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After any type of surgery, the body automatically sets about the task of healing itself, starting a natural rebuilding process. In order to heal as quickly as possible, the body requires sufficient nutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins—as well as adequate amounts of fluid.
The oral and maxillofacial surgery patient has perhaps even greater difficulty getting proper nutrition because often the surgery has been in the mouth. Good nutrition ensures the body will have all the nutrients the healing process requires, and means eating the right foods and consuming a well-balanced diet. For an adult, normal daily nutrition would include a balanced intake of two cups of milk or dairy products, four or more servings of grain or cereals, two or more servings of meat or other sources of protein, and three or more servings of vegetables.
Sometimes eating right is easier said than done. If you fail to give your body adequate nourishment, the result can be fatigue, infection, and delayed healing. In the case of multiple tooth extractions or when surgery is performed for dentures, chewing can be difficult. When jaws are wired shut, normal eating is nearly impossible and food must be consumed in liquid form.
Since solid foods cannot be chewed, they can be liquefied in a blender. Although the food may not always look appetizing, it can be tasty. Cooked servings of your favorite foods can be blended separately or in combinations to suit your taste. Normal seasonings can be added. But, best of all, you'll be getting your full supply of nutrients.
To ensure getting your recommended daily requirements of nutrients and calories and to satisfy your hunger, you may wish to eat more frequently than usual, consuming five to six meals per day. To determine how much food to put in the blender, place the desired portions on a plate, add seasonings, and transfer the portions individually or in combinations into the blender. To make the blended mixture the proper consistency, use either milk, juice, broth, or water as a thinner, choosing the liquid that will either add to the flavor or will have little effect on the flavor.
In liquid form, food can be taken through a large plastic straw, it can be sipped out of a cup, or, if you can open your mouth wide enough, you can eat it with a spoon. To prevent oral hygiene problems for people with wired jaws, the blended food mixture can be strained to remove food fiber and particles. Food supplements and vitamins may be used to provide additional nutrients. There are several commercially prepared food supplements available that our office may recommend.
The following recipes are provided as examples of blended meals that ensure getting proper nutrients during oral and maxillofacial surgery convalescence. Supplement these selections with your own favorite recipes to meet your nutrient and calorie requirements (for active adult females, 2,000 calories a day; for active adult males, 2,700 calories per day). Snack suggestions are included to lend variety to your rehabilitation diet and to satisfy hunger between regularly scheduled meals.
- Breakfast—Orange cereal drink: 3 tbsp oatmeal (no added salt), 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 large orange, peeled and cut into fine pieces, 1 cup whole milk. Add oatmeal to rapidly boiling water and cook until consistency of thick cream soup. Remove from heat and add brown sugar and honey. Mix until well dissolved, allow mixture to cool. Add orange, mix well; add milk slowly; and beat mixture with fork or wire whisk. Yield: 16 ounces or two, 8-ounce servings. One 8-ounce serving contains 287 calories, 7 grams of protein, 50 grams carbohydrates and 15 grams fat. Cream of wheat: 1 cup cooked cream of wheat made with milk, 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk, butter and brown sugar to taste, 1 tablespoon wheat germ. May be blended if necessary. Yield: Two 6-ounce servings. One 6-ounce serving contains 136 calories, 21 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, and 4 grams fat; slightly more if butter and sugar are added.
- Lunch or dinner—Potato meat drink: 3 ounces of a medium cooked ground beef patty (lean) or substitute 3 ounces of cooked meat or poultry, 1 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup cooked or canned vegetable, 1 medium boiled potato, or 1/2 cup mashed 1 teaspoon butter 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend 3/4 cup milk and meat separately for four minutes. Stir in potato, vegetable, salt, and remaining milk and blend for one minute. Strain. Melt butter in top of double boiler. Add the strained blended mixture and heat for five minutes. Yield: One serving contains 747 calories, 47 grams carbohydrates, 45 grams protein, and 42 grams fat.
- Chili con carne thinned with tomato juice.
- Grilled hamburger or hot dog with baked beans thinned with V-8 juice.
- Spaghetti and meatballs thinned with tomato juice.
- Chop suey with beef or pork thinned with broth.
- Lasagna or ravioli thinned with milk or tomato juice.
- Beef stew thinned with broth or tomato juice.
- Chunky canned soup thinned with broth or tomato juice.
- Jello shake—1 cup Jello, 10 ounces milk. Blend. Yield: 16 ounces or two, 8-ounce servings. One 8-ounce serving contains 180 calories, 26 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein and 5 grams fat.
- Eggnog—16 ounces milk, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 scoop vanilla ice cream. Blend. Yield: Two, 10-ounce servings. One 10-ounce serving contains 334 calories, 22 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein and 21 grams fat.
- Fruit eggnog—2/3 cup orange juice (or juice of your choice), 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sugar or honey, 1 large egg. Blend for one minute. Yield: 12 ounces. One 12-ounce serving contains 226 calories, 34 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein and 6 grams fat.
- Cottrange cocktail—1/2 cup cream style cottage cheese, 2 ounces water, 1/2 cup orange juice, pinch of cinnamon. Blend for 2 minutes. Pour over ice and serve. Yield: 8 ounces. One 8-ounce serving contains 175 calories, 17 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams fat.
- Fruit yogurt beverage—8 ounces plain yogurt (2 percent milk), 1/2 cup concentrated grape juice (or juice of your choice). Beat yogurt with frozen concentrate until blended. Yield: 12 ounces. One 12-ounce serving contains 305 calories, 59 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein and 4 grams fat.