Bariatric Protein Shakes
An Important Part of a Gastric Lap-Band Diet

Bariatric protein shakes help fill the protein gap that may be present in your diet after gastric lap-band surgery.

Protein is a very important part of the post-op diet. That's because it delays stomach emptying and will help keep you feeling full long after you're done with a meal. It also helps promote healing after surgery. (See how protein forms the base of a Gastric Lap-Band Food Pyramid.)

After gastric banding surgery, it's challenging to get enough protein through diet alone because of the small portion sizes you're limited to. You may find yourself struggling to get the amount of recommended protein by simply "eating."

How much protein do I need?

Recommendations vary, but you can use 60-80 grams per day as a general guideline. However, follow YOUR bariatric center's specific guidelines if they differ.

Bariatric protein shakes offer, on average, a whopping 15-30 grams of protein per serving. That's 1/4-1/2 of your minimum daily requirement in one 8 ounce shake. That's a lot of "bang for the buck!"

LOVE Your Bariatric Protein Shakes

The only way to reap the protein benefit from shakes is to love them enough that you drink them regularly (hopefully you'll even find yourself looking forward to them)!

If you're going to drink bariatric protein shakes for the rest of your life, you also need to have a good variety of recipes to alternate between. If you drink vanilla, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla, and vanilla protein shakes day in and day out, you'll come to a point where you want to puke at the thought of vanilla shakes!

Bariatric Protein Shakes: Make Them or Buy Them

You have two choices when it comes to your protein drinks:

  • Make your own
  • Select ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shakes

Making Your Own Bariatric Protein Shakes

  1. Pick a liquid that will be the base for your shake
  2. Add protein powder
  3. Add noncaloric flavorings
  4. Add ice
  5. Optional: Add fruit

(If you don't imagine yourself "cooking"...skip ahead to Selecting Ready-to-Drink Bariatric Protein Shakes)

1. Pick a liquid base for the shake

The base of your shakes can be water, tea (especially green), decaf coffee, skim milk, lowfat soymilk, nonfat yogurt, or some combination of these. For the fewest calories, use water, tea, or decaf coffee. Skim milk, soymilk, and nonfat yogurt add extra protein to the shake and will make it a little creamier, but they also add ~90-130 calories to the mix.

Use 4-8 ounces of whichever fluid you choose as the base of your shake (use 4 oz. immediately after surgery, eventually working your way up to 8 oz.).

2. Add protein powder

Here's where it's possible for your head to start spinning. There are so many brands of protein powder out there I can't count them with all my fingers and toes!

You'll find whey (milk) protein powder, soy protein powder, egg protein powder and even rice protein powder. Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Cappuccino.... So many to choose from!

I suggest you choose WHEY protein if you can use milk products. If you're lactose intolerant, make sure you choose a lactose free whey protein powder (whey ISOLATE is lactose free whereas whey CONCENTRATE may not be) or soy protein powder.

Choose a protein powder with ~15-30 grams of protein and ~100-150 calories.

Keep in mind how protein shakes will contribute to your protein requirement for the day. If you drink 2 shakes that have 30 grams of protein each, you'd meet your minimum protein requirement (60 grams) from the shakes alone! If you eat other protein rich foods during the day, you might not need a shake that's so high in protein. (Read more on best protein sources.)

My Top 6 Favorite Protein Powders

Protein Powders that are a mixture of
Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate

BSN Lean Dessert Protein Powder : 1 scoop= 130 calories, 20 grams protein. Flavors: Cinnamon Roll, Banana Nut, Banana Creme, Vanilla Creme, Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Coconut

Champion Nutrition Pure Whey: 1 serving = ~ 130 calories (varies by flavor), 23 grams protein. Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Cocoa-Mochaccino, Cookies & Cream, Banana Scream.

Protein Powders that are Whey Protein Isolate/Lactose Free
(Acceptable for Gastric Bypass Surgery Too!)

