Bariatric Surgery Post-Op Diet

Your bariatric surgery post-op diet will begin after your leak test. First, you will start with clear liquids but quickly transition through phases to get back to eating normal food. With the significant reduction in stomach size, the post-op diet is generally easy to follow, but it can be more difficult to fulfill food intake requirements.

→ You can download/print the full PDF Nutrition Guide here

Before you leave the hospital, the post-op diet begins with clear liquids after your leak test. You will need to make sure you work your way up to drinking 64 fluid ounces (2 Liters) of liquids. This will help with staying hydrated.

 

Phase One Clear Liquid Diet - Bariatric Surgery Post-Op Diet Guide

Phase One: Clear Liquid Diet (Days 1-7)

Phase 1 begins after your leak test and should last 7 days. The sole purpose of this phase is to allow for healing time and staying hydrated. The hydration goal is 64 oz or more, with a minimum of 48 oz to prevent dehydration. Intake up to an ounce at a time and wait at least 60 seconds between each sip. Aim for at least 4 ounces per hour. A medicine cup is helpful for measuring this out, or you can use a water bottle cap. Drink very slowly and refrain from gulping.

  • Goal: 64 ounces (2 Liters)—minimum of 48 fluid ounces (1.5 Liters) to prevent dehydration
  • Duration: This stage will start when you are in the hospital after your leak test and lasts 7 days. You can stay on clear liquids up to 14 days if needed.
  • Tips: To avoid Acid Reflux, drink 1 fluid ounce (medicine cup) at a time, wait 60 secs, and proceed to the next fluid ounce.

Approved Clear Liquids

  • Water or Flavored Water
  • Clear Broth/Bouillon: Chicken, beef, vegetable
  • Powerade Zero, Vitamin Zero water, Crystal Light, Gatorade Zero
  • Clear Liquid Protein (New Whey Liquid Protein- Walmart, GNC, Rite Aid ex. Premier Protein Clear)
  • Unsweetened caffeine-free herbal tea
  • Sugar-free Jell-O or Sugar-free Popsicles

Read More about Liquids You Can Have Just Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery.

Not Approved Clear Liquids

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Milk/Dairy/Protein Shakes
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • No vitamin or mineral supplements at this time
  • No Sugary Drinks (this may cause dumping syndrome)
  • NO ALCOHOL.

The Goal in Phase One is to STAY HYDRATED. You want to consume a minimum of 48 oz. of Clear Fluids. Optimal Goal 64 oz.

  • The Clear Liquid Diet begins postoperatively after your leak test if there is no nausea or vomiting.
  • The goal for one day is a total of 64 oz. of clear liquid per day by sipping small sips 4-8 oz per hour.
  • Important: You can have as many clear fluids as your body needs. The minimum goal is 48 oz. to prevent dehydration after bariatric surgery.

Learn More About Post-Op Diet Phase One: Clear Liquids

Phase Two Thick Liquids Diet - Bariatric Surgery Post-Op Diet

Stage 2: Thick Liquid Diet (Days 8-14)

This diet allows for a broad range of liquids and protein supplements. This will give your new stomach and digestive tract time to heal properly and allow you time to adjust to your new pouch. A good rule of thumb to follow is everything should be the consistency of something that can easily be strained through a straw. However, at this stage, you should not be sipping anything through a straw!

  • Goal: Stay hydrated, drink at least 48 oz of fluids, and consume between 60 – 90 grams of protein.
  • Duration: A minimum of 7 days, but can last longer if needed.
  • Calories: Aim for a minimum of 600 calories per day.

Your new pouch is shaped like a funnel. You can pour any liquid into this funnel, and it will run through and out the bottom. The same thing happens with your pouch when you only consume liquids. So you do not want to drink your calories or overeat.

Thick liquids are considered a meal, and the 30-minute drinking rule should be followed.

30 Minute Drinking Rule: Stop drinking 30 minutes before a meal and do not drink again until 30 minutes after a meal.

Approved Thick Liquids

  • All foods from the previous stage
  • Protein Powders
  • Greek Yogurt (Needs to have more protein than sugar – Fage, Chobani plain Greek yogurt, ratio.Protein)
  • Unsweetened Almond or Coconut Milk
  • Natural Apple Sauce
  • Vegetable juice (V8)
  • Hot cereals like oatmeal/cream of wheat
  • Sugar-Free Pudding
  • Soups (choose higher protein soups like bean soup; can take chunky soups and blend before eating)

Not Approved Thick Liquids

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Caffeinated drinks (Coffee)
  • Acidic Juices like Lemonade
  • No vitamin or mineral supplements until 14 days post-op
  • No Sugary Drinks (this may cause dumping syndrome)
  • NO ALCOHOL
  • Avoid nuts and seeds for 8 weeks post-op

Remember, you will not be able to gulp liquids so you will want to drink small amounts throughout the day.

