It can feel overwhelming when you are recently post op and you are trying to balance your meals and get in the right amounts of food and the correct macronutrients.
What are you supposed to be eating and how much?
I like to call this the stage of “mini-meals”. We are eating regular food but the portions are smaller. You need to be eating the correct balance of food in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
If you are a few months post surgery and you are eating one-third to one cup of food at your mealtime, you are right on track. Of course, if you are eating slider foods such as mashed potatoes or creamy soups, you will be able to eat a larger portion. This is not a stage where you should just eat whatever you want. You need to give your body what it needs and you have only a small space to do this so please be mindful of your choices.
Let’s be the masters of our meal-time.
It is so important to ensure that you are getting sufficient protein after your weight loss surgery. Protein is required to maintain your muscle mass and to help your body heal and repair. I want you to choose the protein first. You can choose from eggs, fish, chicken, beef, organ meat, seafood, etc. If you are trying to stay more “plant-based” choose protein-rich sources such as beans and lentils.
Let’s talk Veg and Fruit
It may be hard to fit in large quantities of vegetables post weight loss surgery but please do try to make an effort to fit some in. You can add some cucumbers to your hummus for a mid-day snack or you can throw some spinach into your smoothie or cook up some mushrooms with your eggs. Make an effort please. If you eat more vegetables, you will increase your fibre and it will make it easier for bathroom visits. When choosing fruits, stick to the ones which are low in sugar and high in fibre such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
How Much of Each?
It’s important to be eating sufficient quantities of each macronutrient. Let’s aim for half of our meal to consist of our protein source and the other half can be vegetables. If you would like to add a small serving of healthy fat, that would help you better absorb the other nutrients. Carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, pasta are not recommended while you are actively losing weight.
You will find that when you are getting close to the 6-month mark after your bariatric surgery, you will be able to fit more food into your pouch. This doesn’t mean that you should aim for larger portions. Try to stay focused and if you are wanting to eat a larger portion, add more vegetables to your plate.
When you reach your goal weight, we can discuss maintenance and adding back some other foods to your diet. For now, stick to the plan and you will be at your goal before you know it.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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