Following bariatric surgery, one of the things that you will need to concentrate on is your diet. Because changes will have been made to your digestive tract, in order to avoid complications and facilitate long-term weight loss, you will need to eat a lot of protein per day. For example, after bariatric surgery at the Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado, we recommend that our patients eat 60-80 grams of protein per day after surgery (90-100 grams per day for duodenal switch patients).
Finding the right balanced diet can help you to maximize your health after weight loss surgery.
What Will Your Diet Be Like After Your Surgery?
Following gastric bypass surgery, you will not be able to eat large amounts of food at one time. Because your stomach will get full after only a few ounces of food, it’s critical to eat small meals that are high in protein. It’s also critical to prioritize foods that are low in sugars (added or otherwise).
Here is a quick breakdown of the dietary changes that you will need to make following surgery:
- Eat smaller meals: You will not be able to eat large meals due to a smaller stomach pouch.
- Eat slowly: In order to eat enough at each meal to fuel your body, you will need to eat slowly. A typical meal should take at least 30 minutes. Eating slowly also helps prevent you from eating past the point of fullness.
- Drink water throughout the day: You won’t be able to drink a lot of liquid at once. To avoid dehydration, you must drink water continuously throughout the day.
- Prioritize protein: It can be tough to get enough grams of protein daily following bariatric surgery, so you will need to eat high-protein food at every meal to ensure that you get enough.
- Chew thoroughly: Did you know that digestion starts in your mouth? Your saliva contains digestive enzymes, so the more thoroughly you chew your food, the easier it will be on your digestive tract.
- Take your supplements: Your doctors will instruct you on what vitamins and supplements to take on a daily basis following surgery.
5 High-Protein Bariatric Recipes
To give you an idea of what to eat after you’ve healed from surgery, we are going to share five healthy, high-protein bariatric recipes that you can enjoy after surgery.
1. Peanut Butter Protein Shake
Protein shakes can be a good, fast way to get enough protein. Adding in things like peanut butter or cacao powder can make them an enjoyable treat.
1 scoop unsweetened vanilla protein powder
1 cup nonfat milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ frozen banana
½ cup ice
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust to your liking (add more peanut butter for a richer flavor, more milk to thin it out, and more protein powder to make it thicker).
Inspired by this recipe.
2. Greek Yogurt Breakfast Pops
Nonfat or lowfat greek yogurt is a high-protein, healthy food that is great to incorporate into your post-surgery diet. One tasty way to enjoy greek yogurt is in a homemade popsicle.
2 cups blueberries
2 cups low-fat, unsweetened greek yogurt
- Blend fresh or thawed frozen blueberries in a food processor or high-speed blender until fully blended (a consistency similar to making a smoothie).
- Add your blueberry puree and greek yogurt in a mixing bowl and stir together.
- Add to a popsicle mold and freeze until fully frozen.
3. Protein-Rich Chocolate Brownies
Just because you’ve had bariatric surgery doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge from time to time, as long as your desserts are healthy. Try this recipe for a tasty low-sugar, protein-rich dessert.
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
- Line baking pan with coconut oil or cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Add ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Pour ingredients into pan and cook for roughly 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Inspired by this recipe.
4. Breakfast Scramble
Eggs are an excellent basis for high-protein bariatric recipes. Try making a breakfast scramble with turkey sausage or bacon and the vegetables of your choice.
4-6 eggs or egg substitute
¼ pound turkey sausage or turkey bacon
1 teaspoon of nonfat milk
½ cup spinach, chopped
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon butter or coconut oil
Optional garnishments (ketchup without high fructose corn syrup, salsa, or hot sauce)
- Cook turkey bacon or sausage as directed. Either chop up and add to your scramble or keep warm to serve as a side.
- Put a skillet on medium heat. Add oil or butter and chopped garlic and onion. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- While the garlic and onion are roasting, add eggs, milk, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl and mix with a fork until well-mixed.
- Add eggs and spinach to your skillet and use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix everything together. Also add in turkey sausage or turkey bacon, chopped, if you would like it mixed into your scramble.
- Continue to mix eggs regularly until they are not runny. When there is no liquid left, they are done.
- Garnish to your liking with salsa, healthy ketchup, hot sauce, salt, and/or pepper.
5. Shrimp Ceviche
Ceviche is an easy-to-make, high-protein recipe ideal for bariatric surgery patients thanks to its low sugar content. Here is an easy shrimp ceviche recipe for you to try.
1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and with the veins removed
½ cup orange juice (preferably fresh-pressed at home)
2 lemons, juiced (or ¼ cup lemon juice)
3 limes, juiced (or ¼ cup lime juice)
1 cup diced jicama or peeled apple
¼ cup chopped red onion
4 plum tomatoes, diced with seeds removed
2 jalapeno peppers, diced with seeds removed
½ cup chopped cilantro (fresh)
1 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Add orange, lemon, and lime juice to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Cut up shrimp into ½ inch pieces. Add shrimp and ½ cup of the above juice to a medium glass bowl. Leave shrimp in marinade for 15 minutes.
- Add jicama or apple, onion, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro to the shrimp and marinade. Stir to combine and allow to rest for another 10 minutes.
- Add avocado and remaining juice to the above mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Come Up With Your Own High-Protein Bariatric Recipes
High-protein bariatric recipes are simple enough. You just want to find recipes that use low-fat protein sources and don’t use added sugars. Simply modify what you are accustomed to eating or search the internet for more recipe ideas after bariatric surgery.