Pureed Food Ideas After Bariatric Surgery: What to Eat + 10 Easy Recipes
Bariatric surgery is a great resource for people who need to lose weight for medical reasons, and include a wide range of procedures from gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band, and biliopancreatic diversion.
Any of these procedures fall under the umbrella of bariatric surgery, and they all require a special diet that patients need to follow for weeks to months in the future. This ensures that any surgical implantations do not get irritated and that the patient continues to lose weight until they are at their optimal, healthy weight.
Oftentimes, doctors will suggest a mostly pureed or liquid diet for bariatric patients. This allows the patients’ new system to gradually get used to eating more solid foods and “learn” how to digest the fibers in the food before eating them whole again. Attempting to eat whole foods, without mashing or pureeing them first, can cause them to literally get stuck in the patient’s system, causing vomiting and irritation of the surgical devices.
Below are some foods that can be easily pureed. I have included examples for each food group to ensure a balanced diet. Feel free to mix and match, as long as all foods are thoroughly pureed. Enjoy!
Looking for pureed food recipes after bariatric surgery? Click here to jump right to that section!
- Protein Sources
- Grain Sources
- Fruits and Veggies!
- Don’t Forget the Liquids
- Foods and Drinks to Avoid
- Pureeing Tips
- Diet Tips
- Adapting Recipes After Weight Loss Surgery
- Puree Recipes after Bariatric Surgery
- Summary and Final Recommendations
Protein is one of the most important food groups for anyone, but especially bariatric patients. Proteins fill you up faster than almost any other food group, and aid in the construction of new muscle fiber, which is especially important after any major surgery.
While you can’t really dig into a big steak dinner right after a surgery, or even thoroughly puree a piece of steak to a consistency that would be easily digestible for a bariatric patient, there are plenty of other protein sources that most people often forget about. For bariatric patients, protein sources that are naturally soft, and even softer when pureed, are ideal. Here are a few:
- Yogurt (sugar free and low/nonfat is best)
- Skim milk
- Scrambled eggs
- Baby food meats
- Cream soups (cream of chicken is packed with protein!)
- Ricotta cheese
- Mashed Cottage Cheese
- White fish (mashed or pureed)
- Canned Tuna (mashed or pureed)
- Protein powder or supplements added to any mixture
Grains are also extremely important because they give your body the energy it needs to heal. They’re also usually extremely easy to puree and add to any meal for added density and nutrients. However, you shouldn’t be eating white bread for every meal and considering that your grain intake. Below are some healthy sources of grain that give you fiber as well to help your new digestive system easily operate.
- Cream of wheat
- Cream of rice
- Mashed potatoes
- Pureed squash
Fruits and Veggies!
You’ve been told your whole life to eat your fruits and veggies, but it might be more important now than ever to get those food groups into your diet. Fruits and vegetables provide essential minerals and nutrients to help your body heal naturally, while giving you added energy boosts and other essential nutritional functions. It’s a great idea to start incorporating these into your diet as soon as possible so that it’s easier for you to keep a healthy diet once you’re back to solid foods. You’ll still need soft, or easily puree-able, fruits and vegetables though, so here are a few ideas:
- 100% natural fruit juices (no added sugar is ideal)
- Pureed fruit blends (baby food works)
- Mashed banana
- V8 juice, or the like
- Tomato juice
- Pureed squash, spinach or carrots
Don’t Forget the Liquids
When you’re on an all-puree diet, it can be easy to forget that you still need your regular intake of liquids (namely, water)! Keeping your hydration levels up is imperative to healthy and speedy recovery, so remember to drink plenty of water, but remember that you can get water from other sources as well, such as tea, broth, sugar-free juices, and even decaffeinated coffee if you’re craving that taste.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid
There are definitely foods that you need to avoid in this stage after your surgery as well. Any drinks or foods sweetened with sugar should be out of your diet entirely, along with alcoholic, caffeinated, or carbonated beverages. Foods with saturated fats, like butter and margarine, should also be avoided, along with raw, stringy vegetables like celery. Your system can’t digest these quite yet, but in the future, try incorporating these veggies back into your diet!
Basically, to eat any of the foods outlined above short of the liquids, they should be processed once more in a pureeing device before consuming to ensure that there aren’t any leftover solid bits that you won’t be able to digest. All solid food should be cut into small pieces and then blended with any of the liquids mentioned above. Puree until smooth, and feel free to add seasoning or spices to add a little variety to your new diet.
