What Can You Eat After a Gastric Bypass?: Your Guide

When you’ve had a gastric bypass, it may seem like there is nothing you can have. The dietary guidelines are rather restrictive - so what can you eat after gastric bypass surgery? Surely the liquid diet must have SOME tasty options!

Don’t worry, it does! If you’re wondering what you can eat after a gastric bypass, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to dispel the myth that you can’t enjoy the liquid diet during recovery. 

We’ll provide you with a list to answer the question: “What can you eat after gastric bypass surgery?” We will also cover some foods you should definitely avoid to ensure a smooth recovery.

But before we get into what you should and shouldn’t eat, it’s important for you to understand why the bariatric liquid diet is important in the first place. 

Eating solid food after a gastric bypass

When looking through the bariatric diet guidelines, you may be wondering: “Can you ever eat normally after gastric bypass surgery?”

The answer is YES. Remember that when lamenting about what you can eat after a gastric bypass - the liquid diet doesn’t last forever. 

The great news is, you won't have to wait too long before you can start enjoying solid foods again! Most people can expect to eat solid food as early as two months after surgery.

While that may seem like a long time now, it’s a relatively short sacrifice to make when you think of all the positive changes your gastric bypass will create for your body. 

It’s important to remember that no matter what guides you’ve read on gastric bypass recovery time, your recovery is unique to you. 

Your body needs time to heal, and how quickly this occurs will depend on a variety of factors, such as your overall health before surgery, underlying medical conditions, age, and any prescription medications you may be taking. 

When you're ready to start eating solid foods again, it's important to take it slowly. You wouldn’t want to stretch your stomach out again after going through the surgery!

But what can you eat after gastric bypass surgery? Let’s take a look at some of the recommended foods post-procedure. 

What can you eat after gastric bypass surgery?

Here are some of our top recommendations of what you can eat after a gastric bypass:

Protein supplements

Protein supplements are one of the top recommendations after any bariatric surgery. That’s because your reduced caloric intake makes it difficult to get enough protein in your diet. But not all protein options are great post-surgery. 

So what can you eat after gastric bypass surgery when it comes to protein supplements?

Whey protein is not recommended following a gastric bypass, as it contains lactose, which many bariatric patients develop an intolerance to. 

But there are other protein supplements that will work well for you. As long as your protein powder doesn’t contain lactose or sugar, it gets our seal of approval. 

Two types of protein that stand out as being particularly beneficial following your surgery are plant-based protein powders (hemp, pea, etc) and collagen powder. 

Of these, collagen protein powder for bariatric patients is our favorite choice. Not only is it high in protein, there are heaps of collagen peptides benefits that other powders don’t have. 

You can also use collagen for your joints, to heal your gut, or to improve your skin - among many more great advantages. 

One great way to get collagen in your diet is with liquid protein shots. If you haven’t heard of these before, it’s time to get acquainted! ProT Gold liquid collagen shots are a fantastic addition to your post gastric bypass liquid diet. 

These protein shots come in easy to use pouches and give you all the gut healing benefits of collagen. Perfect as one of your bariatric friendly snacks!

Vegetables

Second on our list of what you can eat after gastric bypass surgery is vegetables. Love them or hate them, it is crucial that you make vegetables a big part of your diet following your bypass surgery. 

Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals (which are easy to become deficient in after surgery). They are also high in prebiotics, which can help with having a healthy gut microbiome.

Since solid foods are off the table for a while, having a juicer at home would be extra beneficial. You can make tasty vegetable juices to add to your diet. 

Yogurt and kefir

The next part of having a healthy gut microbiome is ingesting probiotics. Fortunately, yogurt is packed full of these, making it next on our list of what you can eat after a gastric bypass

As we mentioned above, you should not eat anything high in lactose following gastric bypass, so make sure you go with lactose-free or low-lactose yogurt, like Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is also full of protein, which is a must following gastric bypass. You can consider it one of the alternatives to protein shakes after bariatric surgery!

If Greek yogurt is still too high in lactose, check out kefir. It’s also made from dairy but is even lower in lactose than Greek yogurt, and is a real macrobiotic powerhouse. It’s even more beneficial to your microbiome than yogurt! 

Liquid bariatric vitamins

Beside collagen shots, you can also try supplementing with liquid bariatric vitamins. These will help you stay topped up on nutrients that you may find difficult to get when on the liquid diet.

If you've recently had a gastric bypass procedure, your body is probably going through quite the adjustment. You may have to make changes to both your diet and lifestyle to keep up with your new nutrition needs. 

Liquid bariatric vitamins are specifically formulated to meet the unique nutritional needs of those who have had gastric bypass surgery, providing a concentrated and easy-to-absorb form of nutrition that is gentle on your digestive system.

Plus, liquid bariatric vitamins are super convenient! Taking a daily vitamin pill can be difficult for those who've had a bypass, but liquid vitamins are easy to swallow and digest. 

