After Bariatric Surgery protein becomes a priority. Meeting 60-80 grams of protein per day is the goal. About 20-30 grams of protein per meal/snack (at 3 meals plus one snack per day) will help you reach this daily goal. You can meet this goal by eating foods that are rich in protein, such as:
- Fish/ Seafood
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, but limit highly processed deli meats)
- Dairy products (Greek yogurt, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese)
- Protein powders/shakes
- Soy products
- Beans and Nuts – (limit as your protein source if you are not a vegetarian due to higher carbohydrate quantity in these types, especially pistachios, cashews, chestnuts)
Tips to Reach Your Protein Intake Goal
Consume high protein foods first
Being that you fill up very quickly, it is important you consume high protein foods first at each meal (this will also help you manage food cravings)! Good quality protein sources help to maintain a healthy nutritional status which will be reflected in the condition of your hair, skin, nails, even your teeth.
If you are still hungry after your 3 ounce portion of protein, then you should consume non-starchy vegetables. Protein helps to preserve lean body mass, also known as muscle, while you lose weight. When you consume adequate protein, you may be able to conserve more muscle mass during your weight loss phase. However, some muscle loss is normal during weight loss. Once your weight loss goal is achieved, you can opt for strengthening and toning exercises to build back muscle.
Try to vary your protein
No need to eat chicken at every meal. See above for the nice long list of the options to help you vary your food! Find creative ways to incorporate different types through the week so you don’t get sick of any specific one.
Keep it tasty and healthy
Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking — the healthy way to cook your proteins! Some lean meats need slow, moist cooking to be tender — try a slow cooker for them.
Avoid breading meat or poultry, which adds carbohydrates/starch. But if you really enjoy the breading texture try using ground almonds (as long as you’re not allergic!)
Animal vs plant based proteins
If you are not a vegetarian, then opt for more animal based proteins. Although plant based proteins provide adequate protein, they tend to come with more carbohydrates per serving versus most animal proteins. Also, most animal based foods provide more protein per serving size than plant based foods. So when you fill up fast, it’s important to optimize each bite!