While your food choices will be limited after a gastric bypass procedure, you do have some options during the recovery and maintenance phases.
Bariatric surgery alters the shape and size of the stomach pouch, and many foods you enjoyed before the procedure will no longer be appropriate for your new body. Most doctors recommend you don’t eat anything for at least 48 hours after surgery, and you will slowly introduce pureed and soft foods for up to a month after that.
If you’ve recently had a gastric bypass procedure or are planning for treatment, here are the foods and eating habits to introduce into your daily routine:
Foods to Eat After Weight Loss Surgery
Pureed foods right after surgery. Pureed food is especially important right after weight loss surgery when your stomach is particularly sensitive. Pureed foods require very little effort to digest and can be absorbed easily. Your bariatric surgeon may recommend a strictly pureed food diet for up to four weeks after surgery, so start stocking up on recipes and brands of baby food that suit your palate.
Lean protein at every meal. Lean protein sources such as skim milk, lowfat cheese, eggs, and yogurt are some of the best sources for building muscle strength. You’ll need high quality protein to maintain muscle strength and help with cell repair. Dr. William B. Inabnet, author of Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery recommends that the entire diet after the weight loss procedure needs to have a high protein-carbohydrate ratio.
Canned fruits and vegetables for variety. These foods are easy to chew and can be readily absorbed by the stomach. Steaming fruits and vegetables will also make meals easy to digest, and you’ll be able to incorporate a variety of these into the daily diet with ease.
Oatmeal and grains. Oatmeal and cooked whole grains are high in nutritional content and soft enough to absorb easily; they can provide you with steady energy and enjoyed in small portions throughout the day.
Fruit and vegetable smoothies. Fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies are chock full of nutrients and are also easy to digest. Adding vitamins and nutritional supplements to the formula can also make them more valuable to your diet. Your bariatric doctor will also recommend a multivitamin and supplementation program as part of recovery and maintenance, and this will provide additional nutrients you may not be getting from your diet.
How to Eat After Weight Loss Surgery
Exercise portion control. Since your stomach can only absorb a certain amount of food at a time, you’ll need to eat very small meals throughout the day. This maximizes absorption rates and also keeps your blood sugar at a healthy level.
Avoid drinking liquids with your meals. It is recommended sipping beverages very slowly between meals, and avoiding them completely for at least 30 minutes before each meal. This prevents your stomach from becoming too full, and will also make it easier to absorb the food at each meal.
Stick with a meal plan. Avoid snacking on high-calorie foods that may lead to weight gain over time. Your daily meals can be divided up into 5-6 portions for easy absorption and keeping you full and satisfied throughout the day.
Chew all meals thoroughly. When you do transition to solid foods, make sure you chew your food completely; this reduces the risk of blockages and ‘dumping’ – too much food that leads to nausea and dizziness.
Stop eating when you feel discomfort. Many foods you were accustomed to eating before weight loss surgery will now make you feel full too quickly. avoid overeating that can slow down weight loss and promote stretching of the stomach. Bread, pasta, and potatoes can be difficult to digest, so keep these to a minimum and stop eating as soon as you feel discomfort.
The types of foods you eat, and how you eat after weight loss surgery will help you recover from your procedure and maintain good health for the long-term.
REMEMBER THIS IS ONLY A GUIDE
Your Bariatric Surgeon can guide you through the process of recovery and maintenance, and may refer you to a DIETITION to develop a solid meal plan that works for you.