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Gastric Sleeve Food

Gastric Sleeve Food

Immediately after gastric sleeve surgery, you will experience various sensations that may include muscle soreness and pain in your abdomen.  You will also be restricted on what you can eat and drink immediately after your weight loss surgery.

The most important rule you must follow after surgery is the restriction of calories and food.  For the first two weeks after surgery, you will be on an all-liquid diet, so your stomach can properly heal.

You will also have to prioritize receiving a balanced diet that fulfills all of your nutritional needs.

Because of this fact, you must work on preventing any decrease in muscle mass and dietary deficiencies.

Gastric Sleeve Food Portions

Immediately after gastric sleeve surgery, you will need to have reduced portion sizes for your meals.

For the first two weeks, you will be on an all-liquid diet.  If you have no difficulty handling the liquid part of the diet, you will gradually introduce food.

Following surgery, your stomach size is minimal.  You will only be able to eat less than ¼ of a cup, which is about the size of an egg.  Because the opening of where food passes out of your stomach is significantly reduced, you can only take two to three sips or bites of food or drink at one time.

Fresh vegetables are great ways to receive the necessary nutrients.

When introducing new food items to your stomach after surgery, you should wait ten minutes before taking more bites or sips to see how your stomach adjusts.  This habit helps you learn your specific limits and tolerances.

Your severely diminished portion sizes, which will total less than five hundred calories a day, help record all of your food portions with calorie and protein intake to monitor your progress.

You should also be aware that your stomach empty's liquids much faster than soft food.

Gastric Sleeve Food Stages

Immediately after gastric sleeve surgery, you will be on an all-liquid diet.  You will be able to add thicker liquids to your diet once you leave the hospital, and all of your incisions are healing properly.

Two weeks after surgery, you can graduate to blended and pureed foods.  During this stage, you should consciously work to incorporate as much protein as possible.  You can use high-protein and low-calorie drinks to help meet your goals.

Your goal after surgery should be to consume food in small portions that will quickly leave your pouch.

You should start with one tablespoon and move towards two tablespoons as your stomach adjusts.

While increasing your portion size, you should drink ¼ cup of liquid at one time, then move towards ½ a cup.  During this period, you should maintain 400 or fewer calories a day.

It is easy to become dehydrated after gastric sleeve surgery. Therefore you should prioritize drinking 1 to 1.5 liters of water every day.

The food consistency will grow from a pureed consistency to soft food textures.  During this process, you will have a low in calories, fats, and sweets to support a long term weight loss plan.

Fresh fruits are an excellent source of vitamins while keeping you hydrated.

Gastric Sleeve Liquid Options

After your weight loss surgery, you should start with an all-clear liquid diet, which eventually moves towards a thicker consistency.  Liquid consistency options include:

  • Nonfat or 1% Milk
  • Lactose-ree or soy-based low-calorie drinks
  • Sugar-free, nonfat yogurt
  • Sugar-free pudding
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Blended broth-based soup
  • High-Protein liquid supplement
  • Less than 200 calories
  • More than 20 grams of protein

Another helpful rule to follow after surgery is drinking one cup of water between every meal to maintain hydration.  It would help if you also took a daily multivitamin to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Gastric Sleeve Pureed Food Options

As you move beyond your all liquid diet because you tolerate all liquids well, begin the diet's pureed and soft food part.  You should add small portions of pureed and soft foods as much as you can tolerate.

To see if you can tolerate pureed or soft foods depends on how your stomach reacts to small bites.

You should chew every bite slowly and carefully to see how your stomach reacts.  A rule to follow is not taking over two bites every 20 minutes when introducing new food to your diet.

Pureeing fresh, well-cooked vegetables is helpful during this journey of health.

Some safe pureed and soft food options include:

  • Applesauce
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Pureed and well-cooked vegetables
  • Canned tuna
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Scrambled egg whites

During this stage of your healing, you should avoid all bread and meat because they are hard to chew and digest, causing problems during this healing stage.

While on the pureed diet stage, you should not eat more than 500 calories a day.  Your 500 calories should be divided into six to eight daily small meals.  Your portions should range between ¼ cup for solids and ½ cup for liquids.

Meal Planning 2 to 6 Months after Surgery

Once you reach this stage of your diet after gastric sleeve surgery, you can eat between 900 and 1,000 calories daily.  It would help if you also aimed to eat between 65 and 75 grams of daily protein.

Bariatricians strongly recommend these guidelines.

You can use some meal examples between 3 servings of Milk, 3 servings of meat, 3 servings of starch, 2 servings of vegetables, and one serving of fruit.  All of these meal options should be lean and low to nonfat.

When you are eating at this stage, you should have your portions between ¼ cup for solids and ½ cup for liquids.  If possible, you should stop taking your high-protein liquid supplement because you will be getting your protein from food.

Daily exercise is essential in maintaining weight loss goals. 

Long-Term Gastric Sleeve Suggestions

Once you cross over the threshold of one-year post-op, you are clear to eat and drink anything, but this freedom can cause problems and unnecessary weight gain.  You may experience adverse reactions to specific food items.

Common foods that cause adverse reactions include:

  • Red Meat
  • Chicken
  • Bread
  • Milk

To help eliminate adverse health side effects, you should aim to eat low-fat food, low in sugar and caloric count; therefore, you receive the best nutritional value that will not cause unnecessary weight gain.

Overall it would help if you were consuming between 900-1,000 calories at this point in your gastric sleeve journey.  You should also maintain prioritizing water intake.  A good rule is to drink at least 2 liters of water daily.

In the end, your stomach sleeve is an excellent tool for losing weight, but it is not a cure.  All of the power and control remain in your hands with your food and exercise choices.  It is easy to slip back into back habits.

Try your best to remember your health goals and remain committed. A helpful way I stay committed is through a gastric sleeve food journal where I track my food with my mood. It helps me stay accountable for my food choices.

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Kelsey Renae Schulze


Kelsey is a post-op bariatric patient who had sleeve surgery in 2018. She is a writer, focusing on a variety of topics given her background in legal studies and criminal justice.