Follow these helpful points to guide you in the right direction when learning the best ways of eating post transplant.
Include and do more of
Eat three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner and include small snacks in between these meals. Meal timing depends on so many factors including what time you wake up, your exercise routine and work schedules. You can use the following meal times as a guide: Breakfast between 7h00 and 9h00, Lunch between 12h00 and 13h30 and dinner between 18h00 and 19h00.
Eat when you are hungry and never starve yourself.
Include protein in every meal. Protein is especially important for healing and to help build muscle and recover lost weight. Your doctor or a Dietitian can guide you about out how much protein you need. You also don’t want excessive amounts of protein. Good sources of protein are:
lentils and legumes (beans, chickpea, split pea, moong, gram, and black lentils)
Eat plenty of vegetables, salad and fruit. Aim for at least five portions of vegetables and fruit a day. If your sugar levels are high fruit should be limited.
Lower your risk of infection by following food safety precautions when preparing and purchasing food. (read more on this in “food safety” section).
Ensure that you stay hydrated. Your Dietitian will calculate your ideal fluid requirement for a day. This can vary with regards to your weight, medication, urine output, your exercise routine, the weather and how much you sweat. At least 2 liters is recommended daily or more depending on these variable factors. Check with your medical team for your specific fluid allowance.
Limit or avoid
Do not skip meals. Eat your meals and snacks on time.
Portion control is important. Know your needs and limits.
Keep your diet low in fat. This will counteract weight gain and manage your cholesterol levels which are side effects of your medication. Avoid all fried foods. Instead use cooking methods such as grilling, braaing, steaming, baking, stewing, currying, poaching. (read more this in “how to eat low fat” section)
Salt restriction is usually needed after a transplant to minimize fluid retention and help control blood pressure. Limit sodium to about 3000 mg/day. Fast foods, snack foods, pickles, sauces and marinades, crisps, processed meats, biltong and bottled and canned foods can be very high in sodium.
Limit refined carbohydrates and high sugar foods and drinks.
Avoid junk foods and foods that contain empty calories with a low nutritional value such as doughnuts, candy, cookies, ice cream, crisps, fizzy drinks.
Avoid bottled, canned and packaged foods that include lots of preservatives. Most bottled and sauces, instant soups and flavorings are high in preservatives and artificial flavors and colorants and additives.
Alcohol is best avoided. If necessary, minimal amounts can be consumed. Alcohol is high in calories and therefore can result in weight gain. Alcohol can affect your blood pressure and sugar levels as well as blood thinning.
Avoid artificial sweeteners.