Life After Gastric Bypass: Meal Ideas for a Successful Recovery
After gastric bypass surgery, it is important to eat carefully — starting by consuming liquids, then moving to pureed foods, and in time adding soft foods then hard foods. It’s critical to take the time to move through each stage correctly so that you don’t harm yourself or damage your stomach. There will also be specific ways of eating that you’ll need to adjust to, and these will generally be followed for a lifetime.
Liquids After Gastric Bypass Surgery
For the first day or two after gastric bypass surgery, you can expect to consume clear liquids only. Once you tolerate those well, you can move to other liquids such as:
- tea or coffee
- strained cream soups
After a few days of consuming liquids, you can start to try pureed foods. These can include items that are going to blend and puree well, like:
- lean ground meats
- cottage cheese
- cooked vegetables
- soft fruits
Blend these with water, juice, broth, or skim milk.
What Kinds of Soft Foods Can You Have?
You’ll need to have pureed foods for a few weeks before you can move on to soft foods. Once you get your doctor’s okay, you’ll be able to try:
- meats that are finely diced or ground
- cooked vegetables that don’t have their skin
- canned or fresh fruit that’s soft and that doesn’t have seeds or skin
When Can You Add Hard Foods to Your Diet?
You’ll need to stick to your soft food diet for a while, but around eight weeks after gastric bypass surgery you’ll be able to start eating foods that are firmer. They’ll still need to be diced or chopped finely, though, instead of just consumed whole and chewed up.
Crunchy foods and foods that are spicy may not ever be tolerable; careful experimentation to see what works may be necessary. Some foods you will still need to avoid include:
- seeds and nuts
- dried fruits
- carbonated beverages
- fried foods
- tough meats
- stringy vegetables
When you’re three to four months past surgery, you can resume a normal, healthy diet. There may still be some foods that bother your stomach, though, and that you’ll have to continue to avoid.
Some Tips to Remember
Avoiding high fat and high sugar foods, keeping meals small, and paying attention to when you’re hungry or full are all important. You should also:
- make sure that you chew your food very thoroughly
- focus on drinking enough to prevent dehydration, but try to drink between meals — not with meals — for best results
- focus on foods that are high in protein
- choose to introduce new foods one at a time, in case they bother your stomach or cause nausea
Overall, it’s possible to have a very enjoyable, varied diet after gastric bypass surgery and throughout your recovery period. By taking the time to ensure you recover fully, you’ll have a better chance of enjoying foods you love while still maintaining a healthy diet and weight.