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!

Protein Sources

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

Grain Sources

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
  • Oatmeal
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pureed squash
  • Grits
pureed peach mango fruit smoothie in a clear glass with mint garnish
Pureed fruit smoothies are a great way to incorporate fruit in a bariatric diet – just watch the sugar!

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)
  • Applesauce
  • 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!

Pureeing Tips

various kitchen appliances that can be used to puree

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.

Diet Tips

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.

Summary and Sources

Adjusting to a brand new diet can be difficult, especially after undergoing such a life-changing surgery. But, by sticking to the foods outlined above and incorporating these dieting tips into your lifestyle, you’ll ensure the success of your bariatric surgery and life a happy, healthy life.

Check out this post to learn more about how to puree your own food at home.

Have you ever undergone bariatric surgery? What are your tips for post-surgery recovery? Share below.