Eating Right For Life

The weeks following your balloon removal are absolutely crucial.

It’s easy to pick up bad habits and gain weight. Read on to learn how to self-regulate and increase your chances of keeping the weight off. 

The weeks following the removal of your gastric balloon are crucial for your long term weight loss – you should view this time as equally, if not more important than the first weeks after implantation in terms of being on top of your calorie intake and expenditure. It’s now time to protect the weight loss you have achieved so far! 

You should aim to maintain your weight in the first few weeks and allow yourself time to adjust to not having the balloon. Once you have achieved this you can then start to make the necessary changes which will allow you to lose more weight (if you wish). It can take a surprisingly short amount of time for old habits to return and for the weight to start going up again – make sure this doesn’t happen to you! Learn how to self-regulate – only eat if you are hungry.

  • Concentrate on whole grains, lean meats, fish, fresh fruit & vegetables
  • Avoid concentrated sugars and fats and high calorie liquids
  • BE VIGILANT – calories can creep in and sabotage your weight loss
  • Avoid snacking on energy dense foods – snacks should be low in fat and high in protein
  • Use a 7 inch side plate to keep portion size correct and use a teaspoon and small knife and fork to keep mouthful size small
  • Chew thoroughly – use your timer, do not eat for any longer than 20-30 minutes
  • Stay active. Regular physical activity is crucial for weight management
  • STOP eating when you are no longer hungry. You do not need to feel full
  • Contact us for personal advice. This is a time of adjustment and we can provide support
  • You should aim to consume 850-1200 calories per day
  • ALWAYS complete a daily food and activity diary
  • Continue to take a multi vitamin supplement  
  • If you’re hungry, make sure you choose larger volumes of very healthy foods rather than smaller volumes of unhealthy foods. Or you could try adding protein by increasing the amount of low-fat dairy in your daily diet or by adding a protein supplement powder, found in health food shops

Have a balanced diet

Also includes rice, noodles, oats, breakfast cereals, pasta, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils and dishes made from maize, millet and cornmeal. These foods should make up about one third of your diet. Have one or two portions at each meal time (3 – 4 portions/day). Choose wholegrain, wholemeal or high fibre varieties to help your digestive system. Some people find that bread and white rice seem to ‘stick’ in the gullet after having a gastric band, so they tend to avoid them. Others find they can manage perfectly well if they chew slowly. Most people manage very well with other foods in this group, including potatoes, noodles, lentils etc.

People often think that starchy foods are particularly fattening. This isn’t true, but starchy foods become fattening if they’re served or cooked with fat. For example, it is the butter we spread on bread, the cream or cheese sauce we add to pasta or the oil we use for frying that makes them fattening. So cut down on these added fats rather than the starchy foods themselves.

Portion sizes (2 – 3 servings daily)
  • 1 slice bread or toast

  • 1 crumpet

  • 2 crisp breads / 3 small crackers

  • 2 small oat cakes

  • ½ pitta or 1 small pitta

  • 1 small chapatti

  • 3 tablespoons dry porridge oats

Try to include at least 3 vegetable/salad portions daily. Make sure that for your main meals at least half of your plate (side plate size) is full of a variety of vegetables/salad. You can use tinned, frozen or fresh vegetables. Most gastric band patients tolerate these foods well.

Portion sizes (3 – 5 servings daily) 

  • 3 heaped tbsp cooked vegetables

  • 1 side salad (half a side plate size)

  • 1 medium/ 7 cherry tomatoes, glass vegetable juice

  • Use a wide selection of raw, cooked and salad vegetables e.g. aubergine, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, celery, courgette, cucumber, gherkins, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, peppers, radish, spring onions, swede, tomatoes, turnip, watercress

Aim for 2 – 3 portions per day. 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 in the small portions that you will be eating. Trim visible fat from meat, choose lean cuts wherever possible and remove skin from chicken before cooking. Meat such as bacon and salami and products such as sausages, beefburgers and pâté are all relatively high fat choices, so try to keep these to a minimum. Beans, such as canned baked beans and pulses, are a good low-fat source of protein. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week. These can be fresh, frozen or tinned.

