If you read our post on what to expect diet-wise after bariatric surgery, you’ll know that immediately following surgery, you will be on phase 1: protein shakes for two (2) weeks.  To start, we want to explain why is protein so important.  Protein is beneficial for healing (really important after surgery) and it’s critical for cell repair and satiety (also really important!).  If you aren’t getting enough protein, it can make healing harder and longer, but it can also make you feel weak.

post bariatric surgery diet

Many of our clients ask how to keep things interesting…keep reading for our tips on maximizing protein shakes after bariatric surgery.

  1. Decide if you are going to make your own or purchase pre-made shakes.
    • For some people, the ease of pre-made shakes cannot be beat.  But for others, being able to customize their drinks is key. Do what will work for you.
  2. If you are making your own shakes, purchase multiple protein powders.
    • You might remember this post about our favorite protein powders?  Stock up!
    • The more variety you have, the better. Two weeks of vanilla shakes will be boring.
  3. Break out your blender.
    • The more mixed your shakes are, the better they will taste.
    • If you like yours extra frothy, add some ice and blend very well.
    • If you don’t have a blender, consider purchasing a blender bottle.
      • This will help to blend and incorporate the liquid and powder.
  4. If you are purchasing pre-made shakes, buy multiple flavors.
    • It’s hard to know what will appeal to you after surgery, and you want to be prepared.
  5. Drink the shakes cold.
    • In our experience, cold protein drinks always better.
    • Refrigerate or add ice to keep them chilled.
  6. Be sure you are staying hydrated between shakes.
    • Dehydration is never a good thing.  Be sure you are drinking throughout the day to meet your water goals.
    • The hydration you get from the protein shakes should not be your only liquid intake.  Water, water, water!
  7. Take it slow.
    • Try not to gulp down your shake, eating slowly will be important from now on
  8. Use almond milk.
    • Unsweetened almond milk (a few options here and here) is a great alternative to water.
    • Almond milk is creamy and imparts a very slight almond taste.
    • Many varieties are offered in unsweetened plain or unsweetened vanilla.

What’s your favorite way to drink protein shakes? We’d love to hear from you! Share in the comments below…

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, or if you’ve just had surgery, you might be curious about what your diet will look like in the weeks immediately following the procedure.  It’s important to understand that you will not be able to return to your “normal” eating habits right after surgery.  Following the modified post bariatric surgery diet will help your body to heal and recover, and will also keep you feeling full and satisfied.  Remember: with any of the phases (and after this initial six week period), it’s important to stay hydrated! Water is key – but you must drink between meals – we do not recommend eating and drinking at the same time.  You’ll need to pay extra attention to your hunger and thirst cues!

Keep reading for our post bariatric surgery diet.

imgres

At Weight Zen, we follow a very clear six (6) week modified post surgical diet.

  • Phase 1: Two (2) weeks following surgery, you will be on protein shakes.
    • This is exactly what it sounds like – protein, protein, protein.
  • Phase 2: Two (2) weeks after protein shakes, you will be on pureed food.
    • In these two weeks, you can eat almost anything you want – so long as it’s pureed.
    • You’ll want to consider which foods blend best, and what will be most palatable for you.
  • Phase 3: Two (2) weeks after pureed food, you will be on soft food.
    • This phase is all about texture.
    • Think about the foods you love that are already soft, and you’ll get through these two weeks easily.

Keep us posted on how you’re doing! Remember – as always, we are here to help!

healthy eating after bariatric surgery

We’re back today with a roundup of our favorite healthy bariatric snacks…sweet snacks!  It can be tough to find foods that work for you post-surgery, but we want you to think about all the foods you can eat instead of what you cannot.

Blue Diamond 100 Calorie Almonds (plain, dry roasted, vanilla, chocolate)

imgres-12

  • Sweet, crunchy, satisfying and delicious? Sign us up! These portion-controlled almonds are perfect to throw into your handbag or lunch bag, don’t need refrigeration and are the perfect boost of protein and fiber.
  • Having easily accessible snacks for on-the-go hunger is so important.  You never want to get so hungry that you will eat the first thing you find. Planning ahead is key, and find shelf-stable snacks are great.
  • Sample them all and find the flavor you love best!

RAP Protein Gummies (cherry, strawberry, citrus, mixed berry)

imgres-2

  • If you’re looking for a delicious way to get more protein into your diet (sweetly!) look no further.  These gummies are tasty and are packed with good-for-you protein that’s super important after surgery. 
  • Be sure to chew each very well.
  • We have each of the flavors in the office for you to try!

Bariatric Fusion Gummies

imgres-3

  • These sugar free soft chews are perfect for getting in your very important vitamins and minerals, and still enjoying something sweet!
  • Just like the protein gummies, be sure to chew them very well.

Now that we’ve shared a few of our favorite sweet snacks, let’s talk about how to transport them!

