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Navigating the Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet: What Can I Eat After Gastric Sleeve?

Before and After BMI

October 26, 2015

Navigating the Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet: What Can I Eat After Gastric Sleeve?

Your Comprehensive Guide to a Healthy Diet After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Healthy fruit shake

Welcome to your comprehensive guide on the post-bariatric surgery diet, specifically focusing on the diet after gastric sleeve surgery. As your nutritional guidepost, we will explore what you can eat after gastric sleeve and why this diet is of paramount importance. Gastric sleeve surgery, like any other bariatric surgery, is not an end in itself, but rather the beginning of a lifelong commitment to healthier eating habits. This transition is vital in ensuring successful weight loss and overall well-being post-surgery.

Understanding the Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet

A post-bariatric surgery diet is a nutritional plan designed to promote weight loss, aid in recovery, and prevent complications such as dumping syndrome. After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, your stomach is smaller, and as such, can only hold smaller amounts of food. This necessitates the need for a tailored diet after gastric sleeve surgery.

If you’re seriously considering the possibility of bariatric surgery, it’s important to know what a post-weight loss surgery diet looks like. Post-surgery you will be required to adopt a strict, specialized diet created specifically for your recovery before you eventually return to a more normalized diet.

Why change your diet after gastric sleeve surgery?

There are several reasons why a post-surgery diet is crucial to your recovery and to your weight loss success. Changing your diet will:

  • Allow your stomach to heal soon after surgery without being stretched from eating too much food.
  • Help you avoid unpleasant side effects or complications from your surgery.
  • Prevent you from becoming sick by requiring you to eat a few small meals throughout the day, composed of “safe” foods. You will also need to chew very slowly so food particles are easier to digest.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough nutrients as your body loses weight rapidly. You’ll also need to start taking vitamins every day to prevent malnutrition since your smaller stomach and shorter intestines won’t absorb nutrients the way they once did.
  • Give you every chance to lose weight and keep it off for good.

The Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet: A Stage by Stage Guide

The diet recommendations you receive from your weight loss surgeon may vary depending on the type of surgery you had and your personal situation. In general, this is what a post-weight loss surgery diet looks like.

Stage 1: Clear Liquid Diet

At first, you’ll only be allowed to drink clear liquids. This includes:

  • Broth
  • Flavored Waters
  • Decaffeinated tea or coffee
  • Sugar-free popsicles or gelatin

Stage 2: Full Liquid

After a week of being on a clear liquid diet, you can begin to drink protein shakes and thicker soups. Suggestions include:

  • Low carb Protein Shakes
  • Low carb  Protein Powder mixed with water
  • Sugar-Free Pudding
  • Cream of Chicken, Celery, or Mushroom Soup
  • Tomato Soup

Stage 3: Soft foods

With your doctor’s permission, you can switch to soft foods after a few weeks. Examples include:

  • Finely diced meats
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Very steamed vegetables
  • Deli meat
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Plain Greek Yogurt

Stage 4: Solid foods

About 4-5 weeks after your weight loss surgery, you can begin to gradually add firm foods back into your diet. Start slowly to see what foods your body can tolerate. Try foods from this list:

  • Protein: Skinless chicken, lean beef, lean pork, fish, eggs, beans and low-fat dairy
  • Low-carb fruits and vegetables

What NOT to Eat Post Bariatric Surgery

Even after you make it through all four stages, there are still some foods you may never want to eat again because they’re likely to cause nausea, pain or vomiting. While you’ll need to figure out for yourself what your body is sensitive to, we recommend avoiding the following after weight loss surgery:

  • High-Carb foods such as bread, cereal, rice, crackers, pastas
  • Starchy vegetables such as corn, peas, and potatoes
  • Spicy foods
  • Fried foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Sugary foods
  • Tough meats
  • Dense bread
  • Granola
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Dried fruits
  • Carbonated or sweetened drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Some Dairy products, as these may also cause sensitivity in some people

Over time and with the guidance of your doctor, you may be able to eat some of these foods again, but try them with caution.

Meal Planning: Eat Slowly, Chew, and Enjoy Small Meals

Meal planning plays a critical role in your bariatric diet after surgery. The primary goal is to ensure you consume balanced meals that provide all the necessary nutrients, without overfilling your stomach. Here are some guidelines to aid you:

Portion Control: Aim for small meals spread throughout the day. A smaller stomach means that overeating can cause discomfort and slow down your weight loss journey.

Eat Slowly and Chew Thoroughly: Take at least 30 minutes to eat each meal. This helps prevent overeating and aids in digestion.

Higher Protein, Low Calorie: Prioritize high protein foods, aiming for around 60-80 grams of protein daily. This aids in muscle recovery and keeps you feeling full for longer.

Limit Sugary Foods: Opt for sugar-free alternatives where possible to reduce your calorie intake.

Staying Hydrated: Fluid Intake After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Hydration is a critical component of the post-bariatric surgery diet. Staying hydrated aids digestion, helps maintain energy levels, and is essential for overall health. However, remember to avoid drinking fluids 30 minutes before and after meals to prevent your stomach from filling up too quickly. Suitable fluids include water, sugar-free drinks, and clear broths.

Nutritional Supplements: Supporting Your Post-Surgery Diet

Even with a balanced diet, bariatric surgery patients may require additional nutritional supplements to meet their daily nutrient requirements. Commonly recommended supplements include multivitamins, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. It is essential to have regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider for appropriate supplementation guidance.


A successful diet after gastric sleeve surgery requires careful planning, a balanced diet, and adequate hydration. This journey, while challenging, is ultimately rewarding, leading to sustained weight loss and improved health. As we always say, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite. Your body will thank you for it.

Remember, each person’s journey is unique, and so it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider or a dietitian to tailor your post-bariatric surgery diet to your specific needs.

If you want more personalized guidance about what to eat after weight loss surgery, please contact BMI of Texas. Getting a handle on your diet after weight loss surgery is an important part of becoming the new you!