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Maintaining Weight and the Basics of Nutrition

Your caloric need is the number of calories you need every day to maintain your weight. Finding out this information can help prevent you from losing weight. Also, you can increase the number of calories if you need to gain weight. Each person has a different caloric need.

After jaw surgery you will at the begining be limited in the types of foods you can take in, especially if you are wearing orthodontic appliances, surgical splints or dental elastics that keeps your teeth together.  Prepackaged liquid diets are needed at those times.  Once you are able to open you can expand your diet to include more foods.  Each individual will find what they can tolerate for their specific situation and needs. 

Eat foods that have all the nutrients your body needs to keep you healthy. This includes:

  • Proteins

  • Carbohydrates

  • Fats

  • Fiber

  • Vitamins and minerals

Also, make sure that you drink plenty of liquids. Your goal should be to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.

Protein helps your body build tissue and heal after surgery. Foods rich in protein include:

  • Meats

  • Fish

  • Poultry (chicken, turkey)

  • Milk, soy milk, non-fat dried milk powder

  • Cheese

  • Yogurt (especially Greek yogurt)

  • Eggs or egg whites

  • Beans or bean purée

  • Nuts and nut butters

  • Soy products such as tofu and edamame (soy beans)

Liquid nutritional supplements such as Ensure®, Ensure Plus®, Boost®, or Boost Plus®

Carbohydrates are starches and sugars. They should make up at least half of your caloric intake. Most of the carbohydrates in your diet should be complex carbohydrates, such as:

  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, green peas, squash)

  • Whole grains

  • Cereals

  • Breads

  • Pasta

These foods are considered “protein-sparing.” This means they can prevent your body from breaking down protein for energy. Your body can then use this protein to build tissue.

Fat is the most concentrated source of calories. For example, 1 teaspoon of sugar has 20 calories, but 1 teaspoon of oil has 45 calories. Fats are in:

  • Meats

  • Dairy

  • Coconut and canned coconut milk/cream

  • Nuts and nut butters

  • Seeds

  • Vegetable oils

  • Avocados

  • Olives

  • Fried and sautéed foods

  • Baked goods

Some fats are healthier for you than others. Unsaturated fats are healthier for you than saturated fats.

Unsaturated fats are found in:

  • Olive oil

  • Canola oil

  • Peanut oil

  • Fish oil

  • Avocado

Saturated fats are found in:

  • Meat

  • Full-fat dairy products (whole milk, cheeses, heavy cream, cream cheese)

  • Butter

  • Coconut

  • Palm oil

Eating too much fat can make you gain weight. If your goal is to gain weight, try to eat healthier (unsaturated) fats. If you are trying to lose weight, or are already at a healthy weight, choose low-fat foods when planning your meals.




There are 2 kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in barley, oats, and the flesh of skinless fresh fruits. Soluble fiber can help soften your stools and slow your digestion.


Insoluble fiber is found in the skins of fruits and vegetables, legumes (beans, lentils), seeds, and whole grains. It is not broken down in your intestines and adds bulk to your stool. This can help you have more regular bowel movements. Even if fruits and vegetables are blended or juiced, the fiber is still there if the pulp has not been removed. Getting enough of both kinds of fiber is important.

Vitamins and minerals are found in all foods in different amounts. A person who eats a well-balanced diet will most likely not need a supplement. Your diet should include some of the following:

  • Breads, grains, and cereals

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Dairy products (milk, yogurt)

  • Poultry, fish, and eggs

  • Beans

  • Seeds

  • Nuts

A dietary supplement such as Centrum or a liquid vitamin can be helpful to provide additional nutrients.

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