After a gastric bypass, you will need a minimum of 60 grams of protein every day. Some doctors and dieticians recommend more than that. In the first few weeks or months after surgery, you will be able to eat only a few ounces of food at a time, and therefore it will be difficult to get enough protein just from the food that you eat. For that reason, most gastric bypass patients use protein supplements or protein shakes to make sure they get enough. However, some people just don’t like the taste of those protein shake. Plus, they can be expensive. If you are careful and creative, you may be able to get enough protein without using them at all.
What You’ll Need
foods high in protein
unflavored protein powder
skim milk or soy milk
dry milk powder
Read the labels on your food to see how much protein you’re getting and write it all down so you can keep track of it. If you’re eating something that doesn’t come in a package will a label, look up the information online. Make sure you calculate how many grams of protein are in the amount you are eating, not just how many grams are in a serving. For instance, a serving of yogurt may have ten grams of protein, but the label might say one serving is eight ounces. However, right after your gastric bypass, you will not be able to eat eight ounces at one time. You might eat two ounces, which would only be two or three grams of protein.
Focus on foods high in protein. Foods high in protein include meat, chicken, seafood, beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, eggs, skim milk, and tofu.
In the early days after your surgery, you will probably be on a pureed food diet. Everything you eat must be the consistency of baby food. Good choices that are high in protein for the pureed diet include yogurt, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, pureed egg salad (just put it in the blender for a minute), low fat ricotta cheese, refried beans, pureed chili with beans, and tuna pureed with a little low fat mayo.
Eat Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt. Greek yogurt is much higher in protein than regular yogurt. It’s also not as sweet as regular yogurt, so you can add some Splenda or some sugar free jam to it to give it more flavor and make it sweeter if you like.
Drink skim milk or soy milk. Both have about eight grams of protein in one cup. Many doctors and dieticians will advise you not to drink beverages that contain calories because drinking your calories is an easy way to gain weight, but protein supplements are an exception to that rule. Protein shakes usually have about 200 calories per shake, but skim milk only has about 80 calories per cup. Of course, skim milk has less protein than a protein shake, too, so it might take ounces of skim milk than protein shake to give you enough protein for the day. Calculate the calories wisely, but as long as you’re not getting too many calories, it’s fine to use skim milk or soy milk to help meet your protein needs.
Prepare foods like cream soups, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal with skim milk instead of water.
You can add dry milk powder to skim milk to make “fortified milk” and use that to prepare your cream soups, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal instead of just using plain milk. Use 1/3 cup of dry milk powder to one cup of skim milk. You could just drink fortified milk, too, but it doesn’t taste that good. It will taste OK in food, though.
You can add unflavored protein powder to food if you need to boost the protein content. Unflavored protein powder goes well in all sorts of foods, including mashed potatoes, soups, stews, chili, bean dishes, pudding, oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc. Even though it is unflavored, it may affect the taste of your food if you add too much, and it may also change the texture of your food. Start by adding a tiny bit and stir your food well, then see if you think you can add any more.
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. http://www.asbs.org/Newsite07/resources/bgs_final.pdf. ASMBS Guidelines.