How to Nourish Your Body After Bariatric Surgery

Salmon dinnerIf you’re considering bariatric surgery, or if you have recently had bariatric surgery at our Louisiana or Mississippi centers, the question “What can you eat after bariatric surgery?” has probably come up once or twice in conversation (whether at our clinic or with your family). It’s not uncommon for people who are at the beginning of their weight loss journey to have many questions about what they can eat after surgery. After all, eating is an important part of emotional and physical wellness!

A diet that is too restrictive over the long term can be hard to follow. One misconception that some people believe about bariatric surgery is that eating after surgery is an endless lifetime of soft foods and protein shakes. Not so! Eating after bariatric surgery can be an exciting experience as you rediscover foods that you love or you find new foods that you may have missed out on previously. During National Nutrition Month, we want offer a few tips on what you should eat after weight loss surgery:

During Any Phase:
There are certain good health practices that are essential for your wellness no matter what eating phase you are experiencing. We recommend that you: drink plenty of fluids between meals to keep hydrated, take doctor-recommended vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent malnutrition, eat small meals, eat and drink slowly to prevent dumping syndrome, chew your food completely, and focus on protein-rich foods rather than sugar and fat-filled foods. Additionally, trying new foods one at a time can prevent discomfort, nausea, or vomiting.

Phase 1: Liquids
During the first few days after surgery it is important to allow your stomach to heal. To put as little strain as possible on your stomach it is recommended that you follow a liquid and semisolid diet. Most patients can eat sugar-free gelatin, strained cream soups, milk, unsweetened juices, broths, and liquid protein supplements.

Phase 2: Pureed foods
After the liquid phase diet, many patients find they can begin to enjoy pureed foods. During this phase patients can enjoy oatmeal, soft cooked vegetables, mashable fruits, and continue to take protein supplements. Adding Greek yogurt into protein shakes is a great way to get in extra protein and enjoy a creamy “milkshake.” This phase may require some creativity, but there are many tasty recipes on the internet that can help you find delicious meals.

Phase 3: Soft, Solid Foods
The soft, solid foods phase is your last step before beginning solid foods. There are lots of soft, solid foods that you can use to make tasty dinners! Omelets are a great place to start. Add fish that easily flakes as well as soft vegetarian casseroles, and soft fruits.

Phase 4: Solid Foods
As you begin the solid food phase we encourage you to meet with our nutritionist to discuss which foods you should be incorporating into your diet and which foods you should still avoid. Begin with chicken, then add salads and slowly add in steak and roast beef. Some patients may find that their body is not quite able to digest tougher meats, crunchy foods like granola or nuts, fibrous veggies, popcorn, or breads. During this time you’ll have an opportunity to update your recipe box with delicious and nourishing recipes.

While the first few weeks after bariatric surgery can require you to become creative during meal times, you will quickly find that you are able to enjoy healthier versions of some of your favorite foods. It’s not uncommon on our Facebook pages for our patients to share new foods or recipes that they have developed a taste for after surgery. We encourage you to visit our social media pages and join our community for access to yummy recipes, nutrition updates, and community support. If you are interested in learning about bariatric surgery in Louisiana or Mississippi, please attend one of our free weight loss surgery seminars, call us at 877-691-3001, or contact us online.

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