Are you preparing for your upcoming bariatric surgery? Besides your excitement at embarking on a new, healthy lifestyle and your anticipation of the procedure ahead, the question likely at the forefront of your mind is what to eat for dinner, post-op.
For the first week after surgery, you will still be on a fairly stringent diet that calls for no solid foods and keeps your food intake to the most soothing nutrients possible. However, this does not mean that you cannot enjoy the foods they allow you to consume as your body readjusts and heals from the procedure. To give you one less thing to worry about, we have put together a simple guide to help you decide what to eat for dinner, for weight loss, the first week after your bariatric surgery.
What Is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a route that has become an increasingly popular, effective way to achieve significant weight loss and maintain a healthier lifestyle. There are two procedures used most often, and these procedures are the gastric sleeve and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
Both the gastric sleeve and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass work to make the stomach smaller, so that individuals trying to lose significant amounts of weight will only be able to eat smaller portions while avoiding certain unhealthy foods. The gastric bypass procedure involves reworking part of the small intestine.
With the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, the surgery separates the stomach into a smaller portion in the upper section of the organ, and a larger portion remains below. The surgeon connects the smaller portion to part of the small intestine. This means that any food ingested will proceed to this smaller stomach area, directly into the reworked small intestine, avoiding the larger portion of your stomach and the rest of your small intestine entirely.
With gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon removes part of the stomach so that the portion remaining is only about 15% of its prior size. The final product is a stomach structure that mimics a sleeve or tube with a much smaller, more compact capacity to handle any food consumed.
Food You Should Avoid
Stay Away from Sugar
Before delving into what to eat for dinner the first week after your bariatric surgery, it is important to understand the foods you should avoid completely. Not only will ingesting these foods counteract your weight loss efforts in the long run, in the immediate sense they can make you ill following your procedure.
Sugar is the first thing you need to stay away from. When you are figuring out what to eat for dinner immediately following your bariatric surgery, most of your food consumption will come in liquid form, and need to avoid all liquids contain sugar of any kind.
With your reconfigured stomach, following bariatric surgery sugar can cause "dumping syndrome," something that occurs when sugar hits your small intestine at too fast a rate. The sugar and resulting dumping syndrome may cause intense nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue, so it is best to avoid it altogether.
One of the most important things to remember when determining what to eat for dinner following your surgery is to stay hydrated. That means you should avoid anything containing caffeine, because caffeine is a dehydrating agent, and it is highly acidic. As a result, consumption of caffeine can irritate your stomach and may even cause acid reflux.
One of the crucial concerns, when figuring out what to eat for dinner following bariatric surgery, is to avoid any beverage that could lead to increased bloating and gas. Your newly configured stomach and intestinal area will be highly sensitive following the surgery, and that means you must avoid, like the plague, beverages that bloat and fill your stomach with air.
Keep away from carbonated beverages and seltzer, even those that are sugar-free or non-caloric. Carbonation in all its forms can lead to gas buildup and cause bloating, so you will need to avoid these beverages in that initial week, and potentially in the long run too.
What to Eat for Dinner the First Week After Surgery
When examining what you'll eat for dinner following your surgery, it might be helpful to remember the purpose of these dietary limitations. This diet serves to allow your system to heal effectively from the procedure you underwent while helping to reset your body from its former eating habits and to develop a healthier lifestyle.
Identifying what to eat for dinner immediately following your surgery will aid you in letting your stomach recover from the procedure without being weighed down by solid foods. The liquid aspect of this initial diet will give your stomach a chance to readjust to the smaller portion sizes without having to work too hard to digest anything right away.
This will allow you to continue to lose and keep off the weight, without having to worry about complications or the discomfort which results from reintroducing solid food too quickly. Always speak with your doctor regarding which diet specifications are right for you following surgery as some patients may need more or less time than others before reintroducing consumption of solid foods.
Liquids Are Your New Best Friend
When determining what you'll eat for dinner that first week, you'll find that liquids are your new best friend. For starters, at every stage following surgery, you will want to maintain an intake of about 64 fluid ounces of liquid every day to stay hydrated. Once you reintroduce solid food, you will need to drink your liquids separate from meals to achieve optimal digestion.
In the first week after bariatric surgery, you will be on a primarily liquid diet, and you will need to be sure to sip your liquids slowly. Your body will readjust to consumption of anything, liquid or pureed, so take it slow, do not gulp, and allow your body time to digest.
When figuring out what you'll eat for dinner that first week in the initial days following your surgery, the doctor will limit you to clear liquids only. Once you have done well with the clear liquids, you can reintroduce more variety. Liquids like broth, decaffeinated tea or coffee, unsweetened juice, sugar-free gelatin, sugar-free popsicles, and skim or 1% milk are great options.
Pureed Never Tasted So Good
Depending on your progress with clear and other liquids, close to the end of that first week, it will delight you to incorporate pureed foods when deciding what you'll eat for dinner. Any pureed food you consume should take on the form of an even paste or a thicker liquid, not containing any solid elements that will still be tough for you to digest.
Your doctor will advise you about when you can bring pureed foods into the mix. Once that time comes, you'll eat small, frequent meals, about 3 to 6 times a day. Take it slow and allow 30 minutes for every meal. When figuring out what you'll eat for dinner, you might choose from pureed cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, cooked cereals, and even strained cream soups.
Other items you can puree include lean ground poultry, fish, or meat, cooked vegetables, and soft fruits. You might also choose what to eat for dinner by taking these solid foods and pureeing them with a liquid food like broth, water, skim milk, or unsweetened juice.
Changing Your Lifestyle
Determining what you'll eat for dinner to lose weight that first week after your bariatric surgery may not seem exciting, but the nutrients you consume will have untold value to your healing process. In allowing your stomach to rest from solid foods and recover from the surgery, you will adjust your food intake to include nutritious choices free from unhealthy elements like caffeine or sugar.
Ultimately, the right liquid nutrients will fuel your weight loss goals and help you prepare to maintain a healthy diet and way of living once your stomach can handle solid foods once more. Even when you are only drinking clear liquids, make sure you are ingesting quality nutritional sources and avoid guzzling them down too quickly.
Figuring out what to eat for dinner to help you achieve a healthy weight loss in that initial week following bariatric surgery is simple and need not stress you out. As the doctor will limit your options in that first week, focus on enjoying any liquids and pureed foods they allow you to have.
Try to mix things up. For example, try pairing different liquids with one another, and keep things as interesting as you can. If you have a certain gelatin or broth one day, consider eating a popsicle, a different broth, and some decaffeinated tea the next. Enjoy the chance to let your stomach rest from the work of digesting solid foods. That way, your body can heal from surgery and prepare to process an entirely new diet of healthy and nutritious food sources, which will continue to fuel your weight loss goals.