After the first month of weight loss surgery, most people can eat various foods and digest most items well. This period is when it is a good time to fine-tune your diet and follow a macronutrient-dense meal plan that can be sustained long-term.

We recommend a post-op diet that is high in protein (35%) and has a moderate amount of healthy fats (40%) and carbohydrates (25%) from whole foods.

We will break down calories and macros after bariatric surgery and cover the recommended post-surgery meal plans for maximum success.

What is Macros?

Macros, short for Macronutrients, are the three main components of food we eat in large quantities that provide the bulk of our body’s energy. They come in the form of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and alcohol (optional).

People use macronutrient ratio to lose weight and build muscles.

  • Protein is the building block of muscles, and taking enough protein daily is essential to maintaining muscle mass. One hundred grams of lean steak has 25 grams of protein, and one gram of protein produces 4 KCAL of energy.
  • Fats and oils are the most energy-dense macronutrients. One gram of fat produces 9 KCAL of energy.
  • Carbohydrates or carbs are found in a variety of foods made up of fiber, starches, and sugars. The body uses carbs to make glucose for energy; one gram of carb produces 4 KCAL of energy.

Counting Macros is an ideal regime for bariatric patients to help them stay with their weight loss goal.

Calorie and Macronutrient Goals

  • Calories: 1000-1200
  • Protein: 75g-105g (35%)
  • Carbs: <100g (25%)
  • Fats: 30-45g (40%)
  • Sugars: <25g
  • Fiber: >20g

Macronutrient Cheat Sheet - Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats - Macro Food Options

Bariatric Surgery Foods to Focus On

Here is a list of foods you should focus on to reach your macronutrient goal and calorie intake. There is a section below with more natural foods if you have specific dietary needs.

Approved Macronutrient Dense Foods

The recommended foods that you should focus on include;

  • Lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables (fresh and fermented)
  • Fruits
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sweet potato
  • Pseudocereals (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, chia seeds)
  • Ezekiel bread

How Much Should You Eat?

Everyone tolerates a different amount after surgery. Usually, this can range from about 2 ounces to 9 ounces per meal. It is normal to be able to eat slightly more in volume as time passes.

AVOID OVEREATING: These sample meal plans are based on 6-ounce meals. If 6 ounces feel like too much for you, do not force yourself to eat more. ​The most important rule is to eat the amount that feels comfortable for your body.

You should not feel nauseous or uncomfortable after eating. If you do experience nausea, you are probably eating too much at one time, or you are eating too quickly.

Learn More: 13 Ways to Stop Nausea and Vomiting

Bariatric Salad - Healthy Food for Weight Loss - Post-Op Diet - Bariatric Friendly Recipes

Bariatric Macronutrient Meal Plan

You should work with a bariatric nutritionist or registered dietitian to build a personalized dietary plan that fits your lifestyle.

Sample Meal Plan #1:

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1 oz cooked veggies, 1TB fat (butter, oil, or 1/2 small avocado) OR 1⁄3 cup rolled oats cooked in 1 cup water or unsweetened almond milk, after cooking mix in 3 TB flavored protein powder
Snack: protein shake
Lunch: 3 oz protein, 2 oz veggies, 1TB fat (such as butter or oil), or 2 TB salad dressing
Snack: 15 almonds OR 1 Triple Zero Greek yogurt OR 1 cheese stick and 1/2 cup berries
Dinner: 3 oz protein, 1TB fat, 2 oz vegetables, beans OR 1/2 cup beans, 2 oz vegetables, 1TB fat

Sample Meal Plan #2:

Breakfast: Protein shake, up to 1⁄2 banana (optional)
Snack: Cheese stick
Lunch: 3 oz lean protein, 1⁄4 avocado, 2 oz cooked vegetables, beans, or whole-grain
Snack: 15 Almonds
Dinner: 3 oz lean protein, 2 oz non-starchy vegetables, 1TB oil or butter Snack: Triple Zero Greek yogurt, 1⁄4 cup berries

Sample Meal Plan #3:

Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 slice Ezekiel bread, 2 oz vegetable, 1TB fat
Snack: Protein shake
Lunch: 3 oz protein, 2 oz vegetable, 1TB fat
Snack: 15 almonds or 1⁄2 cup berries and cheese stick
Dinner: 3 oz protein, 2 oz vegetable, beans, fruit, or whole grain, 1TB fat

Sample Meal Plan #4:

Breakfast: Protein smoothie: Blend 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1⁄2 banana, 1 handful spinach, 1⁄2 cup plain greek yogurt, 1TB almond butter, 3⁄4 cup water, ice (optional)
Lunch: 3 oz lean protein, tofu, or beans; 2 oz vegetables; 1TB oil, butter, or 1⁄4 avocado
Snack: 15 almonds
Dinner: 3 oz lean protein, tofu, or beans; 2 oz vegetables; 1TB oil, butter, or 1⁄4 avocado

Natural-Foods Macro Meal Plan

Here is another great diet for bariatric patients, which is similar to the above but has an even more natural approach.

Here are the components that must be followed:

Non-starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, and peas do not fall in this category)

  • Unlimited
  • Must eat at least one pound each day

Pickled or fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, pickles, giardiniera, kimchi, other)

  • Unlimited
  • Must eat at least ½ cup a day

Lean animal protein (chicken, seafood, turkey, beef, pork):

  • 2 servings of 3-4 ounces a day
  • Can count eggs toward ounces (1 egg = 2 ounces)
  • No sausage, bacon, hot dogs, or other processed meats
  • Look for organic proteins with no hormones or antibiotics

Fruit

  • Unlimited berries
  • Up to 2 additional fruits a day (any variety)

Nuts and seeds (choose 1​)

  • ¼ cup seeds
  • Up to ½ cup nuts a day (raw or dry roasted w/o oil)
  • 1 medium avocado

Beans

  • ½ cup or up to 1 cup a day

Fats

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or butter a day

Optional (May choose 1 option a day only) 

  • Plain Greek or Goat milk yogurt: up to ½ cup a day
  • Sheep or goat milk cheese: feta, manchego, goat cheese, pecorino, or Roquefort: 1 ounce a day
  • Sweet potato, Quinoa, buckwheat, or amaranth: ½ cup cooked(up to 3x week)

Unlimited

  • Unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, water, unsweetened tea, vinegar, stevia, herbs, spices, non-starchy vegetables, fermented vegetables, berries, and shirataki noodles

Not Allowed (Forbidden Bari-Diet Foods) 

  • Artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, dairy milk, juice, and anything else not listed

strawberry yogurt

Sample Meal Plan #1 – Natural Foods

Breakfast Smoothie: ½ cup goat milk yogurt blended with ¼ avocado, strawberries, and a frozen banana, spinach, 1 cup cashew milk, ice
Snack: ¼ cup roasted almonds
Lunch: Salad: 4 ounces chicken, chopped vegetable salad, ¼ avocado, 1 Tbsp EVOO/1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Snack: Soup (vegetables and ¼ cup beans in broth)
Dinner: 3 ounces salmon with giardiniera and ¼ cup white beans

Sample Meal Plan #2 – Natural Foods

Breakfast Omelet: 2 egg omelets cooked in 1 TB butte, vegetables, 1 ounce goat cheese
Snack: a bowl of mixed fruit
Lunch: Bean (½ cup) and vegetable soup in broth
Snack: ¼ cup pistachios
Dinner: lean ground beef (3 ounces) and bean (¼ cup) chili with vegetables and a side of pickles

If you enjoyed these meal ideas, check out these Bariatric Dinner Recipes!

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