4 Stages of Eating After Bariatric Surgery - Dr. Louis Balsama Bariatric Surgery

4 Stages of Eating After Bariatric Surgery

4 Stages of Eating After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure for patients who need to lose a significant amount of weight. If you’re considering undergoing bariatric surgery, or have already scheduled your procedure day, it’s time to start preparing for your recovery. The biggest changes you’ll have to make are to your diet. We’ve outlined what you can expect during four different stages of eating after your bariatric surgery:

Stage 1: Clear Liquids

Starting the day after your surgery, you will start a clear liquid diet, continuing for about 4-5 days. During this time, you should try your best to work up to about 3 ounces of clear fluids a day every 30 minutes. This might be difficult right after your procedure, but it will continue to get easier and feel more comfortable! During this time, drink slowly and do not drink liquids out of a straw or chew gum, as these can lead to gas and bloating. Some examples of liquids to try during this stage are:

  • Diluted apple juice
  • Lemon water
  • Vegetable broth
  • Lemon-Lime Gatorade G2
  • Sugar-free citrus gelatin
  • Pedialyte Popsicles

You should also be adding diluted protein shakes to your diet. Use a combination of ½ protein shake and ½ water.

Stage 2: Full Liquids

You can advance to stage two of your diet after about 4-5 days and after you have been able to tolerate 48 ounces of clear liquids a day. This stage will involve foods that are mushy or have a consistency similar to yogurt, and will continue for about 7-10 days. Try to eat every 3-4 hours, being sure not to skip any meals. Each of these meals should be about ½ cup or two ounces in size. You should still be drinking a minimum of 48-64 ounces of fluids during this time as well. Examples of foods you can eat during this stage include:

  • Greek or nondairy yogurt
  • Oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Black beans, lentils, or fat-free refined beans (blended)
  • Pea soup, cream of mushroom soup, etc.
  • Mashed banana
  • Cottage cheese (add a little baby food for flavor)

You should continue drinking protein between meals with a goal of 80-100 grams of protein a day. You can begin mixing protein with unsweetened almond or soy milk, but avoid cow’s milk. You should also begin your vitamins and minerals on day 5 of this stage, adding one new vitamin per day.

Stage 3: Soft and Moist Foods

This stage of your diet will begin about 2 weeks after your surgery and your follow up appointment with Dr. Balsama, lasting 2 full weeks. These foods should be easy to pull apart with a fork, and each meal should be about ½ cup or 4 ounces in size. However, you should stop eating as soon as you’re full, even if this amount has not been reached! Examples of soft foods to eat during this stage are:

  • Lean proteins like slow cooked chicken or pork
  • Canned chicken, tuna, or crab
  • Egg whites
  • Chili or stew
  • Salmon, trout, or other flakey fish
  • Refried beans, mashed lentils, chickpeas, and tofu
  • Soft, low-fat cheeses
  • Over-cooked vegetables like zucchini, squash, cauliflower, or mushrooms
  • Soft fruits like melons, peaches, and avocados

Continue to sip fluids between meals but remember the 30/30 rule: Do not drink 30 minutes before or after a meal. Continue your daily protein drink and minerals as well.

Stage 4: Regular Consistency

This stage starts 4-6 weeks after your procedure, and involves reintroducing regular foods! Start by adding 1-2 new foods per day, avoiding anything that causes gas like broccoli, pepper, onions, and spicy foods. Remember to eat slowly and chew your foods completely before swallowing. Each meal should be about ¾ cup (6 ounces) in size, and should not exceed 1 cup. You should continue to honor the 30/30 rule, sipping water in-between meals. Eventually, you will be able to work up to a regular diet, however, here are some foods you should still avoid:

  • Rice, pasta, and bread
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Dry meats
  • Fruit with thick skin
  • Fried foods
  • Added sugars
  • Baked goods
  • Oils

Dr. Balsama is an expert in the latest bariatric procedures, offering techniques like gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and revision bariatric procedures to his patients in the South Jersey area. To learn more about the procedure and the four stages of eating after surgery, contact our office today.

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