5 Meal Planning Tips After Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 8, 2018

Spine Surgery Meal Planning

If you’re about to undergo a spinal operation, you’re probably focused on the operation and your rehab, but there’s one other aspect that warrants your attention – your diet. Meal planning and what you eat in the days and weeks following an operation plays a huge role in your recovery, so you need to make some good choices. Below, we share five meal planning tips for life after spine surgery.

Plan Ahead

Meal planning can get lost in the shuffle before the operation, but you might not be as mobile after surgery, so it’s a good idea to go shopping or even prep some healthy, easy to reheat meals prior to your operation. Don’t assume that you’re going to be able to go grocery shopping right away or that you can rely on frozen pizzas and delivery. Now is a crucial time for your spine, so plan ahead with some healthy options.

Quality Calories

After an operation, your body naturally increases your metabolism, so you may need more calories than normal for proper recovery (although be sure to factor in your likely decrease activity level in the short-term when counting calories). Now is not the time to diet, in fact, you should even take in more calories than normal, so long as they are quality calories with necessary vitamins and nutrients. Think things like whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fresh fruits.

Protein and Dairy

Protein and dairy are two key components of a healthy rehab after spine surgery. Foods like lean meats, poultry, fish and eggs are great sources of protein. Similarly, low-fat dairy products can provide you with calcium and Vitamin D, which help with bone formation and restoration. Milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are all options to consider during your rehab.

More Small Meals

Instead of going with three larger meals throughout the day, consider going with more smaller meals. Again, your metabolism is faster, and smaller meals will help food break down quicker. Also, larger meals can leave you feeling gassy or bloated, both of which can be extremely uncomfortable if you have a surgical scar on your back.


If you’re unable to get your daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals, consider adding supplements to your routine. You can take these in pill form or look for powders that you can add to shakes or drinks. However, don’t become over-reliant on supplements. Try to get the recommended amount of daily vitamins from your diet, but if you fall short, take a supplement.

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