Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

Your stomach will only be able to handle a half-cup of liquids or food at a time. You will need to chew your food many times and take 20-30 minutes to eat each meal. Each day, you must eat several small meals that are high in protein. Always eat the protein first. You will sip sugar-free fluids between meals and stop drinking fluids 30 minutes before and after meals. Taking fluids before or at meal times may cause feelings of fullness or bloating, and may lower your food intake or cause vomiting. You will need to have a minimum of 64 ounces of liquid each day. Straws and carbonated beverages should be avoided to keep from having gas or feeling bloating.

During the first six to eight weeks following surgery, you will progress through five nutrition phases. Each phase is high in protein and low in fat and sugar. The dietitian will guide you through these phases.

Nutrition Phases

Phase I: Clear Liquids

  • Begin during your hospital stay

Phase II: Full (non-clear) Liquids

  • Begin approximately two days after surgery and continue for two weeks. You will strive to meet your protein goal by choosing low-fat dairy products.

Phase III: Puréed Foods

  • Begin two to three weeks after surgery. You can add foods that have a smooth consistency such as mashed, blended or first- or second-stage baby foods.

Phase IV: Soft Foods

  • Begin approximately five weeks following your surgery. You eat foods that are soft and easy to digest, such as ground meats and well-cooked vegetables and fruits. This is a big change for your stomach to adjust to since it is the first time you are eating foods that are not already broken down.

Phase V: Regular Foods

  • Begin six to eight weeks after surgery. You will need to introduce one new food a day to see how well it is tolerated.

Typical daily intake during each phase after surgery

Phase I: Clear Liquids

  • Crystal Light or sugar-free beverage
  • Sugar-free popsicles
  • Clear broth
  • Decaffeinated tea or coffee
  • Sugar-free Jello
  • Sugar-free fudgesicles
  • Water

Phase II: Full (non-clear) Liquids

  • Breakfast: 1 cup skim milk with no sugar added instant breakfast drink
  • Snack: Sugar-free hot cocoa with skim milk
  • Lunch: 1/2 cup Crystal Light, 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream soup (strained)
  • Snack: Sugar-free drink, sugar-free Jello
  • Dinner: 1 cup low-sugar protein shake
  • Snack: 1 cup skim milk with no sugar added instant breakfast drink

Phase III: Puréed Food

  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup cream of wheat, 2 tsp. diet margarine
  • Snack: 1/2 cup skim milk with 1/2 package no sugar added instant breakfast drink
  • Lunch: 1/2 cup puréed vegetable soup, 1/2 jar strained chicken
  • Snack: 1/4 cup blended cottage cheese, 1/4 cup blended fruit
  • Dinner: 1/4 cup blended beef with broth, 1/4 cup blended green beans, 1/4 cup mashed potatoes with 2 tsp. diet margarine
  • Snack: 1/2 cup sugar-free pudding, 1/2 cup diluted fruit juice

Phase IV – Soft Foods

  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup scrambled egg whites or egg substitute, 1/2 banana
  • Snack: 1/2 cup rice krispies, 1/2 cup skim milk
  • Lunch: 1-2 oz baked fish, 2 Tbsp. green beans, 2 Tbsp. baked potato
  • Snack: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup pineapple
  • Dinner: 2 Tbsp. lean ground meat roasted, 2 Tbsp. mashed potato; 2 Tbsp. cantaloupe
  • Snack: 1/2 cup sugar-free pudding, 1/2 cup diluted fruit juice