Nutrition for Injury and Recovery
“How do I eat when I’m recovering from an injury/surgery?” This can be a challenging time for most people whether you are an athlete or not. Being laid up over a sprain, inflamed joint, or surgery, is just no fun!
Below I list out some easy to prepare, well-balanced ideas to have on hand for times when you may not be as mobile as you’d like.
There are a few key points to keep in mind:
- If possible, consider prepping before the surgery. I know you can not plan for an injury, but for an upcoming surgery, make a list of what you do need, what you could chop in advance or even make and freeze in advance.
- You may be feeling unmotivated, and less hungry, but it is imperative that you keep up with your nutrition. This IS the thing you can control and have a lot of impact on how quickly your body recovers.
- Stay consistent with meal times in general. Everyone is different.
- In addition, consider making crockpot meals. This can be as simple as a package of chicken breast, a cut up potato or two and a bag of frozen or fresh veggies. Feel free to sprinkle garlic, thyme and rosemary! So so easy and your house will smell good too!
Easy meals for better recovery!
- Focus on protein. This is the foundation of any tissue healing. Below are great proteins to incorporate in any meal.
- Add veggies. Wherever you can add them in, add them in. Choose leafy greens, pumpkin or bell peppers in a smoothie. The best part is that you won’t know they are there! Utilize ready cut-up veggies from super markets and add them into any dish – cooked in the microwave, raw on a salad or sautee’ed in a stir-fry.
- High quality carbohydrate. Choose legumes and lentils, potatoes, squash or whole-grains like oatmeal and quinoa. These are necessary for the anti-oxidants they provide which is a key to healing. For the fiber they entail for great digestion and for their high b-vitamin content to help your body combat stress, relax the nervous system, create serotonin, and potentially improve sleep.
Canned chicken breast
- An excellent and easy, ready to eat protein source!
- Use in cold salads or just add some mayo, onion and pickle relish as a chicken salad. Place on a bed of lettuce
- Or add it to a baked potato, with broccoli and cheese! Easy easy easy!
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Use as the protein base in a smoothie
- Make a “veggie” dip out of it or a sauce for a baked potato! Just mix it with a packet of hidden valley ranch seasoning or any other seasoning packet!
- Cottage Cheese
- Use 1 cup of cottage cheese as your main protein. Couple that with a baked potato and and a veggie.
- Or use it as a sauce by adding a seasoning packet or other herbs and spices of choice, place in a blender and either use as a sauce for pasta or a potato or as a veggie sauce for steamed veggies!
- Bean Based Pasta
- Seapoint Farms Edamame Pasta – https://seapointfarms.com/products/organic-edamame-pasta/ = 200cals/serving – 21gms carbs with 12gms fiber – 24gms protein!!
- Explore Cuisine Blackbean Pasta – https://explorecuisine.com/products/black-bean-spaghetti = 180cals, 19gms carbs with 11gms fiber – 25gms protein
- Add a pasta sauce to any of these and some extra veggies or a salad for a super easy, power packed meal!
- Black Beans
- Use 1 cup of black beans, mix with salsa, chopped onion (add any other veggie or leafy green) and either eat as a dip with tortilla chips, mix in a whole grain tortilla for a burrito
- Eggs are such a great protein to have on hand. Its easy to make a veggie omelet or several in advance! You can make eggs in advance and they will keep for at least 4 days in the fridge.
- Add hardboiled eggs to your salads. Or use as snacks with a piece of fruit.
- Such a versatile protein. Use as a veggie scramble. Buy the pre-seasoned, ready to eat tofu and add to salads or use as a main source of protein in a meal.
- Edamame (soybean in shell) or Mukimame (shelled soybean)
- This will come frozen. Heat and eat! Either put into a salad with other beans and veggies or mix with a rice and chopped veggies or riced cauliflower and other veggies. Add a dressing or some olive oil and garlic and you have a super fast high protein, high fiber, super nutritious meal!
Hopefully these ideas are helpful to you or at least inspired your own variations to help you maximize your healing!
If you would like to work with us to develop a personalized nutrition plan, please contact us at the links below!
Want to work with one of us personally?
Meet and Greet Before You Book – chat with Nicole K,RD,CD,CSSD to see how we can meet your needs and choose the appt that would fit you best!
Lets Chat! – 45min Q&A session – this 45 min session helps get any and all of your questions answered about nutrition and exercise. Should you choose to work with me and get a personal plan developed with regular coaching, a portion of the cost of this session will be applied to your next!
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Nicole is recognized state-wide and nationally as a Registered Dietitian and is also a Certified dietitian through the state of Wisconsin. She is also a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and a Certified Personal Trainer and Physical Fitness Instructor.
Nicole’s areas of expertise include: Wellness and lifestyle coaching, weight management, behavior modification, eating disorders, vegetarian lifestyles, gluten-free living, sports nutrition, recipe and menu design and development.