Pureed foods

After about a week of tolerating liquids, you can begin to eat strained and pureed (mashed up) foods. The foods should have the consistency of a smooth paste or a thick liquid, without any solid pieces of food in the mixture.

You can eat three to six small meals a day. Each meal should consist of 4 to 6 tablespoons of food. Eat slowly — about 30 minutes for each meal.

  • Soft scrambled eggs

  • Lean ground meat, poultry, or fish

  • Hot cereal (malt-o-meal, cream of wheat)

  • Cottage cheese

  • Strained soups

You can blend some other solid foods with liquids like water, skim milk, sugar-free juice, or soup broth to make them an easier-to-digest consistency. In general, you want them to slide right off a tipped spoon. If they don’t, add more liquid!

Soft foods

You should be able to start eating soft foods after a few weeks but make sure to get the clear from your doctor. Once you do, you can get 3-5 meals a day of no more than a half cup of food. Some soft foods you can eat after gastric bypass surgery include: 

  • Flakey fish

  • Eggs

  • Rice

  • Soft or canned fruit (with no skin or seeds)

  • Cooked or dried cereal

  • Soft, cooked vegetables

After two months on the gastric bypass diet, you should gradually be able to return to eating solid foods under the guidance of your doctor. Try to limit yourself to no more than an eight ounce portion size for proteins and starches when looking at what you can eat after gastric bypass surgery. 

It’s important to make sure you are listening to your body and not overeating. Eating too much can cause discomfort and a feeling of being overly full.

By following the above guidelines, you can ensure that your post-bariatric surgery diet is safe and healthy. Remember to listen to your body and take things slowly when trying new foods after gastric bypass. Of course, not all foods will be a good idea! 

While there are plenty of options on our list of what you can eat after gastric bypass surgery, we also need to talk about what to avoid. 

Foods to avoid after a gastric bypass

Some foods may cause nausea, vomiting, or pain after gastric bypass surgery - and no one wants that as part of their recovery! Here are some foods you should avoid or tread carefully with.

Ice cream

What can you eat after gastric bypass surgery? Not ice cream!

This is a big post gastric-bypass no-no. Ice cream contravenes two important rules after bariatric surgery: no lactose and no sugar. Ice cream has both of these in spades, meaning it is absolutely off the menu.

Ice cream is also cold, which can cause digestion problems for some people, even if their digestion is usually fine.

If ice cream is one of your favorite foods, talk with your doctor about when you might be able to reintroduce it into your diet, and in what amount. 

Whey powder

Another not appearing on our list of what you can eat after a gastric bypass is whey powder. As mentioned above, whey protein contains lactose, which can cause digestive issues in many bariatric patients.  

Fruit

You may have been expecting to see fruit on our list of what you can eat after gastric bypass surgery. After all, isn’t fruit super-healthy?

It can be, but due to dumping syndrome, most fruit is simply too high in sugar to eat safely. You can try some low-sugar fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, but you have to be careful about the seeds.  

If you do want to introduce some fruit to your diet, you should remove the skin first. In general, you should steer clear of pineapple and dried fruits, which are high in acid and sugar respectively. 

Fast food

You’re probably less surprised to see this one here. Fast food was never going to be on our list of what you can eat after a gastric bypass.

Pizza, fries, burgers, etc. If it’s classed as “fast food” you should not consume it after your bypass. This is for a few different reasons.

Firstly, fast food is usually cooked in unhealthy oils. These oils create inflammation, which causes absolute havoc in the body. When your body is recovering from surgery, trust us, these oils are the last thing that you want!

Next, fast food contains sugar. Again, totally against the gastric bypass rules. If you want something sweet, go for a calorie-free sweetener like Stevia, which doesn’t spike your blood sugar.

Other foods to avoid after a gastric bypass

Here are a few other foods you want to tread carefully with after your surgery. Try them one at a time to see how your body reacts. 

  • Breads

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Red meat

  • Fried foods

  • Particularly fibrous vegetables like celery, corn, cabbage, or broccoli

  • Spicy food

  • Highly seasoned food

  • Seeds

  • Nuts

  • Popcorn

After seeing this list, you may be wondering: “Can you ever eat normally after gastric bypass surgery!?” The truth is, some people can never return to eating foods in the list above, but that isn’t true for all people.

You may be able to enjoy these foods again over time with the guidance of your doctor. 

Enjoying food after your gastric bypass

If you’re a food lover, you might feel like having a gastric bypass will ruin your enjoyment of food. This absolutely does not have to be the case. 

While you will have to make some adjustments to what you’re eating, you can still enjoy delicious foods, albeit in slightly smaller portions than you may have been used to. 

As your body adjusts, and you learn what you can eat after gastric bypass surgery, it’s important to ensure you’re receiving ample vitamins and protein along the way. One of the easiest ways to do that is through bariatric supplements and hydrolyzed collagen shots.

Remember - the bariatric diet isn’t forever, but the life-changing results of the surgery can be! Just be gentle with your body. Give yourself a few months, and you’ll be able to enjoy your meals once again.