Eating after Surgery

person eatingAfter some operations you will be advised not to eat for a few days to let your system heal.  When your doctors are happy for you to take things by mouth, you will be given water to sip followed by the gradual introduction of a light diet then, after a few days, a normal diet.

When you are able to eat enough, your doctors may prescribe pancreatic enzymes to help you digest your food.  You dietician will tell you how to take these.

What is a light diet?

Generally this is soft, moist and easily digested food.

Suggestions for a light diet include:


Main meals:


Foods to avoid on a light diet:

Fizzy Drinks

Avoid fizzy drinks until you are on a normal diet. This is because fizzy drinks can make you bloated and reduce your appetite. Sometimes fizzy drinks can cause pain if taken in the weeks immediately following surgery.

Nutritional Supplements

Some people need additional high protein or high energy supplements to help them recover from the operation. You will be advised about these by your medical team. It is important to ask your medical team before taking any other supplements or herbal remedies as these may interfere with your treatments.

Returning to a normal diet

It can take time to return to normal after some surgical procedures.  It is advisable to try to eat little and often, with lots of small snacks and high energy drinks between meals.

You will need to ensure you are getting enough energy and protein from your food so try to avoid watery soups, too much fruit and vegetables and large drinks at mealtimes.

Suggested foods include:







Chocolate bar, cheese and biscuits, packet of crisps


Hot chocolate (milk based), fruit juice, milky coffee


Some people develop diabetes following pancreatic surgery.  You may be started on tablets to manage your blood sugars but some patients will need insulin injections to replace the insulin the pancreas normally produces.

You may be referred to a diabetes nurse specialist who will help you manage your diabetes and give help and advice on your insulin injections and managing your diet.

If you are at home following surgery and have symptoms of diabetes including thirst, rapid weight loss and you are passing a lot of urine, contact your GP.

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Information Product No. PCA0012 v1 pgs 28 - 31 | Published: 26/01/2013 | Last Updated: 24/10/2017 | Next Review Due: 26/01/2016