What to Eat No Matter Where You Are in Your Journey
I developed these bariatric recipes to help you meet your protein needs, minimize unnecessary carbs and focus on healthy fats after weight loss surgery. Each surgery center has different guidelines for a long term diet after bariatric surgery — so it’s important to also consult your center to see what is right for you.
My goal in providing these recipes is to give you some simple ideas of what might work for you. I hope it will inspire you to create your own post-bariatric meal plan. An optimal bariatric meal plan should include foods you love, foods that nourish you, and foods that make you feel your best.
I also love simple recipes that can be made in large batches ahead of time. I also believe there is no need to spend hours in the kitchen to make healthy food. While developing these recipes, I tried to keep all of those factors in mind.
Post-Surgery Diet Stages
After surgery you will move through several stages of food textures. How quickly you progress between each phase will depend on how well you are tolerating your food and your doctor’s recommendations.
Generally, the phases are liquid, puree, soft, then regular. You can read more about each one in my Ultimate Guide to the Bariatric Diet.
To make meal planning easy, I organized the recipes on my site in two different ways. You can either click directly on the stage you are in to be taken to a page with stage-specific recipes. Or you can browse the bariatric recipes by “recipe type” below.
Each stage has slightly different characteristics. The pureed and soft stages are high in protein and low in carbohydrates to help you maintain your lean body mass after bariatric surgery, assist in optimizing weight loss, and preventing protein malnutrition.
As you progress towards a regular diet the focus is still high protein, but I begin to reintroduce high fiber carbohydrates like beets and quinoa.
I also wanted these recipes to be flexible, so they could accompany you along your entire journey. Most of these bariatric recipes can be altered to each diet stage to meet your texture requirements.
Remember these are just ideas for what could work when you are transitioning through the different phases. I hope you find something you love!
The characteristics of the pureed diet after bariatric surgery are:
- Smooth texture
- High Protein
- Low carb
- Healthy Fats
When it comes to puree, it’s important for the consistency to be smooth without any lumps. Remember at this point your stomach is still healing, so digestion is challenging. You don’t want your stomach to do too much work during this time.
Protein is of utmost importance because your body is healing from surgery, although of course, it is always important no matter where you are on your journey.
Aim to include high protein food items in your bariatric pureed meal plan, such as chicken, eggs, or cottage cheese. Blended soups and protein shakes are a great option during this time.
To learn more about the pureed diet and foods to avoid and include, click here.
For all of my pureed diet recipes, click here.
The characteristics of the soft diet after bariatric surgery are:
- High Protein
- Cooked vegetables
- Low carb
- Healthy Fats
The goal in the soft stage is to continue to include high protein food items, while allowing for a greater variety of foods with a soft texture.
At this phase, the texture no longer needs to be blended. This means you can eat a wider variety of foods, like cooked vegetables. This expands your options when creating a soft diet bariatric meal plan.
You will still need to limit carbs, like breads, pasta, and rice. These foods are easy to overeat and don’t provide much nutrition. The soft phase also excludes fresh fruits and vegetables. While these foods are nutritious, your healing stomach can’t handle too much fiber just yet.
To learn more about the soft diet and foods to avoid and include, click here.
For all the soft diet recipes, click here.
At some point after surgery, you will be able to eat a fairly regular diet. “Regular” refers to the texture of your diet, you can start adding back different textures. There may be some foods you cannot tolerate, this will depend on the individual.
You will still need to eat a diet that is:
- High Protein
- Includes raw & cooked vegetables
- Focused on low glycemic index carbs
- Healthy Fats
Once the regular food stage is reached most foods can be included. This means that fresh fruits and veggies can be reintroduced. Low glycemic carbs may also be added as long as you are meeting your protein needs comfortably. Protein will always be a priority!
When making a bariatric meal plan for your regular diet, any of the below recipes are a possibility for you. Of course, you will always have to tailor your menu plan to your own preferences, needs, and intolerances.
Check out this article for more information about the regular diet after bariatric surgery.
For regular diet recipes, click here.
Typically there is no difference between gastric sleeve recipes and gastric bypass recipes. Those that have had bypass surgery may experience more dumping so they need to be extra cautious of added sugars.
But, no matter what type of surgery you had, sugar shouldn’t be a significant part of your diet. This is why all the recipes can work for either type of surgery.
To fully understand the bariatric surgery diet please click here.
Bariatric Recipe List
This is a collection of my favorite post-surgery recipes to help make your bariatric meal planning easy.
Breakfast is a great way to sneak in some protein with eggs, protein powder, tofu, or cottage cheese. Many of us are pressed for time in the morning, so I created a few make-ahead breakfasts that can be prepared ahead of time, making a nutritious breakfast a snap.
Soups are a great way to get a ton of protein and nutritious veggies, but that can also work for any stage. They can also be made ahead and frozen, so you are never left wondering what to eat.
Sometimes you are preparing food for just yourself and I wanted to be sure to include some single serving option. You can use these recipes for a quick one-person meal.
Healthy eating that supports your goals after bariatric surgery doesn’t have to be complicated or require a ton of kitchen time. My bariatric main dishes were developed to be simple, high in protein, and low in carbohydrates. When possible, I also made them freezer-friendly.
- Apple Baked Stuffed Pork Chops
- Low Carb Jerk Chicken Bowl
- Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken
- Savory Mini Apple Turkey Burgers
- Creamy Chicken Vegetable Fettuccine
- Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- Avocado Beef Stir Fry
- Korean Turkey Bowl
- Mini Ricotta Bake Muffins
- Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie Bowl
- Low Carb Burrito Bowls
- Easy Fish Tacos
- High Protein Egg Salad
- Rotisserie Chicken Meal Prep Meal
Even though you need to limit your sugar intake after surgery, sometimes we need a little sweet treat. So why not make your snacks and desserts high in protein or packed with nutrition as well?
Although traditional lettuce-based salads are difficult to enjoy while on a puree or soft diet, you still can have a “salad” when you think outside the box.
High protein drinks are a great way to get in your nutrition, but it’s important to also keep the sugar intake low. I created some drink recipes to help you get creative with different flavors.