The post-op diet is broken down into 4 phases after gastric sleeve surgery. Each phase should be followed for a minimum of 5-7 days. By following these helpful guidelines, you can expect more successful weight loss results, faster healing, and recovery. Here are the approved foods and beverages you can have after gastric sleeve surgery.
Phase 1: Clear Liquids
About a day after surgery, you can begin sipping clear liquids. Clear liquids include 100% real juices like apple, cranberry, or white grape (diluted 60/40 with water), sugar-free Jell-O, or broth.
Some examples of Acceptable Clear Liquids include:
- Water or sugar-free flavored water
- Herbal tea (decaf)
- Sugar-free popsicles
- Sugar-Free Jello
Important Note: Make sure to drink 64 ounces of fluids every day. It can be difficult with a small stomach, so constantly sip throughout the day and keep track of fluid intake. Learning the signs and symptoms of dehydration is crucial to avoid dehydration.
It is encouraged to take small sips and be aware of when you feel full. When you can tolerate clear liquids and meet the 64 oz fluid goal, you can progress into phase 2, or the thick liquid phase.
Phase 2: Thick Liquids
All foods consumed during phase 2 must be pureed in a blender and thinned enough to fit through a straw. However, do NOT use a straw in order to prevent gas and air from entering the stomach. The goal of this phase is to get 60-90 grams of protein daily.
It is encouraged to eat four to six meals of four ounces each slowly. It can take up to 30 minutes to eat 4 ounces or a half cup of food, so plan accordingly.
At least 64 oz of low-calorie, caffeine-free liquids should be consumed throughout the day to prevent dehydration and to help digestion. Sip these liquids between meals and never during meals, following the 30-minute drinking rule.
Some examples of Approved foods during phase 2 include:
- Unsweetened coconut, almond, or Lactaid free milk; some people become lactose intolerant after surgery
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Blended plain Greek yogurt; choose one that has more protein than sugar
- Cooked cereal with lactose-free milk (Cream of Wheat, grits, or oatmeal)
- Blenderized fruit added to shakes
- Blended soups
Avoid these foods during your post-op gastric sleeve experience:
- Sweets (cakes, cookies, ice cream, pies)
- Smoothies from chain restaurants
- Carbonated beverages
- Pureed baby food
Phase 3: Soft-Solid Food
About two weeks after bariatric surgery, you can advance to phase three if you didn’t experience nausea or vomiting in the previous phases. Focus on protein first when eating and avoid any foods that are fattening and high in calories. These can be difficult to digest. Cut down to three meals and one protein shake during this phase instead of the four to six small meals.
Introduce one new food at a time, that way, if something doesn’t agree with you, you will know what it is.
Some acceptable foods include:
- Casseroles (no heavy cream or mayo)
- Cooked eggs (without butter)
- Cottage cheese
- Soft lean meat like fish or canned chicken; meats you can mash with a fork (no red meat)
- Cooked vegetables
- Blended beans (kidney, lime, butter, pintos, or black)
- Canned fruit (in their juice or water, not syrup)
- Hot cereals
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Soft fish
- Soft cheese (limited amounts only)
Meals should be no more than 6 ounces.
Avoid soft solids like:
- Red meat
- Raw vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- High-calorie beverages
- Fibrous foods (which can cause a blockage)
Phase 4: Solid Foods
During this phase, one new food should be added at a time so you can gauge how you react to it.
Avoid bread as it tends to form gummy balls and can be difficult to digest.
Some suggested foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Lean meats
- Whole grain products, including quinoa, oatmeal, and cereals
Protein is crucial at this point and helps reduce hair loss. As the body adjusts to changes after surgery and rapid weight loss occurs, patients can experience weight loss three to six months after surgery.
Hair loss can also occur due to low zinc, iron, and protein levels.
Best Food Sources of Protein:
- Cottage cheese
- Low-sugar, high-protein Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cheese
- Protein powders (Whey and Hemp)
- Chicken and turkey
- Other lean meats
- Soy products
Foods to Avoid During All Phases
Avoid or limit to small amounts the following foods:
- Regular mayonnaise
- Sour cream
- Pie crust
- Cream cheese
- Hot dogs
- Regular salad dressings
- Fried foods
- Regular sodas
- High sugar drinks
How to Be Successful After Surgery
- Eat only when hungry: Listen to your body and know your hunger cues to prevent eating when you are not hungry.
- Chew slowly: Chewing slowly and to applesauce consistency can help you be aware of when you become full.
- Eat small portions: Your new stomach can only hold about 1/2 a cup of food so eat small portions not to stretch out your new pouch.
- Don’t overeat: Stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied. Continuously overeating will stretch your new stomach pouch.
- Avoid any fibrous food: This food can get stuck because it cannot be chewed well enough to break up into pieces.
Remember to take vitamins and supplements to avoid nutritional deficiency. Calcium, B12, iron, and a multivitamin are recommended to avoid nutritional deficiencies. All vitamins should be bariatric specific and in the form of soft chew, chewable, or drinkable, as are available at Emerge Bariatrics.