It’s not uncommon to want to enjoy some of your favorite foods and restaurants before undergoing bariatric surgery. However, it is very important to develop a new and healthy relationship with food including practicing portion control and sticking to a mostly good-for-you diet. It is important to remember that bariatric surgery requires you to make dietary changes before and after surgery. While your physician will provide your pre-bariatric surgery guidelines to you, it is important to adopt a healthy, low-calorie diet before your surgery.
A pre-surgery diet provides surgical patients with a large number of benefits including:
- Reducing the amount of body fat in the abdominal region (including the liver). If your liver is too large, the surgery may have to be rescheduled. Alternatively, an enlarged liver may to having opened-surgery instead of having a laparoscopic procedure. If your stomach and liver are near each other, an enlarged liver can make it more difficult for surgery to be performed.
- A pre-bariatric diet helps to increase protein intake. By consuming a diet that is high in protein, you can help to preserve and protect your muscle tissues following surgery.
- Patients on a pre-surgical diet are likely to have improved surgical outcomes and a reduced recovery time. By reducing the number of fatty triglycerides in the spleen and liver, you are at lower risk for developing post-surgical complications.
- Eating healthy prior to surgery can help you to prepare for a healthier lifestyle after your procedure. A low-calorie, high-protein diet that is also lower in fat and carbohydrates can help increase favorable results after surgery.
Tips for eating a healthy, well-balanced diet:
- Preparing for bariatric surgery does not mean you have to avoid a special meal (such as a birthday or holiday meal). Enjoy yourself, but opt to consume a protein shake or other low-calorie options for your other two meals that day. For a filling meal replacement, consider our Bariatric Advantage High Protein Meal Replacement.
- Say no to sugar. When baking or making a cup of coffee, you do not necessarily need to add sugar. Consider replacing sugar with cinnamon, honey or applesauce for a healthy variation of some of your favorite treats.
- Switch up your condiments. Replace mayo with mashed avocado. Swap out your sour cream for Greek yogurt; a similar consistency but a much healthier choice.
- Add cauliflower to your grocery list. Cauliflower can easily take the place of mashed potatoes or rice.
- Make zucchini noodles. Say no to traditional pasta and make your noodles out of zucchini.
Remember, eating healthy does not mean you have to forgo all of your old favorites. With a little creativity and practicing portion control, you can prepare yourself for life after bariatric surgery.