Syntrax Nectar : 1 scoop ~ 90-100 calories (varies a little by flavor), ~24 grams protein. Flavors: Chocolate Truffle, Vanilla Bean Torte, Roadside Lemonade, Lemon Tea, Apple Ecstasy, Latte Cappuccino, Caribbean Cooler, Crystal Sky, Fuzzy Navel, Strawberry Kiwi, Twisted Cherry

Jay Robb Whey Protein: 1 scoop = 100 calories, 25 grams protein. Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry

Whey to Go: 1 scoop = ~110 calories (varies by flavor), 17-18 grams protein. Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Unflavored

Isopure: 1 scoop = ~100 calories (varies by flavor), 25 grams protein. Flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry

3. Add Noncaloric Flavorings: Lots of Flavor with NO calories

  • Extracts (vanilla, almond, banana, coconut, etc.)
  • Spices (cinnamon, apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, etc.)
  • Sugar free syrups**

**If you don't already know about DaVinci Sugar Free Syrups , you should! These are ZERO calorie syrups that come in 30 different flavors! You could make a different flavored shake every day of the month!!

4. Ice

Adding ice to your protein shake will make it nice and thick!

5. Optional: Add fruit (~ 1/2 cup)

Adding fruit to your shakes will add lots of good nutrition and necessary fiber. Any of the berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) add lots of flavor for very few calories (A full cup of berries is only ~ 60 calories!) Keep bags of frozen berries in your freezer at all times.

To prepare: Throw all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more ice if necessary. You can also add a packet of Splenda if you need to sweeten.

(Read about the best blenders at my other website, Your Personal Nutrition Guide.)

How many calories are in my homemade protein shake?

1 cup water/tea/or decaf coffee + 1 scoop protein powder (100-150 calories) + sugar free syrup and/or extracts and spices + ice = only 100-150 calories!

(Using milk/soymilk/yogurt increases calories to 200-250).

Bariatric Protein Shake Recipes

The possible flavor combinations are endless. For help getting started, see a list of MY Bariatric Protein Shakes Recipes!

Remember, protein shakes will be a permanent fixture in your diet so you need to experiment until you find recipes you actually look forward to drinking :-)

Selecting Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Bariatric Protein Shakes

If you're not one to mess with a blender and a bunch of ingredients, RTD shakes are a good choice for you.

Ready to drink shakes require absolutely no work on your part...

...except to find a flavor that you enjoy.

You can even carry RTD shakes with you (whether traveling or simply when you'll be away from the house for the day) so you're never too far away from your next high protein meal.

Thankfully there are plenty of RTD bariatric protein shakes (high in protein, low in sugar and low in calories) on the market. Your only job will be to find one(s) you enjoy.

Choose a RTD shake with 100-250 calories and 15-30 grams of protein with less than 5 grams of sugar.

There will be some trial and error involved in finding the brand and flavor you like best.

My Favorite Ready-to-Drink Bariatric Protein Shakes

Isopure: 8 oz. = 60 calories, 15 grams protein (whey protein isolate), 0 grams sugar, Lactose Free. Sweetened with Sucralose (Splenda). Available in 2 fruit flavors. Acceptable after gastric bypass surgery too.

Pure Protein: 12 oz. can = 150-170 calories, 35 grams protein, 1 gram sugar, 90%DV calcium. Sweetened with Sucralose and Acesulfame K. Available in Vanilla Cream, Strawberry Cream, Banana Cream, Cookies & Cream, Frosty Chocolate, Chocolate Mint

VHT Extreme Smoothie: 11 oz. can = 160 - 170 calories, 35 grams of protein and 60% DV of calcium. Sweetened with Sucralose (Splenda). Available in Chocolate Dream and Vanilla Cream. Note: This RTD shake is milk based and therefore not acceptable if you are lactose intolerant. Also not suitable after gastric bypass surgery.

Whichever bariatric protein shake you decide on...

Enjoy! Cheers!

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