Eating Stages for the First Few Months after Weight Loss Surgery

Part of the Weight Loss Surgery Cookbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The stages of a bariatric diet in the first months after weight loss surgery may vary, depending on your surgeon, and the length of time you follow each food stage also varies, depending on the type of weight loss surgery you had. Here's a general, four-stage plan for healing and weight loss success, but be sure to follow your surgeon and dietitian's instructions.

Stage 1: Clear liquids

Basically, clear liquids are just that: liquids you can see through. Water probably comes to mind, but several other liquids qualify as well:

  • Pulp-free juices that have been diluted 50/50 with water (orange juice and tomato juice are not considered clear liquid)

  • Clear beef, chicken, or vegetable broth (look for high-protein broths)

  • Clear, sugar-free gelatin

  • Sugar-free ice pops

  • Decaf coffee and tea

  • Sugar-free, noncarbonated fruit drinks

  • Flavored sugar-free, noncarbonated waters

  • Clear liquid supplements

Stage 2: Full liquids

Full liquids are liquid or semi-liquid at room temperature, pourable, and you can't see through them. You may begin these as soon as the second day after surgery if you're tolerating clear liquids.

Full liquids include all liquids on the clear liquid phase and the following foods:

  • Low-fat strained or puréed soups

  • Cooked wheat or rice cereals that have been thinned and are a soupy consistency

  • All juices (remember to dilute fruit juice 50/50 with water)

  • Skim or 1 percent milk; plain, low-fat soy milk; or buttermilk (or lactose-free milk if you're lactose intolerant)

  • Sugar-free custards or puddings

  • Sugar-free hot chocolate

  • Protein shakes with at least 10 grams of protein per 100 calories, less than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories, and less than 12 grams of carbohydrate per serving

  • No-sugar-added or light yogurt (no fruit on the bottom)

Stage 3: Smooth foods

Smooth foods (more commonly known as puréed foods) are foods that have been put through the food processor to smooth them out. You may follow this phase for up to four weeks depending on your surgeon's recommendations.

Smooth foods include:

  • Blended low-fat cottage cheese (great source of protein!)

  • Blended scrambled eggs

  • Mashed potatoes made with skim milk

  • Silken tofu

  • Sugar-free applesauce

  • Blended meats

  • Part-skim ricotta cheese

Stage 4: Soft Foods

In stage 4 you'll find it a little easier to get your protein requirements without using supplements. Your diet can include the following soft foods:

  • Finely ground tuna

  • Soft, tender, moist proteins like chicken salad (no onions or celery), turkey, veal, pork, beef, shrimp, scallops, and white fish that have been minced or ground in the food processor

  • Soft, cooked vegetables

  • Canned fruit packed in its own juice or water

  • Eggs

  • Low-fat soft cheese

  • Low-fat cottage cheese

  • Beans

  • Crackers

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