What foods should I eat after bariatric surgery?

15667114_mThe dos and don’ts of eating a balanced diet are fairly well-known: lean proteins, nutrient-packed veggies, low-fat dairy products and whole grains help maintain a balanced diet that keeps you trim and gives you the energy you need. From grab-and-go yogurts to single-serving packages of nuts, healthy foods are easy to incorporate into your routine.

But what about those who have recently undergone bariatric surgery? As your body heals from weight loss surgery, a balanced diet becomes more important (and, at first, more overwhelming) than ever. Luckily, with the help of expert advice and a few specially formulated supplements, following your post-op diet will become second nature.

Gastric Bypass

The Gastric bypass procedure reduces the size of your stomach and other parts of the digestive system, making portion control crucial to recovery. Shortly after surgery, you’ll be limited to clear liquids and broths that will ease your digestive system back into its functional role. Sip slowly and drink only 2 to 3 ounces of liquid at a time.

As you begin to tolerate clear liquids, you’ll be able to introduce thicker liquids or pureed foods. How can you meet your dietary requirements for protein, calcium and more? Try options like non-fat yogurt, cottage cheese or protein powders before gradually introducing items like hot cereals, lean ground meats or fish or pureed veggies. As you gradually add more to your diet, remember to keep meal portions small, and eat often throughout the day. Dr. Dirk’s own nutrition store offers a series of post-op calcium kits that ensure you’re getting what you need to keep up your bone density as you recover from surgery.

Gastric Sleeve

What’s life like after gastric sleeve surgery? While the timeframe for your post-operative diet may vary, the general principle behind the foods that you’re advised to eat remains the same as above: begin with clear liquids, and introduce thick liquids or pureed foods slowly. You’ll likely start with clear liquids, and move to liquids plus protein in the form of fat-free yogurt, thin applesauce or strained cream soup. As your body begins to tolerate more and different foods, you’ll begin to add soft vegetables, mashed fruit, scrambled eggs and other items like hummus. Finally, after about four weeks, you can expect to move towards a diet that includes solid foods in small amounts. Dr. Dirk’s post-op calcium kits are recommended for patients recovering form sleeve surgery, as well.

Lap Band

Eating after Lap Band Surgery is not as not as difficult as it seems. Once again, gradual introduction of new foods and tight portion control is the name of the game. A diet of clear liquids will progress to a “full liquid diet,” including protein shakes and soups. Soon, you’ll be working your way up to pureed foods at around two weeks post-op, a stage that will continue until you’ve recovered for about a month.

Finally, it’s on to soft solids (think fish, beans and other nutrient-dense foods), carefully introducing new foods one at a time. Be sure to include your calcium kit, formulated specifically for those recovering from lap-band surgery.

Your new diet may seem overwhelming at first, but if you keep the basic principles in mind, it will begin to make sense. Training your body to eat in smaller portions will become the new norm as you adapt to a healthy lifestyle and maintain an ideal weight.