What Foods Should I Eat After Bariatric Surgery?
Proper nutrition is so important after bariatric surgery to ensure successful weight loss and prevent complications. Once you’ve made it through the liquid phase, and then the pureed and soft food phases of your bariatric diet, you’ll move on to regular foods. Here are some foods that are good for post-op patients once they’ve made it a few months out from surgery:
Protein-rich foods: Good sources of protein include lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish, which provide high-quality protein without adding excess fat or calories to your diet. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein, and can be prepared in many different ways to keep your meals interesting. Plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, and tofu are also good options, especially for vegetarian or vegan bariatric patients.
Non-starchy vegetables: Vegetables are an important part of a bariatric diet. They're low in calories and high in nutrients, making them an excellent addition to your post-op diet. Cooked non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, and tomatoes are particularly great options.
Whole grains: Fiber is important for digestive health and can also help you feel full, which is beneficial for weight loss. Whole grains are also a good source of B vitamins, iron, and other important minerals that support immune function, energy metabolism, and brain health. Choosing whole grains over refined grains can also help you maintain stable blood sugar levels, which is important for preventing diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Just be careful because most grains are calorie dense.
Low-fat dairy: Bariatric patients should choose low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese for a good source of calcium.
Protein Supplements: After bariatric surgery, it is important to consume enough protein to maintain muscle growth and repair. Protein bars and shakes are a convenient and easy way to get the necessary nutrients without having to prepare a full meal. Many online stores specialize in selling bariatric food options, making it easier to find suitable foods.
What foods cannot be eaten after bariatric surgery?
After bariatric surgery, there are certain foods that patients should avoid to prevent complications and ensure successful weight loss (not all of these need to be completely avoided, it just depends on your particular surgery and weight loss strategy). Here are some foods that should not be eaten after bariatric surgery:
High-fat, high-sugar, and high-calorie foods:
- Fast food (burgers, fries, pizza, etc.)
- Fried foods (fried chicken, fried fish, etc.)
- Candy, chocolate, and other sweets
- Sugary beverages (soda, juice, sports drinks, etc.)
- High-fat snack foods (chips, crackers, etc.)
- High-calorie alcoholic beverages (cocktails, beer, wine, etc.)
- Raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
- Fruits with skins or seeds (apples, berries, pomegranates, etc.)
- Tough meats (steak, pork chops, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds
- Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, cocktails, etc.)
- Caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, etc.)
It's important to remember that every person's body reacts differently to certain foods, and not all of these foods need to be completely avoided. So it's essential to work with a registered dietitian to develop an individualized nutrition plan that meets your specific needs and goals.
How many times a day should a bariatric patient eat?
Bariatric patients should aim to eat small meals throughout the day, usually 3-6 times per day. Skipping meals can lead to overeating and poor nutrition. It's important for bariatric patients to listen to their hunger and fullness cues and stop eating when they feel satisfied.
How much water should a bariatric patient drink a day?
Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but especially for bariatric patients. After surgery, it's important to drink enough water to support your recovery and overall health. You should aim to drink at least 64 ounces (8 cups) of water per day. Sipping water throughout the day is the best way to meet your hydration needs. Avoid drinking with meals, as this can fill up your stomach and prevent proper nutrient absorption. Remember, drinking enough water is not only essential for hydration and proper bodily function, but can also help you feel fuller and avoid overeating.
If you struggle to drink enough water, try carrying a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day, setting reminders on your phone, or adding a slice of lemon or lime for flavor. And remember, your body will let you know when you need more water, so listen to your thirst cues and don't hesitate to drink up!
We know that bariatric surgery can be a big step towards a healthier life, and proper nutrition is a key part of that journey. But by focusing on healthy eating habits, staying hydrated, and working closely with your healthcare team, you can set yourself up for long-term success.