In the three weeks prior to surgery, you will usually plan your meals to:
- Reduce calories – especially carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a major contributor of calories to most American diets. Refined sugars, like those in candy and soft drinks, should be eliminated. Other sources of carbohydrates, like breads and pasta, are not bad in and of themselves, but limiting their intake can have a positive effect on your weight.
- Maximize protein intake. Eat 60 or more grams of protein daily. Good sources of protein include chicken, lean ground beef, eggs, and salmon.
- Focus on healthy fats. It’s a myth that all fats are bad for you. Some are, some aren’t. Healthy fats are found in foods like fish, nuts, and olives. Other fats, like those found in butter or oils, should be curtailed. Trans fats should be avoided altogether.
- Don’t dehydrate. Drink plenty of water in the weeks before your procedure. Reduce or avoid soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
Many programs recommend eating 800 to 1,200 calories a day and sticking with these guidelines until two or three days before your gastric sleeve surgery procedure. Please check with your program coordinator or dietician for more details.
Pre-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet: 2-3 Days Before Surgery
Two or three days before surgery you’ll need to switch to an all-liquid diet. Restrict your food intake to water, broth, gelatins, and low-calorie sports drinks (no sodas). You’ll need to cut out consumption entirely starting at midnight on the day of your surgery – even water. Failure to follow these guidelines may jeopardize your eligibility for the gastric sleeve procedure.
What About My Medications?
Certain medications must also be discontinued prior to surgery. Included are:
- Arthritis medications
- NSAIDs, including aspirin and aspirin alternatives, such as Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, and Aleve
- Herbal supplements
- Anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications
Be sure to ask your doctor for more details and if you have concerns about medication restrictions prior to surgery.
What Should I Eat After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Your post-op diet – what you eat in the weeks and months after your gastric sleeve surgery – is just as important as your pre-op diet. You will begin with liquids and then gradually reintroduce solid foods.
Following your post-op diet is essential if you want to realize the benefits of a bariatric procedure. It will also help you avoid potential health complications, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and gastric leaks. Here is a week-by-week diet plan detailing what to eat after a gastric sleeve surgery:
Post-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet: 1st Week After Surgery
During your first week after surgery, you will be restricted to clear liquids. In addition to water, you can drink clear broth, decaffeinated beverages, and the sugar-free versions of drink mixes like Kool-Aid and Crystal Light. Forgo carbonated beverages, caffeine, and anything with added sugar.
Post-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet: 2nd Week After Surgery
The second week will see the addition of thicker liquids to your post-op diet. These might include such items as applesauce, cream of wheat, Greek yogurt, protein shakes, and sugar-free ice creams and puddings.
Post-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet: 3rd Week After Surgery
Soft and pureed foods come next. Examples include eggs, ground meats, fish, beans, cooked vegetables, and soft fruits. Other possibilities include hummus and cottage cheese.
Post-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet: 4th Week After Surgery
Solid foods are finally back in the fourth week after surgery. At this point, the post-op diet is similar to your presurgical diet. Certain items remain off limits: fried foods, candy, nuts, seeds, whole dairy products, breads, pastas, and fibrous vegetables such as broccoli. You are allowed to reintroduce caffeine, but only in small quantities.
Over time, you can add some of the excluded items above but always as small portions. Your focus should remain on lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods and sugar-added products. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and stop eating when you stop feeling hungry.