Fit & Fresh Smart Portion Chill Containers

keeping food cold on the go

  • These containers come with a removable cold pack to keep cold food cold.  Food safety is important as ever, so be sure you are paying attention to how long foods that need refrigeration are out of the fridge.
  • Perfect for transporting your breakfast Greek yogurt! 
  • The colorful tops help you to keep different foods in each container for easy planning.
    • veggies in green
    • protein in orange
    • fruits in pink
  • These have pre-marked measures for easy portion control.
    • It’s always best to measure your foods, and this takes the guess work out of it

We’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite snacks? And your favorite snack holders? Let us know in the comments below!

Greek yogurt has gotten more and and more popular over the past decade, and for good reason! It’s thick and creamy, loaded with protein and good bacteria, available in plain and flavored varieties and it’s delicious!

Greek yogurt is perfect for bariatric surgery patients.  As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, following surgery, it’s very important for bariatric patients to consume enough protein.  Greek yogurt is a perfect post surgical food! Why?  Keep reading to find out…

can bariatric patients eat greek yogurt

  1. High in protein
    • You don’t have to eat a huge amount to reap the benefits of this nutrition superpower – a little goes a long way
  2. Low in sugar
    • Greek yogurt is strained, meaning some of the lactose (the sugar found is milk) has been removed
    • Following a lifelong low sugar diet will be important for bariatric patients
  3. Contains good-for-you bacteria
    • The live cultures in yogurt are great for digestion
  4. Easy to swallow
    • Greek yogurt is a naturally soft food
    • Good for bariatric patients on the pureed or soft food stages of the post-surgical diet
  5. Tasty
    • We can’t forget taste
    • Greek yogurt has a delicious rich taste and texture
  6. Versatile
    • Greek yogurt is perfect substitute for sour cream or mayonaise in your favorite dishes
      • Think: egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad
  7. Eat it plain or flavored
    • We love the plain varieties because they are often lowest in sugar
    • You can flavor your own yogurt by adding a sugar-free sweetener or fresh fruit (berries are our go to)
  8. Low fat or Fat Free
    • Most companies offer low fat and fat free versions (as well as full fat, but those should be avoided)
    • Low fat is often labeled “2%”
  9. So many options
    • Chobani
    • Siggi’s
    • Fage
    • Oikos
    • Elli Quark (technically considered a cheese)
    • Yoplait Greek
    • Activia Greek
    • Store brands (ShopRite, Fairway, etc)

When you’re shopping for Greek yogurt, pay attention to nutrition labels. Read how much protein and sugar is in one serving.  Shop the sales! You’ll be able to try a few different brands and see which ones you like best.  Variety is the spice of life!

Let us know your favorite way to enjoy Greek yogurt. We love hearing from you!

At Weight Zen, we want to be sure all of our patients are properly equipped with the knowledge they need to success both before and after surgery. But sometimes we all need a reminder about proper post-surgical eating habits.  Today, I’m going to answer the question “What Do I Eat After Lap Band Surgery?”

With any surgery, it’s important to speak to your personal doctor about what’s best for you.  Individualized care is very important. But, this plan has worked well for many of our patients and we want to share the knowledge with you.  After all, being well informed is a great tool for success.

What’s the diet progression?  Right after surgery you will eat in the following pattern:

  • protein based liquids (2 weeks duration)
    • store bought protein shakes or homemade protein shakes using water or unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk
  • pureed foods (2 weeks duration)
    • most foods are fine, just be sure they can be pureed in a blender or a food processor – black beans, apple sauce, potatoes, etc
  • soft foods (2 weeks duration)
    • scrambled eggs, tofu, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc
  • modified regular diet 

Did you know?

  • Before surgery, the average stomach can hold up to 48 oz
  • After surgery, the average banded stomach will be able to hold just 1 oz (about the size of an egg) but over time, the pouch may stretch to 4-6 oz
  • Avoiding sugar sweetened beverages is key to keeping unnecessary calories at bay, plus the calories in drinks won’t satisfy you and can cause stomach discomfort
    • water is best, but there are plenty of sugar free options available such as Crystal Light, Propel, Vitamin Water Zero
  • You should avoid eating and drinking at the same time
    • this is because we want your stomach to be filled with food and if you drink liquids while you’re eating, the food may get pushed down, leaving you hungry soon after)
  • Hydration is very important
    • because you won’t be eating and drinking at the same time, it’s important to pay attention to what you’re drinking between meals – aim for 64 oz of water or other sugar free liquids

It’s important to slowly bring your body back to “normal” eating to allow your stomach to heal following surgery.  While the Lap Band procedure is minimally invasive, it’s still a surgical procedure that you need to heal from.  Rushing your healing process could lead to complications or prolong the recovery time, so take your time and enjoy the process! This is just the beginning.

We love hearing from you! Ask us any questions you may have – in the comment section or over the phone at (212) 203-2146.

 

We are big fans of protein powder at WeightZen, especially protein powder for bariatric patients.  Following surgery, we encourage a gradual diet progression from liquids to purees to soft foods.  It’s very important that patients are able to add protein to (almost) all the foods they eat, even if that food does not naturally contain protein.  Yet, for a lot of post-surgical patients, in the weeks immediately following surgery, it’s hard to get enough protein onto their plates and into their glasses.  So, how do we help?

