There are four separate phases to follow for one’s diet after having gastric sleeve surgery. By following these helpful guidelines, you can expect better weight loss results as well as a more useful healing process after your surgical procedure.
Stage 1 – Clear Liquids
About a day after surgery, patients will begin sipping clear liquids. These include juices like apple, cranberry or white grape (little sugar or dilute 50/50 with water), water, sugar-free Jell-O, or broth. Patients are encouraged to take small sips and be aware when they feel full. If the patients can be tolerable clear liquids, they will progress into the clear liquids or Pureed Consistency phase.
Stage 2 – Thick Liquids
All foods consumed must be pureed in a blender and thinned so they can fit through a straw. Patients should not use straws however to prevent gas. The protein goal at this point in post-op is 60 to 90 grams daily. Some examples of foods consumed now are:
- Unsweetened coconut, almond or Lactaid free milk; some people become lactose intolerant after surgery
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Blended Greek yogurt (no fruit chunks); 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
- Blenderized soups (made with lactose-free milk, not water)
Patients are encouraged to eat four to six meals of four ounces each. Eat slowly with the guideline of it taking 30 minutes to eat 4 ounces or a half cup of food. At least eight cups of low-calorie, caffeine-free liquids should be consumed throughout the day to prevent dehydration and to help digestion. Sip these liquids in between meals and never during meals as it will make you feel full before you have consumed enough food.
Some examples of acceptable liquids include:
- Water or no sugar flavored water
- Herbal tea (just 8 ounces a day)
- Herbal coffee- Teeccino (just 8 ounces daily)
- Lactose-free milk (Almond, Coconut or Lactaid free milk
Avoid these foods during your post-op gastric sleeve experience.
- Sweets (Cakes, cookies, ice cream, pies)
- Fried foods
- High-fat meat (hot dogs, sausages or bacon)
Stage 3 – Soft-Solid Food
About two weeks following your gastric sleeve surgery, you will begin this phase as long as you have tolerated the two phases prior without nausea or vomiting. Focus on protein first with meals and avoid any and all foods that are high in sugar or carbs. These can be difficult to digest. Cut back to three meals and one protein shake during this phase instead of the four to six small meals.
Some acceptable foods include:
- Casseroles (watch heavy mayo or cream)
- Cooked eggs, any type except fried
- Whole-fat cottage cheese
- Soft lean meat like fish or canned chicken; meats you can mash with a fork (no red meat)
- Cooked vegetables, peeled only
- Blended beans (kidney, lime, butter, pintos or black)
- Canned fruit (in their juice or water, not syrup)
- Hot cereals
- Greek yogurt
- Soft fish
- Soft cheese (limited amounts only)
Meals should be no more than 6 ounces. Avoid red meat, nuts, popcorn, raw vegetables, fresh fruits, high-calorie beverages and all fibrous foods, which can cause a blockage.
Stage 4 – Solid Foods
During this phase, one new food is added at a time so the patient can gauge how they react to it. Add bread last as they tend to form into balls and can be hard to go through the new stomach pouch.
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 to keep hair loss at bay. As the body adjusts to changes after surgery and the rapid weight loss occurring, patients can experience weight loss three to six months after surgery. Hair loss can also occur as a result of low zinc and iron intake as well as low protein levels.
Some useful proteins to consume are:
- 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
Limit or avoid these foods and beverages and only consume in small amounts. These items include:
- Regular mayonnaise
- Sour cream
- Pie crust
- Cream cheese
- Hot dogs
- Regular salad dressings
- Fried foods
- Regular sodas
- High sugar drinks
Helpful Eating Rules
Eat only when you are hungry and chew slowly. Eat only small portions as your new stomach pouch can only hold about a ½ cup of food at most. If you continuously overeat, you will stretch your new stomach pouch. Stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied. Avoid any fibrous food as this food can tend to get stuck because it cannot be chewed well enough to break up into pieces. If you want to eat these types of foods, cut them into small pieces and chew thoroughly.
Also, remember to take multivitamins as well as other vitamin supplements to keep your vitamin levels at a healthy level. Calcium, B12, iron and fish oil are some common supplements taken by gastric sleeve patients. Consult your nutritionist and surgeon for the list of supplements you should follow for your particular health.