Overall, make sure to incorporate high protein foods into your diet first, as these help repair any damage to your system. Women should aim for 50-60 grams of protein per day, while men should aim for 60-70 grams. Also make sure to drink plenty of fluid, around 50-70 ounces per day, to flush any toxins out of your system and keep your digestive system flowing properly.
An easy way to stick to this new diet is to schedule your mealtimes. This helps you make eating a habitual routine, rather than just eating what you want when you want. After a few weeks, this will become second nature. Try to eat every 4 hours, and avoid going more than 5 hours without eating anything. Stop eating when you feel full, and make sure your portion sizing is appropriate.
So you’ve finally undergone bariatric surgery and finished the liquid diet phase after the procedure; now, you need healthy and nutritious foods to help you recover and regain your strength. At first, eating only yogurt, fruit purees, and sugar-free Jell-O is delicious, but after a few days, you discover that you want to eat something more substantial.
Don’t despair! Even if you can only eat pureed foods for some time, it is still possible –and easy- to create recipes that provide you with a balanced diet and won’t bore you during your recovery process.
Adapting Recipes After Weight Loss Surgery
Pureed foods will allow you to start adapting to denser foods again after completing the liquid diet phase. However, you must always remember that each person has different preferences and tolerances after bariatric surgery; that’s why it’s so helpful to be able to customize your own recipes to make sure they fit your taste and nutritional requirements.
Keep in mind that you can add protein powder to these recipes to make sure you are maintaining the necessary protein intake, and that you should always consult with your doctor or dietitian before adding new ingredients into your diet after bariatric surgery.
Puree Recipes after Bariatric Surgery
Here are some pureed food recipes you can try after your bariatric surgery procedure:
1. Chicken Puree
This is one of my favorite pureed chicken recipes. But, hey, I love anything Italian!
You will be pleasantly surprised by the flavor and texture of this pureed protein dish. Especially, when you realize there are only three ingredients: chicken, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning (plus a little salt and pepper). That’s it. Throw them in a food processor or blender and then heat it up a little.
The texture is like a tuna salad or chicken salad. Some pureed proteins have an off-putting mouth feel – but not this one.
2. Black Bean and Red Pepper Puree
I usually just call this recipe “Black and Red” for short. I love quick little recipes like this that can be quickly whipped up from prepackaged ingredients. All you need for this one are a can of black beans, a jar of red peppers, a can of enchilada sauce, and some chicken broth.
This recipe has lots of mexican flavors and a little bit of spice. You can adjust the spice however by changing the ratio of enchilada sauce and chicken broth. More spice? Use more enchilada sauce and less broth. Less spice? Then use more broth and less enchilada sauce. Just make sure your recovery is far enough along for a recipe this intense. You may want to ask your doctor.
Ready to give it a try? Check out the full recipe here.
3. Scrambled Eggs and Beans
Here is a great idea for a quick and great tasting pureed breakfast. Scramble an egg or two and top them off with another puree. The black bean puree above or the version in the recipe below are all good.
Scrambled eggs are a staple of these diets because they provide protein and are easily chopped into smaller and smaller pieces. The black bean puree adds lots of flavor and a smooth pureed texture. Top it off with some sour cream or guacamole.
4. Cauliflower Puree with Garlic and Cheese
I make a version of this at my house when I am trying to eat lower carb and want some mashed potatoes. The flavor is pretty close and you can get the texture the same as well with a little practice. My seven year old even loves them – with extra cheese of course!
This recipe calls for buttermilk which adds some tangy flavor to the batch. But, you could easily substitute whole milk or half and half instead. I also like to add a little butter too!
I also like that the texture of this recipe is easily adjusted. Cauliflower naturally contains a lot of water and makes a thinner puree. But, it is easy to thicken it by using less liquid in the beginning and only add what you need as you go.
Here is the full recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
5. Egg Salad
Where I live, egg salad is a regular filler for sandwiches. I was always that weird kid too who loved them! This version is similar except that it is processed until it is super smooth.
This particular recipe calls for olives, green onions, and (lots) of mayo. But, these ingredients are easily swapped out for your favorites. Try some sweet relish and a little mustard instead!
This is also a great recipe for changing up the diet a little because it is supposed to be served cold. Most pureed foods are served hot or warm so this will be a welcome change.
Learn how to make it here and let me know how it turned out!
