After gastric bypass surgery your body will no longer be able to tolerate large meals and certain foods. The procedure reduces your stomach to about the size of a walnut and rearranges your digestive system so that part of the small intestine is bypassed. Your food choices will be limited to liquids at first, but over a period of several months you will gradually move toward small meals of regular foods. Generally there are four phases of the post-gastric bypass food plan, but the length of time for each phase depends upon your surgeon’s preferences and your body’s ability to tolerate food. Always follow your surgeon’s guidelines.
Phase One: Liquids
Within the first day or two after surgery, you'll begin taking small sips or spoonfuls of clear liquids. Choose fluids without sugar, caffeine or carbonation, such as broth, apple juice, gelatin, water, tea, instant drink mixes and ice pops. A few days or up to a week later, you'll be allowed to add full liquids -- foods that pass through a strainer at room temperature -- to your diet. Choose sugar-free, caffeine-free, non-carbonated liquids, such as strained cream soups, orange juice, commercially-prepared high protein drinks, pudding and yogurt.
Phase Two: Pureed Foods
When your surgeon allows it, add pureed or ground-up foods to your diet. Opt for solid foods that will blend well, such as lean ground beef, beans, fish, egg whites, tofu and soft fruits and vegetables. Add a liquid such as water, fat-free milk, juice or broth and blend the mixture to a smooth paste or thick liquid.
Phase Three: Soft Solid Foods
After a few weeks, your surgeon should allow you to add foods that can be mashed with a fork. Try ground or finely chopped meats, fish and poultry; canned or soft fresh fruits; well cooked vegetables; fat-free refried beans; hash; soft boiled eggs; cottage cheese; soft cheese; oatmeal; mashed potatoes; low fat soups; and tofu. Emphasize high protein foods and use protein supplements, as needed, to reach your nutritional goals each day.
Certain soft foods may be difficult to digest at this stage, so avoid sticky foods, such as bread, rice, pasta and peanut butter, tough meats and stringy vegetables. High fat foods, such as butter, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sausage, whole milk and salad dressing and snack foods, such as desserts, chips and popcorn, should also be avoided.
Phase Four: Solid Foods
Within three months after surgery, your surgeon will probably allow you to gradually add firmer foods to your diet. Continue to avoid high sugar, high fat, carbonated beverages and foods and eat your protein first. Hard-to-digest foods, such as stringy vegetables, tough meats, dry foods and bread should be avoided at first. According to the Duke University Health Systems, seafood is usually tolerated well at first, followed by tender meats and poultry. Make healthy food choices, chew each bite well and stop when you begin to feel full.