Gastric Bypass surgery is a life-changing step for people who want to lose weight and lead a healthier, happier life. However, the surgery itself is just one part of the equation.
To truly maximize the benefits of your weight loss surgery and ensure a smooth recovery, it’s crucial to make changes to your diet. Let’s delve into the essentials of post-gastric bypass nutrition, what to eat after gastric bypass surgery and how to continue your health journey while enjoying foods you love.
So, What Can You Eat After Gastric Bypass Surgery?
After undergoing bariatric surgery, your dietary choices are pivotal to continue to lose weight.
“It’s extremely important to follow your post-op diet progression to ensure you heal properly and stay adequately nourished,” says Sami Weyhrich, RD, LD, Registered Dietician at New You Surgical Weight Loss.
Let’s dive into what to eat and what to avoid for a successful post-surgery diet:
Protein is the foundation of your post-bariatric surgery diet. It helps with tissue repair, supports muscle strength, and promotes a feeling of fullness. Lean sources of protein, such as skinless poultry, lean meats, fish, eggs, and plant-based options like tofu and legumes, should be a staple in your meals.
Fruits and Vegetables
Incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and raw vegetables into your diet to obtain essential vitamins and minerals. These foods are also rich in fiber, aiding digestion and helping you feel full with smaller portions. However, be cautious with fibrous vegetables at first, as they can be difficult to tolerate immediately after bariatric surgery. Additionally, take care not to intake a large amount of fruits at once to avoid indigestion.
Many people think they have to avoid all carbohydrates after gastric bypass surgery, but there are lots of whole grain options you can enjoy! Opt for ingredients like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread over refined grains. They provide more nutrients and fiber, promoting stable blood sugar levels and aiding in digestion.
Dairy or Dairy Alternatives
Calcium is vital for bone health, so include low-fat dairy products or fortified dairy alternatives in your diet. Things like greek yogurt and cottage cheese are excellent options, as they are high in protein and make for a satisfying snack.
While you should limit your fat intake, incorporating healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil can provide essential nutrients and promote satiety.
After gastric bypass surgery, water is your best friend! You can also enjoy drinks like herbal teas, sugar-free beverages, and diluted fruit juices. Staying well-hydrated is crucial, but sipping fluids slowly is essential to avoid discomfort or nausea.
What to Avoid After Gastric Bypass Surgery
While many foods can still be enjoyed after gastric bypass surgery, there are a few to avoid for a smoother recovery and lasting results:
Processed, Fried, and Sugary Foods
Our bodies don’t receive the fuel they need from things like sugary drinks, fried foods, processed chips, and candies. These provide empty calories that hinder weight loss, and can lead to dumping syndrome—a condition characterized by nausea, sweating, and diarrhea.
Carbonated drinks like soda and sparkling water can cause bloating and discomfort. Stick to still, non-carbonated beverages like water, juice, and tea instead.
Alcoholic beverages are absorbed by our digestive systems more rapidly, which means even one or two drinks can lead to intoxication after gastric bypass surgery. It’s also high in empty calories, so it’s best to limit or avoid alcohol.
Tough or Fibrous Meats
Tough cuts of red meat and fibrous proteins can be challenging to digest, especially in the early stages of recovery. Focus on soft foods, protein-rich options until your tolerance to solid foods improves.
Enjoying Food After Surgery
One of the most common concerns among bariatric surgery patients is the fear of losing the enjoyment of food. It’s easy to fall into a mindset of ‘what will I miss out on’, but fortunately a post-surgery diet doesn’t mean a lifetime of bland, unappetizing meals! In fact, for many of our patients this is an exciting opportunity to discover a new way of savoring and appreciating food.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy nutritious meals after weight loss surgery:
Experiment with Flavors
Embrace herbs, spices, and seasonings to enhance the taste of raw and cooked vegetables in your dishes without adding excessive calories. Whether you use dried spices from the store, or enjoy growing your own fresh herbs, they create a bright pop of flavor you’ll love.
After weight loss surgery, people often find themselves taking extra time to thoughtfully prepare and enjoy food. That may mean slowing down and savoring each bite. It could include using smaller plates to help manage portion control while feeling satisfied. Mindful eating will help you create a positive relationship with food for sustainable health improvements.
Pairing different textures and flavors can make meals more interesting and fun! For example, you could combine a soft protein source with a crunchy vegetable for a satisfying contrast. Or maybe you’ll enjoy finding new ways to add high-protein toppings like seeds or nuts to complement your favorite dishes. And you don’t have to do this alone – our team shares recipe ideas, cooking tips, and everything you need to get started.
Fall Back In Love With Food With New You Surgical Weight Loss
Sustainable weight loss after gastric bypass surgery goes beyond the operation; it’s about making lasting changes to your diet and relationship with food. At New You, our team makes it easy! Our on-staff dietitian can help identify what kind of foods to add or remove from your diet post-surgery, and create a menu that fits your lifestyle, preferences, and health goals.Ready to learn how you can create lasting change while enjoying food you love?
Get in touch with New You to take the first step! Your success on this transformative journey is our priority, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.