Bariatric Surgery FAQ

High Protein Foods for Gastric Sleeve Patients

High Protein Foods for Gastric Sleeve Patients - Bariatric Fusion

High protein foods for gastric sleeve and gastric bypass patients are crucial for recovery. A high protein diet will help you heal after surgery and avoid complications.

This article will offer the best sources of protein and how you can incorporate these protein-rich foods into your diet.

We will discuss why protein is important in a gastric sleeve patient’s diet and how much is needed daily.

What This Article Covers:

The Importance of Protein After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Following the rules of your gastric sleeve food list or gastric bypass food list will help your body to heal during your post-op weight loss journey.

The goal of diet and lifestyle change is to limit calories and eat balanced and nutritious meals. Bariatric patients need to consume foods rich in proteins.

Why Do Gastric Sleeve Patients Need Protein?

Meal plans for gastric sleeve patients are high in protein. A nutritious and balanced diet that is high in protein is the best approach for healing and keeping up with weight loss goals.

Protein helps you to build and maintain lean muscle, support metabolism, curb appetite, and promote healing.

What Foods are the Best Sources of Protein?

Lean meats, fish and shellfish, eggs, dairy, and plant-based proteins like beans, nuts, and whole grains are some high protein foods for a bariatric diet.

These nutritious low-calorie foods work well in a 1000 calorie bariatric diet plan.

When you are eating 6 months after gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, you will realize that you adapted to your new diet without problems.

Lean Meat

Lean meats are nutritious, low in fat, and packed with protein.

You must pay attention to how lean meats are prepared, especially if you are eating out after gastric sleeve surgery at bariatric restaurants. The best restaurants for bariatric patients have a variety of options for preparing your food.

Meats that are deep-fried or cooked in oils and fat are very high in calories. Sauces and marinades that are high in salt and sugar are best avoided.

The healthiest way to cook meat is grilling, steaming, slow cooking, roasting, baking, and broiling. The following are some lean meat options:

  • Chicken (boneless and skinless)
  • Turkey
  • Lean pork
  • Ground beef
  • Fish


High Protein Foods for Gastric Sleeve Patients

Fish is a great source of protein after bariatric surgery that also offers a source of omega-3's.

Here are some bariatric-friendly seafood options:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Crab

Tuna, salmon, trout, and herring have a high source of omega-3's. They also have some of the highest protein content. It is also best to bake or grill fish.

Dairy and Eggs

Dairy products and eggs are nutritious and sources of protein. However, while dairy products and eggs can be high in protein, they can also be high in fat. Here are lower-fat options:

  • Non-fat milk
  • Eggs or egg whites
  • Greek yogurt or non-fat yogurt
  • Reduced fat or low-fat cheese and cottage cheese

A serving size of these foods contain an average of 6 – 10 grams of protein.

Plant-Based Protein

Plant-based sources of protein are rich in nutrients and often have fewer calories than animal products.

High protein can be found in plant-based foods like soy products, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

    Soy Products

    • Tofu
    • Edamame beans
    • Tempeh

    Grains, Nuts, and Beans

    • Quinoa
    • Black Beans
    • Chickpeas and Lentils
    • Nuts (almond, cashew, peanut)
    • Nut butters

      Protein During the Early Post-Surgery Stages

      You will need to include high protein into your post-surgery diet.

      After a gastric sleeve, you transition through different stages of eating. This includes a liquid diet, pureed, and soft food, before finally reaching solid foods after your gastric sleeve diet week 3.

      Liquid Diet

      Patients need to follow a clear liquid diet before gastric sleeve surgery and during the first couple of days after surgery.

      Here’s what to eat before gastric sleeve surgery when you are in the full liquid stage:

      • Drinks that are rich in protein, low-fat and sugar
      • Non-fat skim milk or milk substitutes
      • Water and flavor infused water
      • Broth and smooth soups

      Even if you have low appetite after bariatric surgery, make sure you are eating something every few hours. Low blood sugar after gastric bypass surgery or other bariatric surgeries is common and can be prevented.

