The meals you can eat after having bariatric surgery depend on how far you've progressed in your recovery following the procedure. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center's Bariatric Surgery Department at Highland Hospital, you won't be able to eat solid foods until approximately nine to 11 weeks after your surgery. If you don't follow the guidelines specified for your stage of recovery, you may experience stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor, surgeon or dietitian for advice on developing post-bariatric surgery menus appropriate for every level of recovery.
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Two Weeks Post-Bariatric Surgery
For the two weeks following your bariatric surgery, follow a high-protein liquid diet low in fat, sugar and calories. Plan on having plenty of broth or broth-based soups, low-calorie protein drinks or shakes, low-fiber hot cereals such as farina, and low- or nonfat dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding and milk on hand. Consume one liquid at least six times daily, starting with a 1-tablespoon serving and working up to 2 tablespoons. Drink at least 3 cups of water each day. If you don't consume dairy products, add protein powder to other liquids.
Two to Four Weeks Post-Bariatric Surgery
Between your second and fourth week post-surgery, you should begin to tolerate 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time of very soft or well-cooked, pureed foods including applesauce, skinless fish or poultry, eggs whites or an egg substitute, noodles, fat-free beans, canned fruit or tofu. Aim to consume five to six small meals spaced throughout the day. Choose the protein-rich foods first, but stop eating as soon as you feel full, even if you have not had any fruits, vegetables or grains. Use mustard, spices, herbs, fat-free butter spray or reduced-fat mayonnaise as condiments, and avoid salt.
Four Weeks to Two Months Post-Bariatric Surgery
From four week to two months post-surgery, add soft-cooked solid foods into your daily menu. The University of San Francisco Medical Center advises consuming 900 to 1,000 calories per day in this phase, with meals providing three servings of protein, three servings of dairy products, three servings of soft-cooked grains like oatmeal, two servings of well-cooked vegetables and one serving of cooked or canned fruit every day. Avoid raw fruits or vegetables, foods high in fat or sugar such as cookies or bacon and fiber-rich items like popcorn, nuts or seeds. Keep your focus on protein -- you'll need 65 to 75 grams a day at this stage -- and continue to drink lots of fluid.
Two to Six Months Post-Bariatric Surgery
By the time you are six months post-surgery, a typical meal might consist of a 3-ounce serving of protein, one to two servings of starchy foods such as 1/2 cup of brown rice or cooked beans, and a serving of dairy with the rest of the plate filled with fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables. Avoid items high in fat, calories and sugar such as whole-milk dairy, fried meat, processed foods and sweets to maximize your nutrient intake and lower the risk that you'll regain weight. Keep your meals small since your stomach will not be able to hold more than 1 to 1 1/4 cups of food at a time.