If you're having surgery, your doctor may request that you follow a clear liquid diet the day before or for a few days before your surgery. Following this diet will help reduce the risk of complications. Consult your doctor to discuss your dietary needs prior to surgery.
Understanding a Clear Liquid Diet
A clear liquid diet is made up of liquids and foods that turn to liquid at room temperature. A liquid is considered clear if when you hold it up to the light, you can see through it. Apple juice, for example, is a clear liquid, while milk is not. A clear liquid diet helps keep you hydrated and provides some nutrition, but this diet is low in calories, protein and nutrients and should not be followed for more than three to four days, according to MedlinePlus, unless under the close supervision of your doctor.
Why Clear Liquids Before Surgery
Your body quickly absorbs and easily digests clear liquids, leaving little in your digestive tract. An empty stomach prior to surgery is important to reduce the risk of vomiting, which can be dangerous when you're under anesthesia. It's imperative that you follow your doctor's order about what you can and cannot eat before surgery to prevent complications.
Foods You Can Eat
On a clear liquid diet, you can have fruit juice without pulp such as apple, cranberry or grape juice; black coffee; plain tea; broth and soda. You can also enjoy gelatin, fruit ice, iced fruit pops without fruit pulp and hard candy, which all turn to liquid when you eat them. You can have sugar to sweeten your tea and coffee, but not milk or creamer. Lemon juice is also allowed on a clear liquid diet.
To keep your energy levels up while on the clear liquid diet, eat three regular meals. A breakfast might include gelatin, black coffee with sugar and apple juice. For lunch, you might enjoy chicken broth with cranberry juice and hot tea with lemon and sugar. At dinner, try veggie broth with grape juice, fruit ice and hot tea with lemon and sugar. Drink water or juice throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and sharing her love of food, nutrition and health with anyone who'll listen for almost 20 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and Working Mother.