By Chelsea Terris, who provides online content for WeightWise Bariatric Program, a comprehensive weight loss surgery center located in Edmond, OK.

Undergoing weight loss surgery is a beneficial but physically strenuous experience. The body loses much of its strength after an operation and needs a nutritional boost to recover properly.

You can modify healing foods to accommodate the requirements of phases 1 (clear liquids), 2 (opaque liquids), and 3 (soft foods) in order to reap their benefits when your body needs them most. During phase 4, when solids are back on the menu, prepare to enjoy each food in its whole state.


1) Whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals

Recovering from surgery is exhausting. To replenish your energy, you’ll need to consume a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates. Focus on eating complex carbs such as brown rice or sweet potatoes because they are great for the heart and high in fiber. Carbohydrates can be incorporated into smoothies in phase 3 and eaten in their full form in phase 4.

2) Water

Water is a miracle substance that preserves life and is required for all cell activity. During phase 1, which spans your first week out of the hospital, you may only intake clear liquids and will consume mainly water and broth. As you heal and progress, sipping water throughout the day will keep you hydrated without over-filling your smaller stomach or bringing any unwanted calories to your diet.

3) Fruits and veggies

It is important to obtain vitamins A and C after surgery because they boost immune strength. Once you are eating soft foods again, look for dark green veggies and orange-colored produce to blend in to smoothies. Consume acidic fruits, such as oranges, in small quantities at first so that your sensitive new stomach can adjust without nausea or acid reflux.

4) Protein, iron, and zinc found in meat, eggs, beans, and dairy

Proteins are required for muscle recovery, and iron and zinc are necessary to prevent chronic tiredness. Get these essential nutrients by eating lean animal products such as chicken and skim milk. Beans are a great choice for those who don’t like meat–and they contain large amounts of fiber, which is especially useful at treating post-surgical constipation. Proteins are great sources of nutrition and can be consumed in soft form once you enter phase 3, and in their solid forms in phase 4 and beyond.

5) Good fats from avocados, olives, fish, seeds, and nuts

Good fats, especially omega-3s, are highly beneficial for the healing process. They bolster immunity and help with absorption of nutrients. Because foods high in omega-3s are also high in calories, consume in moderation for benefits without adding pounds.

While the above foods are recommended for healing after bariatric surgery and general health thereafter, processed meats, fried foods, sugary foods, baked goods, and high-grease and oily foods should be limited or avoided altogether. These items, as well as an excessive amount of any food, can cause discomfort and medical complications, including dumping syndrome. Once you are eating solids again, stick to a healthy diet filled with whole foods and feel your vitality soar.

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