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Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 1: Map out your meals

Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 1: Map out your meals

Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 1: Map out your meals

What does a balanced meal plan look like?

The goal of any healthy diet is to have a balanced meal combined with oral supplementation as recommended by your healthcare professional. Oral supplementation are products (in the form of liquids, powders, capsules/tablets) that provide additional nutrients for the body when ingested. Oral supplementation may not be necessary for everyone but can help boost levels of nutrients that you may be missing from your diet. For example, over 40% of the US population is deficient in vitamin B12, and supplementation is the recommended course of action. When your body is caring for a wound, what you eat can directly speed up the healing process.[1] See topic "Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 2: Leverage supplements"

If you have other conditions that affect what you eat (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, renal disease, etc.), talk to your healthcare professional first. Also, for a primer on nutrition, refer to the topic “Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing: What if I have other health conditions?"


Four steps for a balanced meal

  • Step 1. In Table 1 below, find your weight category and suggested number of calories/day.
  • Step 2. Click on the suggested calories/day for your weight. You will see the daily recommended amounts for each food group based on your weight.  

Table 1. Suggested calories/day and daily recommended amounts for each food group by weight

Weight (pounds, lbs)Suggested calories/day. Click on link for daily recommended amounts for each food group 
110 lbs1,600 kcal 
132 lbs2,000 kcal
154 lbs2,200 kcal
176 lbs2,600 kcal
198 lbs3,000 kcal

Note: Suggested meal plans above provided by https://choosemyplate.gov, based on daily caloric requirements. For this table, the daily caloric requirement was calculated based on recommendations by pressure ulcers/injuries guidelines (30-35 kcal/kg/day) [2][3][4]

  • Step 3. Based on your daily recommended amount for each food group, choose and bookmark recipes on the MyPlate kitchen free online tool.
  • Step 4. Alternatively, you can follow this sample plan “A Week With the DASH Eating Plan” (DASH is a heart healthy approach created by the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and have other health benefits).

Practical Nutrition Tips

Table 2. Nutrition tips [5]

Food groupsTipsSuggested food quantity
Protein 
At the start of your meal, consume proteins first, the most important macronutrient for wound healing. If you eat carbohydrates first, you may get full faster, resulting in skipping or eating less of the protein. 
  • About 5-8 servings daily (such as 1 oz. meat, fish, or poultry, 1/4 cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/2 oz nuts, 2 oz. firm tofu). A hand palm = 3 oz. of meat

Grains
Eat more healthy whole grains instead of refined-grains (e.g. white rice, white bread, white 
  • About five servings daily (such as 1 slice whole wheat bread, 1/2 cup cooked whole-grain cereal, 1/2 cup brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, 3/4 cup dry whole-grain cereal). A fist or cupped hand = 1 cup

Vegetables


Add vegetables to fruit smoothies for an additional boost without a bitter taste 
  • About two servings daily (such as 1 cup of raw vegetables, 2 cups raw leafy green vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked). 1 tennis ball = ½ cup = 1 serving of vegetables

Fruits

Use as toppings for cooked cereals, yogurt, and ice cream. Choose fruits over sweets

  • About three servings daily (such as 1/4 cup dried fruit, 1 piece whole fresh fruit, 1 cup melon, berries, grapes, 1/2 cup canned fruit or 100% fruit juice). 1 tennis ball = ½ cup = 1 serving of fruits
Dairy

Substitute milk for water in recipes; supplement powdered milk or yogurt to shakes, smoothies, and cooked cereals; top soups with cheese or Greek yogurt

  • About three servings daily (such as 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1.5-2.0 oz. of cheese (dairy or soy). A fist or cupped hand = 1 cup

How do I put what I have learned into action? 

Glad you asked! Click on the topics below to jump-start good eating habits that will help you heal your wounds faster 

  • Patient Education - Nutrition for Wound Healing: Understanding the Basics
  • Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing : What if I have other health conditions?
  • Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 1: Map out your meals (this topic)
  • Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 2: Leverage supplements
  • Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 3: Shop smartly
  • Patient Education - Nutrition for wound healing in action - Step 4: What if I don’t cook

When to contact your healthcare provider

In general, if there is little to no improvement in the condition of your wound/pressure ulcer, it is a good time to reach out to your healthcare provider. Proper nutrition can pave the way to a clean and healthy wound, as well as improve your overall health and well-being. 



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NOTE: This is a controlled document. This document is not a substitute for proper training, experience, and exercising of professional judgment. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents, neither the authors nor the Wound Reference, Inc. give any guarantee as to the accuracy of the information contained in them nor accept any liability, with respect to loss, damage, injury or expense arising from any such errors or omissions in the contents of the work.

REFERENCES

  1. Hazra A, Kraft P, Selhub J, Giovannucci EL, Thomas G, Hoover RN, Chanock SJ, Hunter DJ et al. Common variants of FUT2 are associated with plasma vitamin B12 levels. Nature genetics. 2008;volume 40(10):1160-2.
  2. National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP), Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance (PPPIA) et al. Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Quick Reference Guide [Internet] . 2020;.
  3. Mackay, E et al. The Power of Protein in Wound Healing Wound Care Canada. 2019;volume 17(1):.
  4. Houghton PE, Campbell KE and CPG Panel et al. Canadian Best Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Pressure Ulcers in People with Spinal Cord Injury. A resource handbook for Clinicians. . 2013;.
  5. Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. Nutrition Tips to Improve Wound Healing .;.
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