6. Chicken Salad
This simple and basic chicken salad recipe is good for introducing pureed meats back to your diet. It is mostly bland with a little bit of tangy flavor and should digest easily. You can keep it really bland by adding more mayo instead of using the greek yogurt.
Later, when you are ready, recipes like this can be easily jazzed up by adding more spices and flavorful condiments. Sweet pickle relish, smoked paprika, and spicy mustard are a few ideas.
Make this a quick recipe by using canned chicken breast. Although, it will taste a little better using freshly boiled chicken.
Ready to give it a try? Click here to go to the full recipe.
7. Basic Fish Puree
Yeah, I know what you are probably thinking when you hear the words fish puree. In reality, this is just a tuna salad that is finely chopped up. It’s really one of those “don’t mock it until you have tried it” situations.
Made correctly, purees of fish – especially the fattier fishes – can be quite tasty. I like salmon the best! Pickle relish, olives, garlic, and tartar sauce are great flavor additions to a recipe like this.
And, call it tuna salad if that makes you feel better about it!
8. Butternut Squash Puree
Never had butternut squash? It tastes something like a carrot, sweet potato, and a pumpkin. I like it – especially when roasted.
They are a little tricky to peel and cut for cooking so this recipe includes a video on how to do that. You can also buy canned butternut squash at larger grocery stores or [amazon link=”B00R14B98A” title=”order it online from Amazon” /].
Butternut squash has a mild flavor that is a cross between sweet potatoes and carrots. It makes great tasting purees and soups too!
- 2 cup butternut squash cooked
- 2 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoon butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper optional
- 2 tablespoon sot cheese cottage, ricotta, or feta
Place all the ingredients –except the cheese- in a food processor, or use an immersion or regular blender.
Blend all the ingredients until their consistency is creamy and smooth.
Add cheese on top, if desired.
Never worked with butternut squash? Check out this video on how to peel and prepare one for cooking.
9. Avocado and Chicken Puree
This is another more bland recipe for those beginning to eat pureed foods. But, it can easily be spiced up with some chili powder and cumin for a more Mexican flavor. Avocados have many health benefits that will also help with your recovery. Use an extra-ripe avocado for the smoothest texture.
Using a very ripe avocado will leave you with a velvety, creamy puree with a mild, pleasing flavor.
- 1 cup cooked or canned chicken
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon soft cheese cottage, ricotta, or feta
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken, avocado, salt, and pepper into a food processor and puree until you achieve a smooth consistency.
Place in a bowl and add cheese on top if desired.
This recipe can be served chilled.
Adding cumin and chili powder gives this puree a nice Mexican flavor.
10. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie
Well, we can’t leave dessert off of a list like this and you know you are going to want something sweet! Here is a basic smoothie recipe that you can make from your favorite fruit. I like to use a blend of strawberries and blueberries myself.
To make the smoothie, add 1 cup of greek yogurt (vanilla is best!), your favorite fruit, and a little sweetener to a blender. If you don’t have vanilla yogurt, add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add a little ice if you want it really cold.
Too thick? Add a little milk and blend again. Too thin? Add a little more fruit.
Summary and Final Recommendations
Nutrition is an important part of your recovery from bariatric surgery. So, it is important to find foods you like and that you enjoy eating. I hope these recipes have given you some ideas.
All of these recipes are highly customizable. You just have to swap out ingredients for ones you prefer – such as changing black beans for another type of bean you like better. Another good modification is to [amazon lik=”B00PDV0QCI” title=”add in a scoop of protein powder” /] to each recipe to meet your nutritional requirements.
Many of these recipes suggest you use a food processor for the best consitency. Check out my buying guides for my recommended models. You can even look by price range: under $50 for value shoppers, under $100 for good, middle of the road models, and up to $200 for chefs who want a top of the line model.
You can even prepare many of these recipes in advance and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to eat them. Of course, always remember to check with your doctor or dietitian before introducing new ingredients to your post-bariatric surgery diet, and listen to your body when it tells you what it needs. Happy Pureeing!
Do you have any other foods or recipes you suggest when recovering from surgery like this? Please share in the comments below. Also, please share on your favorite social media profile if you found this helpful!
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My name is Scott, the founder of PureePro and I was once like you - looking for helpful information about pureeing food for a loved one. But, there wasn't a lot of information to be found. So, I created this site as a resource on how to make good pureed food at home. I hope you enjoy it and learn a little, too!Learn more
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