Making Meal Time Work for the Whole Family After Bariatric Surgery

The foods you can eat after having bariatric surgery depend on how far you’ve progressed in your recovery following the procedure. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Bariatric Surgery Department, one can’t eat solid foods until approximately nine to 11 weeks after surgery, and you should, of course, ask your doctor, surgeon, or dietitian for advice on developing post-bariatric surgery menus appropriate for every level of recovery. However, once you’ve gotten to the stage where you are allowed to eat so-called “normal” foods, you might be wondering how, when planning bariatric menus you can eat, can you plan for the rest of the family? The wonderful thing is that your post-bariatric diet can mirror that of a healthy diet for anyone. There may be certain things that you have to avoid, smaller portions for you, and careful chewing and timing of your meals, but for the most part, the menu items can be the same.

For example, by the time one is six months post-surgery, a typical meal might consist of a 3-ounce serving of protein, one to two servings of starchy foods such as 1/2 cup of brown rice or cooked beans, and a serving of dairy with the rest of the plate filled with fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables. Avoid items high in fat, calories, and sugar, such as whole-milk dairy, fried meat, processed foods, and sweets in order to maximize your nutrient intake and lower the risk that you’ll regain weight. These are healthy guidelines for most people! The main difference is that you should keep your meals small since your stomach will not be able to hold more than 1 to 1 1/4 cups of food at a time.

This type of eating plus regular exercise is a healthy way of life. Now and after bariatric surgery, take some time to consider how to make mealtime simple, creative, and pleasant for the whole family. Planning menu’s ahead and gathering recipes both new and old can be a time saver both at meal time and in the grocery store. Be on the lookout for new, simple recipes that are healthy, bariatric friendly, and family friendly.

If you are considering weight-loss surgery and/or need help figuring out the best treatments and menus for you and your family, schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She and her team of experts can help you find the right solutions for your unique case.

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