16th June 2016
What to eat after gastric band surgery - "normal" food stage
For many patients, starting the “normal” food stage is an exciting time but it can also be pretty nerve wracking. This is the stage where you really start learning how to work with your band and develop lifelong healthy eating habits.
For your band to work effectively, try to eat foods of a ‘drier’ consistency and ensure to chew really thoroughly before swallowing. During this stage, you will start to discover which types of food work for you and which don’t. For example, some patients find they cannot handle the texture of bread anymore as it gets stuck, but others can manage it with some thorough chewing and if they take their time. This may take a bit of trial and error as what works for someone else, may not work for you. As for all individuals, you are recommended to follow a healthy, balanced diet with daily servings from each food group. Below are some examples:
Starch/carbohydrate – 3-4 servings per day
Foods in this category include Bread, Pasta, Potatoes, beans and Oats. As an example, one serving would be one slice of bread or 3 tablespoons dry porridge oats. It’s commonly thought that these foods are high in fat and can cause weight gain but we tend to find that this is more to do with how we cook and what we serve with these foods. So, cutting down on your pasta sauces and butter will help with weight loss.
Fruit and Vegetables - 2-3 fruit and at least 3 vegetable portions per day
One serving of fruit could be 1 medium piece fresh fruit like an apple, orange or ½ banana, or 2 - 3 small fruits such as plums or apricots. As we’re all aware, fruit and veg is a very important part of a healthy diet but they don’t have to be as part of your main meals. You can enjoy them as a snack throughout the day if you feel yourself getting hungry between meals.
Protein - 2-3 portions per day
Foods in this category include meat, fish and pulses. It is vital to include at least two portions daily from this group because on your new eating plan it may be difficult to obtain enough protein from your new smaller portions. An example of a portion size in this category would be 100g of chicken breast, 2 eggs (limit to 6 per week) or 150g of cooked white fish or tinned tuna. Some more examples of protein are:
- Very lean cooked beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, liver, kidney, pilchards, salmon
- Cooked white fish or tinned tuna
- Tofu or Quorn
- Cooked peas, lentils, beans (including baked beans), kidney beans etc
Dairy - 2 - 3 portions per day
For a healthy diet, eat moderate amounts of these foods and choose skimmed/low-fat options where possible. An example of one portion size for this food group would be 200ml semi-skimmed milk or 100g (4oz) cottage cheese.
Fatty foods – limit your intake
Having a healthy diet means limiting the amount of fatty foods you have. Foods in this category have a high calorific value but very few nutrients. Be especially careful about liquids such as ice cream, chocolate and fizzy drinks, as if you’re a Gastric Band patient these foods will simply slide straight through your band and bring no satiety whatsoever. Foods in this ground include butter, margarine, cooking oil, mayonnaise, nut butter, low-fat spread and salad dressing. Nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts/ brazil nuts) and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, pine nuts) also come under this category.
It can be difficult to put together a meal with the right foods of the correct portion sizes so below is a sample menu of approximately the correct portion size for someone around 5 weeks post op.
- Breakfast - ½ slice toast with scraping of low-fat margarine, Marmite and a fresh tomato and 1 satsuma
- Lunch – ½ tin tuna in brine or spring water and 1 - 2 crispbreads or crackers
- Dinner - 2 fish fingers and 2 small new potatoes in skins and crisply cooked vegetables
These portion sizes are approximate and may be too much for you. You will need to use your new eating habits to determine when you are full. Ensure you’re eating slowly, putting your knife and fork down between mouthfuls and really concentrating on your food.