Stage 4 of Your Post Bariatric Surgery Diet: Soft Foods

By Brian K. Davidson, Sarah Krieger

Soft foods — finally! (Some surgeons consider this part of the puréed phase of your diet after your weight loss surgery, so be sure to check your personal instructions.) By now you’re probably feeling and looking pretty good but are a little tired of the liquids and smooth foods and ready to kick things up a bit.

Be patient. This fourth stage may last two to three weeks, but remember, the slow progression your surgeon has prescribed is for the best. The last thing you want to do is get a piece of food stuck.

If you’re bored with your diet, look at what you’re eating. Is it the same thing over and over? Get creative! Try some new recipes. You can make each stage more interesting and satisfying by using a little creativity.

What you can eat

This is a good time to begin to think about how to meet your nutritional needs without the use of supplements. As you eat, ask yourself “Is this a healthy food for me that will help me reach my health goals?” A well-balanced diet can provide all the vitamins and minerals you need. This means lean protein, lowfat or fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and small amounts of healthy fats. Variety is key! Keep healthy foods handy and get unhealthy foods out of the house.

In this stage you’ll find it a little easier to get your protein requirements without using supplements. You can add in the following soft foods, some of which are high in protein:

  • Finely ground or minced tuna, shrimp, scallops, and whitefish
  • Finely ground or minced chicken, turkey, veal, pork, and beef
  • Eggs
  • Lowfat soft cheese
  • Lowfat cottage cheese
  • Beans
  • Soft cooked vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in its own juice or water
  • Whole-grain crackers

Some foods may still irritate your pouch and cause you discomfort. Following are some foods you still need to avoid:

  • Dry, tough, grisly meats
  • Raw vegetables
  • Fresh fruit with skins and seeds
  • Doughy breads
  • Rice and pasta
  • Coconut
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Greasy, high-fat foods
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • High-sugar foods

Soft foods tips

When your surgeon tells you you’re finally able to eat foods with some texture again, you will probably be very excited. Don’t go overboard just yet. Keep meals to about 5 ounces and add new foods and textures slowly to give your pouch time to adjust.

Following are some tips for a smooth transition:

  • Eat protein foods first. Hunger is normal, and protein will help you feel more satisfied.
  • Don’t drink beverages with meals, and wait 30 minutes after your meal to begin again.
  • Continue to drink 48 to 64 ounces of fluid a day in addition to your meals.
  • Take small (pencil eraser size) bites and chew, chew, chew.
  • Eat slowly. Take 20 to 30 minutes to complete a meal.
  • Introduce one new food at a time and don’t try more than one new food every couple of days.
  • Continue to keep your food diary, including notes of any unusual symptoms that may indicate you are not tolerating a food.
  • Use small plates and utensils to help control portions.
  • Use fat-free gravy, light mayo, and broth to moisten food.

Sample menu for a soft-food diet

With fewer restrictions, you’ll probably really like this stage! Use this sample menu as a guide to help you eat well. You can add low-carb protein supplements as needed to meet your protein goals.

  • Breakfast
    • 1/2 banana
    • One scrambled egg
  • Lunch
    • Ground beef patty with fat-free gravy
    • Soft-cooked broccoli
    • Fruit cocktail in its own juice
  • Snack
    • Plain fat-free yogurt with artificial sweetener or low-carb protein supplement (if needed to meet protein needs)
  • Dinner
    • Chicken and vegetable soup
    • Whole-grain crackers
    • Pears canned in water
  • Snack
    • Sugar-free pudding or low-carb protein supplement (if needed to meet protein needs)