The holidays are right around the corner and before you know it your holiday festivities will be here! So, hopefully, you planned ahead this year… For many people, the holidays can be stressful enough with all the unpredictable weather, gift buying, cooking, traveling to or even arranging for family and guest visiting. Recovering from a joint replacement surgery can be overwhelming this time of year. The good news is with the advancement of medicine and technology, procedures can be done quicker, safer and offer better postoperative pain management to help you get through. Before your surgery, it is important to discuss with your doctor your expectations after surgery. Discussing your holiday plans (e.g. traveling) with your doctor will help determine a plan of care to help get you on a path of recovering safely and back to your holiday routines. The key will be not to overdo it. Nutrition is another important topic you should also discuss with your doctor.
Most holiday celebrations will be accompanied by large homemade meals and endless amounts of sweet treats. (It’s the Holidays so calories do not count, right?) It is important to be mindful about what you put in your body to ensure a successful recovery. Eating well-balanced meals and snacks will help you recover quickly and help you feel your best. What you eat affects your well-being. It’s common for you to not feel hungry while taking pain medication but be sure you make time to eat even if you do not feel hungry. If you do not eat enough of the right foods, you can become tired and less able to take care of yourself and, in some cases, end up back in the hospital.
It can be difficult to watch what you eat when you are surrounded by such delicious foods. When meal planning, try to consider the following nutrients important for your recovery:
- Protein: (Chicken, eggs, salmon, tofu)
- Protein helps repair and build healthy tissue.
- Iron: (Steak, dark green veggies, beans)
- Iron works in each of your bodies cells to help make energy.
- Vitamin C: (oranges, bell peppers)
- Vitamin C helps your body repair damaged tissues, keeps your bones and teeth strong, and helps your body absorb iron.
- Calcium: (milk, cheese, almonds)
- Calcium helps build and maintain your bones, your muscles move, your blood clot and your nerves send messages.
- Fiber: (whole grains, fruits, veggies)
- Fiber helps your body produce regular bowel movements.
Good nutrition is essential for your recovery. Most hospitals have great resources that you can reach out to if you need assistance with meal planning. If you have diet restrictions, dietitians and nutrition experts can create special individualized meals plans right for you!