1. Set yourself up for success

  • In the weeks before surgery, taste test and purchase protein powders that you like!  It’s wasteful to purchase a huge tub of protein powder only to find that you don’t care for it.

2. Try to find both plain/flavorless and flavored protein powders

  • We like vanilla and chocolate the best, but experiment, there are so many options available!

3. Be mindful of which you are adding to what foods

  • Vanilla protein powder mixed with pureed black beans? No thank you!

4. Eat and drink your protein

  • Right after surgery, it can be daunting to try and drink or eat your entire day’s worth of protein, so split it up and do both.

5. Get creative

  • Mixing protein powder into foods you couldn’t normally add protein to can seem strange.  But, adding a little powder to unsweetened applesauce shouldn’t change the flavor profile too much and helps you meet your protein needs.

6. Read labels

  • It’s important to understand what’s in the protein powder you’re using.  Read the nutrition label to determine the serving size, calories, grams of protein as well as any added sugar.  Limit the added to sugar to no more than 7 grams per serving.

Now that you know how to use protein powder, what about which to buy? Here’s a roundup of our top picks!

Aria Protein For Women (in chocolate and vanilla, and yes – men can eat this too!)

aria protein for women

Designer Whey Fit and Trim (in chocolate and vanilla)

protein powder for bariatric surgery

GNC Naturally Unflavored 100% Whey Protein

protein powder for bariatric patients

We’d love to hear from you! Tell us what proteins you enjoy using and how you use them!

Wishing you good health,
Megan.

Bariatric peeps, we know you love your pasta, and we want you to love your life and not give up your fave foods now that you’ve had bariatric surgery. Remember at Weight Zen we don’t believe in diets, we believe in eating – do’s so you can think of all the post-surgery food options available to you.

WHITE = WAIT
First, why you love pasta? Pasta is broken down quickly in your body, which means it spikes your blood sugar giving you a mental high right after you eat it. Think of it as a food that makes your brain laugh. The problem is that after the high, comes a low. Blood sugar spikes, then crashes. Your brain gets that high, and to avoid the crash, you do what? You eat more pasta. Pasta impacts your blood sugar because it is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are turned into sugar in our body. In fact if you thought of white spaghetti like a bowl full of sugar strands, our guess is you wouldn’t eat so much of it so fast!

Why Brown Turns that Frown Upside Down
OK So WHY are nutritionists and doctors always saying to eat whole wheat pasta? There is fiber in whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat, means the whole entire part of the grain is used, it’s not stripped and processed. White bread, is stripped and processed, which is why it is white. There is “WHITE” whole wheat on the market, but it’s really just fiber enhanced white pasta. Listen, if you like your pasta white, try it. At Weight Zen we’re fiber fans, because the more roughage the more time take it takes to digest. Plus, fiber helps fill your tummy so you feel fuller longer.

PASTA DO’s

1. WHOLE WHEAT – c’mon you know it’s good for you. It stays in your stomach longer(this helps you feel fuller longer), it stabilizes your blood sugar, and helps you “go” more smoothly. Not potty humor jokes at Weight Zen.

2. BEAN BASED PASTA – They are rich in PROTEIN and FIBER. Double hello, thank you very much our lovely bariatric nutrition Megan swears by them. We asked her if they tasted funny and she said “They don’t, but their texture is a little bit different. They are a little chewier than regular pasta.” What do we LIKE about chewing longer? After surgery your stomach is smaller, which means you have reduced absorptive capacity. Chewing more helps your body starts the digestion process IN YOUR MOUTH, and that has been scientifically proven to help your body absorb more nutrients. We want you to have a nutrient, vitamin rich life!

3. BROWN RICE PASTA – First the taste: tastes like brown rice. No fix for that, but you can try our brown rice/white rice mix trick. If you aren’t super accustomed to the flavor, rather than even bothering to make the leap mix the brown rice pasta with regular white pasta. There is nothing wrong in the world with baby stepping your tastebuds to a healthier future. Benefits of brown rice pasta is again it helps regulate spikes in blood sugar, and it’s GREAT for people with gluten issues.

4. QUINOA – Let’s teach the world how to say the word. It’s pronounced keen-wa. Now you can sound fancy when you cook or order it. No one can spell quinoa without spellcheck, but it’s just as easy to cook as regular pasta. There’s no processing issues with quinoa, even though there are different colors, all quinoa is packing a major nutritious punch. Like sushi, it’s an acquired taste. For you sweet tooth lovers, here’s an interesting fact, this pasta-like goodness you can prepare either sweet or savory. To sweeten it up you can use some cinnamon and honey. To keep it savory use regular pasta sauce.

Finally, if you are totally saying to us, but WAIT white pasta is my favorite food ever, we don’t want you to give it up. Really. Just eat it with protein, load up on veggies, and Keep that white pasta portion small. Petite jeans on the way!