Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet: What To Eat After Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a game-changer. It disrupts the body’s powerful mechanisms that have kept you from a healthy weight in the past. The metabolic changes that occur with weight loss surgery allow your body to work with your diet and exercise efforts rather than against them. The immediate results will motivate you to build positive habits – including eating a well-balanced bariatric diet.

What to Include in Your Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet

  • Ample Fluids

Sip on at least 64 ounces of calorie-free, non-carbonated beverages between meals each day. Water is always a good choice. However, add in packets like True Lemon, Mio, or Crystal Light if you like flavor. Bottled drinks like Gatorade Zero, Powerade Zero, Vitamin Water Zero, and Bai Water are also popular options. Consuming high-calorie fluids throughout the day can limit weight loss, so keep fluids very low in calories or calorie-free.

  • Lean Protein

Your body needs the right amount of protein for a healthy weight loss. You’ll get an individual protein goal from your Barix Clinics Nutritionist. Eat protein-rich foods like low-fat meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products to reach your daily protein goal. Use protein supplements if you’re not able to meet it with food alone. Proper protein will promote a healthy weight loss and safeguard lean muscle tissue.

  • Colorful Vegetables

Raw or cooked, include a variety of fresh vegetables in your bariatric surgery diet. Vegetables are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help your body thrive. Include at least two servings daily.

  • Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits are a naturally sweet treat. Fiber slows the digestion of fruit’s naturally occurring sweetness, so it doesn’t impact blood sugar to the same degree as added sugar. Be sure to include 1-2 small servings each day.

  • Whole Grains

Bread, pasta, and crackers made from whole grain are part of a healthy post-bariatric surgery diet. Include 1-2 small servings a day.

  • Heart-Healthy Fats

Include two small servings of heart-healthy fat:

  • monounsaturated fat (from olives, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, almonds, peanuts, and avocados)
  • polyunsaturated fat (from corn, soybean, safflower, cottonseed, and fish)

What to Avoid or Limit in Your Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet

  • Alcohol

Avoid alcohol for the first six months following surgery and then limit it. The calories in alcohol can slow or stall weight loss. It’s important to note that you may feel the effects of alcohol very quickly after surgery. If you choose to drink, educate yourself on the alcohol and calorie content of the beverage and have a non-drinking designated driver for safety.

  • Highly Processed Foods

Highly processed foods have been significantly changed from their natural state. Detrimental changes, like adding, sugar, fat, additives, preservatives, and artificial colors, have been made. Highly processed foods are often devoid of naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Over the years, food manufacturers fine-tuned processed foods, making them more desirable than ever. So much so that most of the food the average person eats is highly processed – 60% or more. It’s understandable – ready-to-eat meals and snacks fit our lifestyles and budget.

So, what’s the problem? Unfortunately, there are a lot of consequences to eating a diet of mainly highly processed foods. They are often calorie-dense, decrease feelings of fullness, encourage faster eating, cause inflammation, raise cholesterol, and slow weight loss.

Examples of highly processed foods to limit include snack crackers, granola bars, soft drinks, chips, chocolate, candy, ice cream, most breakfast cereals, packaged soups, chicken nuggets, hotdogs, fries, and more.

Must-Have: A Bariatric Meal Plan

A bariatric meal plan will pull together all of the foods into an easy-to-use, balanced diet. It will also help you avoid the trap of highly processed convenience foods. After all, we all tend to eat what is most accessible at the moment. Armed with a plan and some prep-work, healthy meals and snacks will be readily available – making them the easy choice.

The Bottom Line

Build your bariatric diet plan on minimally processed foods. Start with lean protein; add fresh vegetables, fruits, and a little whole grain. A well-balanced bariatric surgery diet will keep you well-nourished as you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

About Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.
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