Once your bariatric surgery is over and you’re ready to start eating solid foods, it’s essential to have a meal plan to keep you on track. With many of the earlier restrictions lifted, you have to be careful not to fall back into old habits. Even if you were eating healthy before bariatric surgery, your post bariatric lifestyle will likely have guidelines to adhere to maximize your success. When making healthy meal plans for your post bariatric diet, you’ll need to keep nutrition, portions and number of servings in mind.
As you’re shopping for foods and thinking about meals you want to make, your main focus should be on having a well-balanced diet. Your post bariatric diet should include protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grain, dairy and fat.
You’ll want to avoid foods that are high in sugar, as these foods cause wide swings in your insulin levels and provide no lasting satisfaction. Foods like soft drinks and fast foods are processed foods that are not healthy and offer no lasting satisfaction, making you get hungry again sooner. Incorporating these empty calorie foods and beverages into your post bariatric diet is one of the easiest ways to gain weight and set you back from reaching your weight loss goals.
In order to ensure that you’re eating a well balanced diet and getting all the nutrients you need, you must plan your meals. This is critical to long term success. Eating on “the fly” is set up for failure long term. Planning lunch and especially dinner are very important
A typical day of meals in your post bariatric surgery diet might include a breakfast of protein such as a hard boiled egg and a strip of turkey bacon. Lunch could be a couple of slices of your favorite lunch meat like turkey and cheese rolled into a “cigar” Dinner could consist of a small piece of fish and some vegetables or a small salad. Throughout the day you are staying hydrated by drinking water, or other beverages like like vitamin water (zero) or sweetened water like crystal light.
The reality is that after a gastric bypass or sleeve you are not going to be able to eat more that a couple of ounces at one time. That is why it is ok to have a mid morning or afternoon snack like a cheese stick or handful of cashews. The take home message is that protein consumption is important. You should target at least 60 grams of protein daily. It is important to eat protein first at each meal and this will give you lasting satiety.
Also, as you’re planning what to eat at each meal, you should make sure you’re getting the proper portions from each food group. Keep in mind that many foods serve multiple daily needs. Many dairy products also contain protein, and some vegetables, like sweet potatoes, are also starches. Read the labels on the foods you buy so you do not over do it in certain categories.
Portions and Number of Servings
- Protein: You should eat a total of 50-70 grams of protein a day with a average target of 60 grams. Protein can come in any form, meat cheese,eggs or tofu.
- Fruit: You can have a half cup of fruit 1 to 2 times a day.
- Vegetables: half to a whole cup of vegetables per day can be eaten daily.
- Dairy: You can have about 1 and a half cups of dairy. Split this amount up into three servings a day.
- Starch and Whole grains: During the first 3 months of your solid food diet, you can have very few. After 6 months, you can have 1 to 2 servings a day. Just keep servings small. A half cup of pasta or small sweet potato.This is plenty to meet your nutritional needs.
It’s important to follow the dietary guidelines set by your bariatric surgeon and nutritionist. The first few weeks of your post bariatric diet are much more regimented--you can only have liquids or pureed foods or soft foods. But the final stage of your post bariatric diet is where the true lifestyle change comes in. Creating and following healthy meal plans for your post bariatric diet will help you reach your goal weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Contact us today to schedule a personal consultation with one of our expert bariatric surgeons!