      Pureed Food

      During your week 3 gastric sleeve diet you can start consuming mashed or pureed foods that have the consistency of a thick liquid or paste.

      Foods to Puree:

      • Lean ground meat, chicken, and fish
      • Soft scrambled eggs
      • Cooked cereal
      • Strained cream soups
      • Cottage cheese
      • Soft fruits and cooked vegetables

      Liquids to Blend Pureed Food With:

      • Water
      • Skim milk
      • Milk alternatives, like unsweetened almond milk
      • Juice without sugar added
      • Broth

      Soft Food

      After a few weeks of pureed foods, your doctor will transition you to soft foods. Make sure to chew well, eat tender and small pieces of food.

      • Ground lean meat or poultry
      • Baked or steamed white fish
      • Eggs
      • Cottage cheese
      • Cooked or dried cereal
      • Rice
      • Canned or soft fresh fruit, without seeds or skin like peaches and pears
      • Cooked vegetables, without skin

      High-Protein Meal Ideas

      In recipes for after gastric bypass surgery, there are plenty of delicious options for meals and snacks that incorporate protein.

      Whether you have had gastric sleeve or are eating after gastric bypass surgery, recipes from bariatric-friendly cookbooks are very helpful.

      Bariatric cookbooks have recipes like bariatric pancakes and bariatric cheeseburger pie. Your after gastric bypass surgery diet plan does not have to be boring.

      Tools like bariatric portion control plates can also help you to maintain serving size and moderation.

      There are a number of bariatric recipes including protein shakes and high protein meals that you can find online. High protein meals, such as salmon with zucchini and quinoa, chicken Portobello mushroom pizza, or steak with zoodles and sweet potatoes are all great options.

        There are also snacks and treats to satisfy that sweet and savory need. Some examples are sweet pepper bariatric nachos, bariatric peanut butter mug cake, and avocado cream dip.

          Protein Shakes

          Many gastric sleeve patients use protein drinks to reach their recommended daily protein intake. These are used before, during and after surgery.

          Without protein shakes, bariatric surgery weight-loss results may be challenging to reach.

          What Should You Look for?

          A whey isolate or soy protein drink and powders are typically recommended for gastric sleeve patients. These are high quality protein sources that will offer all essential amino acids for muscle building and maintenance.

          You can follow these nutritional guidelines:

          • Protein: up to 30 grams per serving
          • Sugar: Less than 14 grams per serving
          • Fat: Less than 5 grams per serving

          How Should You Drink Protein Shakes?

          Flavorless protein powder can be added to yogurt, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, and applesauce. They can also be added to skim milk, soy milk, or used to make a bariatric soup.

          There are many ways to consume protein drinks for bariatric patients. Take a look at some delicious gastric sleeve protein shake recipes that can be made at home.

          High Protein Foods for Gastric Sleeve Patients (FAQs)

          Can I Drink Carbonated Drinks?

          Carbonation after gastric sleeve surgery is best avoided for a month after surgery. Carbonation can cause GI distress, bloating and gas after bariatric surgery.

          Can I Drink Alcohol?

          Drinking alcohol after gastric sleeve surgery should only be done when you are cleared to do so, but it should be done with care and in moderation.

          Can I Drink Caffeine?

          You should avoid caffeine for up to a month after bariatric surgery.

          Why no caffeine after gastric bypass or sleeve surgery? Caffeine can cause gas, vomiting, stomach irritation, and an increased risk of dehydration.

          Can I be on the Keto Diet?

          Concerning the famous keto diet, gastric bypass or gastric sleeve patients should avoid it. Unless you have been recommended to follow such a diet by your healthcare provider, the keto diet is not suitable for all individuals.

          Can I Use Diet Pills?

          It is okay to use diet pills after gastric sleeve surgery when the recommendation is made by your healthcare provider.


          Gastric sleeve patients are required to follow lifestyle change including diet and exercise. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits after gastric sleeve surgery does not need to be difficult. There are plenty of bariatric resources available to guide you through your journey.

          Protein is highly important for the recovery of a gastric sleeve patient. Protein should be included at every meal and the first thing you are consuming to ensure you are reaching daily goals.

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          **This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.

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