biking, for three more weeks I have been even more focused on filling my body with healthy food that support healing and recovery.

I am sharing my tips with you below for how to set yourself up for success and maintain healthy habits following  surgery. I also included some of the delicious healthy recipes I have been using.

  • Before Surgery (1 week prior or weekend prior)
    • Prepare healthy meals you can freeze and reheat (Stir Fry, Chicken Soup, Crock Pot Chicken Chili)
    • Prepare bulk portions of  pre-cooked vegetables (Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Green Beans, Kale, Squash) and whole grains (Brown Rice and Quinoa) that you can easily eat when you return from the hospital. Having these pre-cooked foods on hand will make the first few days much easier.
    • Stock your pantry with nuts, popcorn, and healthy granola bars (these are my favorite) for those times when you need something on-the-go or want to pack healthy snacks for follow up trips to the doctor/hospital.
  • Following surgery
    • Ask friends or family members who want to help to come cook for you.
    • You may have restricted lifting and movement, so having someone else prepare large quantities of healthy food will be extremely helpful both for your mental and physical state.
    • Having people come to your home means you will have company and control over what they make in order to meet your dietary restrictions. I have loved Meal Train in the past, but it’s hard to stay healthy with so much meal variety.
    • Print recipes in advance and determine a list of your grocery needs.When my parents arrived, they were able to quickly do the shopping and begin cooking the recipes I had selected.
    • Think about doubling your batches. We made enough to eat some this week and freeze some for later in the month.
    • For those with a meat eater in the family, start with hearty vegetarian base and then you can easily add a meat topping for those who need/want it. My husband’s go-to is rotisserie chicken, because he can easily add that to any of my vegetarian dishes. We both love salmon for a protein or I will also use sweet potato, avocado, beans or occasionally tofu.
    • I also asked my parents to prep my weekday breakfasts and lunches so my work week would be less hectic (quinoa breakfast and veggie sandwich recipes noted below).

I have a few fantastic (mostly) vegetarian, gluten free recipes that I will share with you below. All of these dishes are relatively easy to make, freeze well, and can be made in large quantities to easily reheat.

Vegetarian Medley Sandwich*

I use this gluten free bread from Wal Mart. On certain thinner breasts, this sandwich can get soggy by the 3rd day. To combat this, I try to use a thick multi-grain bread with lots of seeds.

Warm Lentils with Bacon & Herbs*

(Image: The Kitchn)

*I modify this recipe by  skipping the rosemary, sage and shallots. I add sautéed onions and top with rotisserie chicken for my husband. This dish is so flavorful! Even non-lentil fans love this dish. Its a perfect base to add other protein to as well: sweet potato, tofu, shrimp, steak, etc. I have tried making it with turkey bacon as well and while it works fine, it’s not as satisfying.

Quinoa Black Bean Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

These stuffed peppers are delicious and filling. Perfect for lunch or dinner. They can easily be topped with turkey meat for the meat eaters or avocado for the vegetarians.

(Image: Pinch of Yum)

Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa

Delicious! This is a perfect filling chili to transition into Fall. The cream cheese, enchilada sauce and cheese combine to make it thick and creamy.

(Image: Creme De La Crumb)

Cheesy Quinoa Broccoli Bake

This dish is phenomenal. I couldn’t stop eating it out of the pan as my mom pulled it out of the oven!

(Image: Cookie + Kate)

Overnight Quinoa

I prep 5 containers of this overnight quinoa dish on Sundays and top with berries each morning. It is super easy to make and is delicious throughout the week.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 C cooked quinoa
  • 4-5 drops liquid stevia (I like this brand)
  • 1/2 banana (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2/3 C unsweet almond milk
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds

Optional

  • 1/2 C coconut milk
  • sunflower seeds
  • cocoa nibs
  • coconut flakes (unsweet)
  • vanilla extract

I hope these tips and healthy recipes help you maintain healthy habits following your surgery.

If you have any questions , please reach out to me by email (mycancerchic@gmail) or on social media (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook @mycancerchic). I love to hear from you all. There will be a full post up in about 6 weeks all about my revisions and the fat grafting experience. I want to give my body more time to heal so I can share more about the recovery process and my results.

Have an amazing day!~

Advertisements

2 comments

    • Anna says:

      Thanks so much! It was a huge thanks to my parents this weekend but prepping last weekend helped a lot too. It feels good not to feel gross and bloated on top of all the surgery issues.

Join the Conversation