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NUTRITION- Diet after lap band surgery

The lap band helps you lose weight by:
  • Reducing the amount of food that you can eat
  • Reducing hunger
  • Reducing the amount of kilojoules that you can eat.

With a gastric band you can eat a normal healthy diet, but you will only be able to tolerate very small portion sizes (about ½ cup or a bread and butter plate per meal). You may find some foods a little tricky, such as white bread, rice and steak, however, if you eat slowly and work with your dietitian, you should be able to eat small amounts of all foods. Eating slowly and chewing your food well is the key to success with a gastric band. Make sure that you have time to eat your meals, and try to reduce distractions such as the television so that you can concentrate on eating slowly.

Gastric Band Guidelines

It is essential that you follow the Gastric Band Guidelines for the rest of your life to ensure that you lose your optimal amount of weight and that you be as healthy as you possibly can.

1. Eat slowly, chew well, and when you sense fullness – stop!

2. Eat 3 small evenly spaced meals per day

3. No snacks between meals

4. Separate food & fluids – avoid drinking for half an hour before or after meals

5. Avoid high calorie foods and drinks eg. chocolate, cheese, ice cream, soft drinks

6. Take a multivitamin daily

Follow a Healthy Diet

After years of dieting, some people have forgotten how to eat a normal, healthy diet. It is a good idea to practice healthy eating habits before you have your surgery. Try the following tips:

  • Include all of the 5 Core Food Groups each day. These are:
    • Breads and cereals - pasta, rice, breakfast cereal, legumes, bread
    • Dairy – milk, yoghurt, custard
    • Vegetables – salad, vegetable sticks, stir fry
    • Fruit – fresh fruit, dried fruit, canned fruit
    • Meat & meat alternatives – meat, poultry, fish, canned tuna, nuts, legumes, tofu.
  • Eat breakfast daily. Try a high fiber breakfast such as Fiber One, Wheeta Bix, Special K, whole wheat toast, tomato or an egg or fruit salad and yogurt.
  • Avoid high calorie drinks such as soft drinks, cordials and fruit juices. Drink water or low fat milk.
  • If you’re hungry, have a nutritious snack such as fruit, raw veggies with dip, yogurt, a glass of milk or half a sandwich. Avoid foods high in calories such as chocolate, chips and biscuits.
  • Limit take away foods. Try to make foods from fresh ingredients. If you’re in a hurry, try cooking up some meals on the week ends, then freezing them for later. Casseroles and homemade soups are really good choices to freeze.
  • Do at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. Vigorous exercise means that you should be puffing. Try things like going for a fast walk, swimming or riding an exercise bike.
  • Increase your incidental exercise. Incidental exercise is exercise which is part of your every day life. It includes things like walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, walking to the shops instead of driving or taking public transport and washing the car instead of taking it to the car wash.
  • Reduce screen time. You should limit activities like watching TV and playing computer games to a maximum of 2 hours each day. Go for a walk or have a hot bath for relaxation instead.
  • Drink plenty of water. Some time when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty, so make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. Keep a water bottle with you and take little sips all day long.

Diet for Surgery

Stage 1.
For 1-2 weeks prior to your surgery, you will need to be on a meal replacement (such as Reduce XS or Optifast) to reduce the size of your stomach. This helps to reduce the risk of complications during the surgery. Your dietitian will explain this diet to you in your pre-operative assessment.

Stage 2.
In hospital, you will be seen by a dietitian who will explain stage 2. Basically, you will need to commence a high protein fluid diet post surgery to allow the swelling to go down, then slowly introduce new foods until you can tolerate a full diet. You will need to start on fluids, then upgrade to vitamized foods (soft, pureed) before finally being able to tolerate solid foods. This process usually takes about 4 weeks.

Stage 3.
After the first amount of fluid is put into your band, you should be able to eat a normal diet, but only very small servings at a time. It is important that you follow the Gastric Band Guidelines.

Dietetic Package

The dietitians are available to help and support you both before and after your surgery. We individually tailor an eating plan for you and assist you to follow the Gastric Band Guidelines. The package includes 5 visits with the dietitian.

  1. Pre-operative assessment – assessment of the quality and quantity of your diet, discuss issues that may have caused you to become overweight and discuss problem areas.
  2. Post-operative assessment – assess how you’ve been tolerating your post operative diet and ensure that you’ve been following the Gastric Band Guidelines prior to adding fluid to the band.
  3. Reviews x 3 – ensure that you’ve been following the Gastric Band Guidelines and discuss any problem areas that may have arisen.

** Additional reviews are available as required at an additional cost.

© Victor Gonzalez M.D., P.A. - General and Bariatric Surgery Dallas, TX