Thick Liquid Diet Sample Menu

BREAKFAST

  • 1 oz. packet high protein oatmeal made with almond milk
  • One scoop of unflavored protein isolate added in

MID-MORNING

  • Protein shake (minimum of 20 grams of protein) – clear or thick shake

LUNCH

  • 4 oz. Greek-style yogurt blended with almond milk (choose a yogurt that has more protein than sugar)

MID-AFTERNOON

  • Clear or thick liquid protein shake

DINNER

  • Pureed soup

EVENING

  • Sugar-free pudding with one scoop of protein powder blended with almond milk

Learn More About Post-Op Diet Phase Two: Thick Liquids

Phase Three Soft Solids Diet - Bariatric Surgery Post-Op Diet

Stage 3: Soft Solids (Days 15-21)

In this phase, you can start to have soft, solid food. You should only introduce one new food item at a time to avoid irritation. Chew all your food well to applesauce consistency avoid vomiting, stomach irritation, and swelling. If solid foods cause nausea and vomiting, go back to phase 2 for a few days. Then, you can slowly add soft foods and eventually transition to solid foods. IF VOMITING AND NAUSEA PERSIST, CALL YOUR DOCTOR.

  • Goal: Start weighing food to 4 ounces total per meal. Get 20 grams of protein per meal (3 oz. should always be protein). Continue to drink 64 oz of fluids.
  • Duration: A minimum of 7 days, but can last longer if needed.
  • Calories: Aim for a minimum of 800 calories per day.

Do not forget to follow the 30-minute drinking rule.

Start taking your bariatric vitamins at 14 days post-op. If you need guidance in this area or require vitamins, please reach out to your nutritionist.

→ Buy Bariatric Vitamins Here 

Bariatric Surgery Vitamin Requirements

Approved Soft Solids

  • Add only ONE food at a time
  • Cottage cheese (4%-whole fat)
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Soft Tofu
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • Egg, chicken, shrimp, tuna salad (canned chicken, tuna, salmon)
  • Refried beans
  • String cheese or soft cheese like laughing cow
  • Cooked through vegetables

Lifelong Habits to Implement

  • STOP drinking 30 minutes before eating, and DO NOT drink until 30 minutes after a meal.
  • Chew thoroughly and slowly.
  • Eat three meals a day and one to two protein drinks.
  • Protein intake needs to be approximately 60 – 90 grams a day.

Soft Solids Sample Menu

BREAKFAST

  • 2 scrambled eggs & 1 oz. string cheese (3 oz.)

MID-MORNING

  • Protein shake

LUNCH

  • 3 oz. Chicken salad
  • 1 oz. blended avocado

DINNER

  • 4 oz. cottage cheese
  • 1 oz. fruit blended in

EVENING

  • A protein shake or pudding with protein combined in (if hungry)

Learn More About Post-Op Diet Phase Three: Soft Solids

Phase Four Solid Foods Diet - Bariatric Surgery Post-Op Diet

Stage 4: Solid Food (Day 21 and Beyond)

In this stage, you can start to incorporate firmer foods and a larger variety of foods. Remember to eat slowly and chew each bite thoroughly, at least 25 times, before swallowing. Liquids will pass through your new stomach pouch quickly and will not make you feel full. Consume solid food to get the proper feeling of fullness (satiety) while limiting the amount you eat. Take at least 30 minutes to eat your meal. Always read labels.

  • Goal: Eat 4-6 oz total per meal. Get 20 grams of protein per meal (3 oz. should always be protein). Continue to drink 64 oz of fluids.
  • Duration: This is a long-term plan.
  • Macronutrient Guidelines
    • Calories: 1000-1200
    • Protein: 75g-105g (35%)
    • Carbs: <100g (25%)
    • Fats: 30-45g (40%)
    • Sugars: <25g
    • Fiber: >20g

Approved Solid Foods

  • All foods from previous stages
  • Cheese (any cheese other than American or Velveeta)
  • Dried beans: kidney, lentil, split pea
  • Lean Meats: fish, tuna, chicken, turkey (Make sure all meats are moist)
  • Canned fruit in natural juices
  • Soft cooked vegetables

Foods to Avoid

  • Be careful of fibrous/gassy vegetables (celery, broccoli, cabbage, etc…)
  • Avoid the membrane of the fruit (skin on citrus)
  • Avoid tough meat
  • Nuts and seeds for 8 weeks
  • Avoid starchy food like white rice, pasta, bread
  • Popcorn

Remember:

  • Only add ONE new food at a time!
  • Chew thoroughly and slowly.
  • Protein Supplements: 60-90 grams.
  • Follow the 30-minute drinking rule
  • Eat 4-6 small meals each day
  • ALL NEW FOODS NEED TO BE SOFT, COOKED OR CANNED.
  • CAUTION introducing fruit and vegetables until your body adapts.
  • RECORD all new foods and any problems you have with them in a food diary, and let your doctor know of any problems or questions you may have.
  • Make sure that each bite is tiny (as if you were feeding a baby), and continue to eat small amounts slowly.
  • CONTINUE to take your multiple vitamins, calcium supplements, iron, and B12 supplements as directed.
  • DRINK at least 6 cups (48 ounces) of water and other low/no-calorie fluids between meals.
  • AVOID beverages that have alcohol or caffeine and those that are carbonated.
  • REMEMBER, do NOT use a straw or chew gum!
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Learn More About Post-Op Diet Phase Four: Solid Foods

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