Portion sizes (2 – 3 servings daily)  

  • 100g (3½oz) very lean cooked beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, liver, kidney, pilchards, salmon

  • 150g (5oz) cooked white fish or tinned tuna (in brine or spring water), tofu or Quorn

  • 2 eggs (limit to 6 per week)

  • 4 tbsp cooked peas, lentils, beans (including baked beans), kidney beans etc

This group is important for calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong and includes milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais. For a healthy diet eat moderate amounts of these foods (2 – 3 portions per day). Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt (0.1% fat or less), virtually fat free fromage frais and reduced fat cheeses. (Note: when buying yoghurt or fromage frais, make sure that they are low in fat AND low in sugar).

Portion sizes (2 – 3 servings daily)   

  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk

  • 1 small pot of diet yoghurt or fromage frais

  • 100g (4oz) cottage cheese

  • 60g (2oz) low-fat soft cheese

  • 25g (1oz) hard cheese e.g. cheddar, stilton

Fruit can be used as a snack if necessary, chopped on cereal or as a dessert after a meal. Fruit should only be consumed if you are truly physically hungry.

Portion sizes (2 servings maximum daily)   

  • 1 medium piece fresh fruit – apple, orange, ½ banana

  • 2 – 3 small fruits e.g. plums, apricots

  • 150g (5oz) strawberries, raspberries, blackberries

  • 3 tbsp stewed or tinned fruit (no added sugar)

  • 1x100ml glass fruit juice (one per day)

  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried fruit

  • 1 handful of grapes

Sample Menu

Below is an example of what your daily menu could look like.

Breakfast – select one from the list below
  • 1 meal replacement shake blended with 80g fruit into a smoothie
  • 2 Weetabix / 30g wholewheat muesli served with 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 wholemeal toast with low fat spread
Lunch – select one from the list below
  • 1 meal replacement shake
  • 1 can low-calorie soup with a pitta bread
  • ½ can tuna and salad in a tortilla wrap
  • 2 wholemeal toast with ½ can low sugar baked beans
Evening Meal
  • 1 meal replacing supplement served with 80g veg

  • 150g grilled white fish / skinless chicken breast / beans and pulses / Quorn served with crunchy steamed veg and a side salad with a low-fat dressing

  • 75g pasta / couscous served with 75g chicken breast, 150g roasted vegetables, ½ tin chopped tomato, basil, garlic & onion

IMPORTANT: Ensure you drink at least 2 litres of fluid per day 

Suitable drinks are tea, coffee, low-calorie diet drinks, water and herbal teas.


If you have eaten your 3 small, solid/dry textures meals and are still physically hungry, occasionally as a snack you could have:

  • 200ml fluids such as water, tea, coffee, herbal teas, low-calorie cordial (no fizzy drinks)
  • Small glass of fresh fruit juice or fruit smoothie
  • Small handful of dried apricots or mangoes 
  • 1 portion of fresh fruit (e.g. handful of grapes / 1 small banana / 1 apple / 2 satsumas)
  • Raw nuts (e.g. 14 cashews, 17 almonds, 24 peanuts or 38 pistachios
  • 4-5 chunks of fruit with sugar-free jelly
  • 4 small low-fat salt and vinegar rice cakes
  • Low fat yogurt or Muller rice pot
  • Cereal bar
  • 1 meal replacement shake
  • Low calorie Ovaltine or hot chocolate drink
  • 5-6 dried apricots

Control your portion sizes

Whilst your gastric balloon was implanted, it should have helped you to rethink your portion sizes. Now that the balloon has been removed, it is really important that you continue to monitor your portions in the same way and do not revert to bad habits. Here are our top ten techniques for managing portion sizes .

  • Meet yourself half-way – decrease the portion size of your favourite food by half
  • Ask for a doggie bag when eating out – you’ve paid for it after all so restaurants should be happy to help. Then enjoy what’s left another day
  • Steer clear of meal deals – it may seem like a good deal but it means upgrading your meal size
  • Avoid mega packs or multi deals (BOGOF etc) – only buy what you need. If it’s there you’ll eat it!
  • Get to know standard serving sizes – learn the size of a controlled portion by measuring the food out
  • Avoid buffets – it’s impossible to practice portion control in an “all you can eat” situation
  • Say yes to the salad bar – eat before your dinner to curb your appetite and give you a feeling of fullness earlier
  • Don’t leave long gaps between meals/snacks – never get so hungry that you lose control of your portion intake
  • Keep seconds out of sight – dish up your meal onto a plate in the kitchen rather than from an open platter at the table
  • Treat yourself occasionally – a little bit of what you fancy can do you good! Long term deprivation may lead to overeating
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