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 ~20-30 grams of protein and ~100-200 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 Favorite Protein Powders

Product Name Type of Protein Calories Protein Carb Fat Sugar Fiber Sweetener
About Time Whey Isolate 100-130 25 1 0 0 0 Stevia
Isopure Whey Isolate 105-110 25 1 0.5 0 0 Sucralose
Syntrax Nectar Whey Isolate 110 24 4 0 0 0 Sucralose, Ace K
Optimum Nutrition Natural 100% Whey Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate 130 24 5 1 2-3 0 Evaporated Cane Juice

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

Product Name Bottle Size Type of Protein Calories Protein Carb Fat Sodium Sugar Fiber Sweetener
About Time Shake Fill & Shake Bottle Whey Isolate 100 24 1 0 41 0 0 Stevia

20 oz. Whey Isolate 160 40 0 0 80 0 0 Sucralose
New Whey Liquid 3.8 oz Whey Isolate 100 42 4 0 100 0 0 Sucralose, Ace K
Premier 11-12 oz Whey Concentrate 160 30 4 3 420 2 3 Sucralose, Ace K
Pure Protein 11 oz Whey Concentrate 170 35 4 1 150 1 1 Sucralose, Ace K

Whichever bariatric protein shake you decide on...

Enjoy! Cheers!

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