Eating after surgery

An important part of bariatric surgery is committing to lifelong healthy eating habits and behaviors. Your healthcare team and dietitian will work with you to develop a post-surgery nutrition plan that’s right for you. It’s important to follow their recommendations to support weight loss and healing after surgery.

Bariatric surgery changes the way food passes through your body, limiting how much and what foods you can eat. A new way of eating may seem overwhelming at first. But the key is to focus on balanced meals that give your body the nutrients it needs to function well and feel your best.  

Immediately following bariatric surgery, there are stages of eating to help your body adjust and tolerate foods. You may start with a liquid diet and progress to pureed or soft food and eventually to more solid foods. Eating a balanced and healthy diet will continue to be a lifelong commitment. 

Here are some general lifelong healthy eating habits to expect after surgery: 

  • Planned meals. Eat small balanced meals, with limited snacking in between. 
  • Smaller portions. Control the amount of food you eat in one sitting. Recording your food and fluid intake can help you stay on track.
  • Protein first. Focus on protein-rich foods with every meal and snack. Lean meats, low-fat dairy, beans, and other plant protein sources can help you feel full longer. 
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water and other no-calorie fluids throughout the day, separate from meals. 
  • Take supplements daily. Additional supplements may be required after bariatric surgery to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. 
  • Eat slower. Take small bites and chew your food thoroughly to give your body time to digest. After you finish eating that portion of food, reassess whether you’re still hungry. 
  • Avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods. Foods high in fat and sugar may have a lot of calories but few nutrients. Instead, choose lean foods that are low in saturated fats and sugars.

To learn more about how eating may change for you after surgery, you may want to speak with a bariatric surgeon. Click here for a list of bariatric surgeons in your area.