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Foods to Eat After Bariatric Surgery


By Dr. Dieter Pohl

If you're thinking about having bariatric surgery, you're probably wondering what you'll be able to eat afterward. The short answer is: a variety of things. Following weight-loss surgery, there are several diet phases that include foods with varying textures. As your stomach heals, you'll gradually introduce new foods into your diet. Each bariatric surgery program's recommendations may differ slightly, but in general, these are the steps you'll take:

Weeks 1 & 2: Clear liquids and protein shakes

You'll be on a clear liquid diet with protein shakes during weeks one and two after surgery. Protein shake guidelines call for around 150 calories and 15-30 grams of protein per drink. Every day, you'll need about 45-60 grams of protein from shakes. Drink three shakes per day if your shake contains 15-20 grams of protein. Drink 2 if your shake contains 30 grams of protein.


In addition to regular drinking water, Sugar-free, non-carbonated water, herbal tea, Crystal Light, fruit 2 O, sugar-free sports drinks, diet Jello-O, broth, and sugar-free popsicles are examples of clear liquids. For liquids, the daily goal is 64 oz (including protein shakes). It may take up to an hour to consume 8 oz, so take your time! Remember, don’t use a straw!

Week 3: Full liquids and puréed foods

During week 3, your diet will consist of full liquids and pureed foods. Protein shakes will provide you with about 30 grams of protein per day; the rest of your protein will come from food. As you begin to reintroduce food, keep in mind that scrambled eggs should be cooked loosely, so they are easier to digest. To get protein in your diet, try Greek or regular yogurt without pieces of fruit.

Consider eating pureed soups such as blended chicken or vegetable soup, blended vegetables and bean soup, or other blended soups. You can add some unflavored protein powder to soups. Syrups or powders can be used to enhance the flavor of yogurt or cottage cheese.

Weeks 4 & 5: Puréed foods

In weeks 4 and 5, you will continue to need about 30g of protein per day from protein shakes. You will be drinking the same amount of liquids as the previous weeks, but will start eating more pureed foods. Consider making cream of wheat with milk to add protein to your diet.  Try foods like ricotta with marinara sauce or no sugar added applesauce or other pureed fruits during these weeks.

Week 6: Soft, ground and moist foods

At week 6, some people may have to continue to drink protein shakes to get 60 grams of protein daily. Other people may be able to get all their protein needs from food. Oatmeal with added protein or other cereals which are higher in protein can be a good choice for breakfast. Ground meats, like ground chicken or turkey, are better tolerated if moistened with gravy or marinara sauce. Cook all vegetables until they are soft and avoid coarse or tough vegetables at this time.  Be sure that the texture is soft and there are no skins or peels.

Week 7 and beyond: Solid, low-fat, and low-sugar foods

Once you’ve reached week 7, you can now eat solid foods. Keep in mind to consume protein-rich items first; as tolerated, consume salad and other vegetables at the end of the meal. Some foods like tough meat, fresh bread, stringy vegetables, the membrane on oranges and grapefruit, and the peel on fruits and vegetables may be initially difficult to digest. Choose foods that are don’t have a lot of calories or added sugars, and are lower in fats.

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