Best Protein Sources
After Gastric Lap-Band Surgery

Best Protein Sources for Gastric Band Patients

If you're considering gastric banding weight loss surgery, or have already had it, eating enough protein becomes an important part of your life.

Why is that, you ask?

Weight loss surgery causes trauma to the body. After bariatric surgery, you have to eat sufficient protein every day to speed wound healing and to preserve your lean body mass as you lose body fat.

Protein is so important in fact, that it forms the base of the Gastric Lap-Band Food Pyramid. This means you should include a source of protein at just about every meal and snack!

Protein rich foods delay stomach emptying and will help keep you feeling full long after you're done with your meal. Hey, when you can only eat 1/2 cup or 1 cup of food at a time, you need to feel full from it!

You should start eating high protein foods right away after surgery. You'll progress through a series of post-op diet stages starting with clear liquids and end up eating solid foods after about a month or so. (Read more about the post-op diet progression.) Try to choose high protein foods in each of the diet stages.

Best Protein Sources: Clear Liquid Diet Stage

Best Protein Sources: Full Liquid Diet Stage

  • Protein Shakes
  • Nonfat/lowfat yogurt (especially nonfat/lowfat Greek yogurt)
  • Skim/fat free milk
  • Soymilk
  • Blenderized lentil soup

Best Protein Sources: Puree/Soft Diet Stage

  • Protein Shakes
  • Nonfat/lowfat yogurt
  • Nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese
  • Lowfat/part skim ricotta cheese
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Poached eggs
  • Fat free or vegetarian refried beans + melted cheese
  • Egg salad made with lowfat mayonnaise or plain yogurt
  • Canned tuna, salmon, or chicken made with lowfat mayonnaise or plain yogurt
  • Canned sardines mixed with plain yogurt
  • Tofu
  • Pureed lentils
  • Pureed poultry, fish, pork or beef

Best Protein Sources: Solid Food Stage

The following is a list of high protein foods. The best are really the ones you'll eat regularly! (It doesn't matter how much merit fish has if you won't eat it, right!?)

Animal Sources

  • Chicken/Turkey
  • Fish
  • Whole eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Egg substitutes
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese, lowfat
  • Meat
  • Whey or Egg Protein Powder

Plant Sources

  • Soy (tofu, tempeh, TVP, soymilk)
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Soy Protein Powder
  • Rice Protein Powder

In my experience as a dietitian, I have found a lot of people have trouble eating high protein foods or they find it time consuming to prepare them (not everyone has the luxury of having time in the morning to prepare eggs!).

I've also heard that it's somewhat difficult to carry high protein foods around with you to have as snacks. ("Is that a hot dog in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me!")

That's why I'm sold on the regular use of protein shakes in addition to meals in order to assure adequate protein intake. Read LOTS more about Protein Shakes.

How Much Protein Do I Need

Use 60-80 grams per day as a general guideline. However, be sure to follow your bariatric center's guidelines if they are different.

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