Lap Band Surgery Diet
What to Eat 

Post-op Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet

Once you're back to eating regular solid foods after stomach band surgery, you'll need to make permanent changes in the way you eat.

This includes changes in:

We'll focus on what to eat here.

(Immediately following stomach band surgery, you'll progress through a series of stages from clear liquids to solids. Read more about gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet progression.)

After a Gastric Banding Procedure:
What to Eat

Just because you have weight loss surgery doesn't mean you don't have to watch what you eat. Quite the opposite! Every bite counts even MORE, now that you can only eat a small amount.

Sure, bariatric banding will make it easier to control the amount of food you can eat, but it's still up to you to make good, smart, healthy food choices.

Weight loss surgery doesn't affect your brain...

...your brain may still tell french fries...go buy some M&M's!

Stomach band surgery will enable you to eat less of these foods than you previously would have, but these foods aren't the kinds that are best for you in the long run. (But I'm sure you don't need ME to tell you that!)

Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet:
High in Protein

Eating after bariatric surgery involves planning meals around protein rich foods because these delay stomach emptying and will help you feel full the longest.

This DOESN'T mean you should eat protein and ONLY protein. No! A gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet is NOT the Atkins diet. Sorry.

By suggesting you eat a diet "centered around protein" I simply mean that you should include a good source of protein at most meals and snacks.

See Best Protein Sources.

Please see the Gastric Band Food Pyramid that I developed (meet me) to see what an overall balanced gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet should consist of. Download it and hang it on your refrigerator! (You'll need Adobe to open it.)

The Gastric Band Pyramid suggests your new diet should contain:

  • 9-11 servings of protein foods
  • 2-4 servings of fruits
  • 2-4 serving of vegetables
  • 4 servings of whole grains
  • 4 servings of healthy fats

You can also view a gastric band food pyramid and corresponding portion sizes in a preview of a food journal I designed specifically for gastric band diet tracking: The Gastric Band Companion (Clicking on the link will take you to

Here's how to fit in the recommended number of serving from each food group over the course of one day:

Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet: Sample Meal Pattern

Breakfast: 3 Proteins + 1 Fruit + 1 Healthy Fat

Snack: 1 Protein + 1 Fruit

Lunch: 2 Proteins + 1 Whole Grain/Starch + 1 Vegetable + 1 Healthy Fat

Snack: 2 Proteins + 1 Whole Grain/Starch

Dinner: 2 Proteins + 1 Whole Grain/Starch + 1 Vegetable + 2 Healthy Fats

Snack: 1 Whole Grain/Starch


Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet Sample Menu

Breakfast: Protein Shake: 1 cup water + 1 scoop protein powder + 1 cup frozen berries + 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Snack: 1 part skim mozzarella string cheese + 1 small apple

Lunch: 1/2 sandwich: 1 slice whole wheat bread (toasted if necessary) + 2 ounces turkey breast + 1/8 avocado + slices of tomato as desired.

Snack: Other 1/2 of your turkey sandwich

Dinner: 1/2 baked sweet potato topped with 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Eat with small garden salad: 1/2-1 cup salad greens + 2 teaspoons olive oil for dressing.

Snack: 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal. Sprinkle with apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice.

Note: I'm always surprised when I hear the recommendation to "eat only 3 meals per day and avoid snacking in between."

Your new pouch can only hold 4-8 ounces at a time. There is NO WAY to get all the nutrition you require by eating only 12-24 ounces of food (Three 4-8 ounce meals.)

Your gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet SHOULD include 3 meals + 2-3 planned snacks. Just make sure the portions are small and the choices are smart at each sitting.

Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet: Basic Meal Planning Principles

If you stick to a couple of basic meal planning principles, your diet after LAP-BAND® should be a breeze!

  1. Include protein at most meals and snacks
  2. Include foods from at least 2 food groups at any meal or snack.

(Read more about each food group.)

Here are some examples...

Quick and Easy Post LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet Suggestions

  • Roll up slices of turkey and lowfat cheese. Eat with 1 small apple.
  • "Deviled Egg(s):" Remove the yolk from 1-2 hard boiled eggs. Fill centers with hummus. Sprinkle with paprika.
  • Mix canned tuna or canned salmon with plain yogurt and mustard. Add sliced grapes and serve over salad greens.
  • Prepare cooked oatmeal with a ready-to-drink protein shake (such as AchievONE, OhYeah!, or LaBrada Lean Body). Add a few slices of banana.
  • Bake a small sweet potato. Slice open and pour canned vegetarian chili down the center (Amy's is a good brand). Sprinkle with lowfat shredded cheese.

Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet: Eat Solid Foods

Once you've progressed to the solid food stage, you should be eating just that...

...solid foods.

Solid foods will sit above the stomach band and therefore stay in the stomach pouch longer than liquids will. Liquidy foods slip right past the band and leave you feeling hungry.

Therefore, if a food will easily slip through a strainer... probably will slip right past the band too, and probably won't fill you up and/or keep you full for very long.

Example: Soup or yogurt will slip through a strainer.

Therefore, soup or yogurt may not make you feel as full as something more "solid" like tuna fish.

Question: If solid foods sit above the stomach band and keep you feeling full, and liquids slip right past the band and leave you feeling hungry...

...what affect do you think solid + liquid at the same time would have?

Answer: Solid food + liquid beverage = liquid mush that will slip past the band easier than solid food without a liquid beverage would. Therefore...


In general, you should avoid liquids 30 minutes before or after solid foods. However, your bariatric surgeon may suggest slightly different timing. Be sure to follow his/her guidelines.

Gastric Band Food Journal

I can't talk about what to eat without suggesting to write it down!

There is some trial and error involved with your new gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet. Some foods will be well tolerated and some might not ever feel like they "go down" properly anymore.

In the beginning, keeping a food journal will help you assess which foods work and which don't.

If you're doing great with your diet and losing weight...keep a food journal

Recording what you eat when you are doing well and losing weight will provide you valuable menus to return to when you're not doing so great.

Remember when you were losing 2 pounds per week? Oh's when you were having scrambled egg whites for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch, baked chicken and salad for dinner and protein shakes in between. And you'd know that because you could go back and look at your old food journal records!

If you're not doing great with your diet and not losing weight...keep a food journal

The simple act of recording might be just what you need to pull yourself back on track. Even if never show the journal to anyone, research suggests that record keeping will help you eat less.

Record in your food journal for the first week of every month

Nobody journals every single day for their entire lives! Recommending to journal one week per month is one of my favorite recommendations to give! It's just such a smart idea.

If you're doing well, journaling will simply generate more menus that you'll be able to return to at a later time.

If you're not doing so well, journaling may help pull you back on track before you've gotten too far off.

So make a commitment...NOW...that you'll journal at least the first week of every month.

The Gastric Band Companion is a 3 month food journal that I designed especially for gastric band diet tracking. I hope you enjoy using it! (clicking on the link will open a new window at

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