Eating after a Whipple procedure

People who have a Whipple procedure may have many questions and concerns about their diet following the surgery.

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These suggestions may be helpful when you start to eat after surgery:

  • Eat small meals every 2–3 hours rather than three large meals each day.
  • Ensure that meals and snacks are nourishing and include protein, e.g. meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs, tofu and nuts. This will help recovery and improve your nutrition.
  • Sip only small amounts of liquids during meals to avoid filling up too quickly.
  • Limit foods that produce wind (gas), e.g. legumes (dried beans, peas or lentils); vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower or asparagus; and carbonated (gassy) drinks.
  • Talk to a dietitian or your doctor about vitamin and enzyme supplements if you can’t digest and absorb food properly. You may need a multivitamin supplement to provide calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin B12 and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • Ensure you take the right amount of digestive enzyme supplements, if prescribed.
  • Limit or avoid eating fatty, greasy or fried foods if these cause discomfort, even when taking adequate pancreatic enzymes.
  • Nutritional supplements drinks, such as Sustagen® Hospital Formula, Ensure® and Resource®, are high in energy and protein and have important vitamins and minerals. These may be prescribed after surgery.

This information was last reviewed in February 2016.
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