Gastric Lap Band Surgery Diet
Diet Stages and Menu Ideas

LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet:

Your diet after LAP-BAND® surgery will begin with clear liquids, then progress to full liquids, puree/soft foods, and finally to solid foods.

Once you've had a stomach band placed, you'll have to gradually work your way back to solid foods.

(More on long term eating: WHAT to eat and HOW to eat.)

There is no "official" LAP-BAND® surgery diet, so how quickly you progress through each stage will be determined by your surgeon.

That means you might meet people who were given different rules. Make sure you follow YOUR bariatric surgeon's gastric band diet recommendations.

Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet:
Clear Liquid Stage

In the first phase of your diet after stomach band surgery, you'll drink/eat only clear liquids. That means liquids you can see through.

This stage will last one day to a week or more, depending on your particular surgeon's guidelines for eating after bariatric surgery.

The purpose of the LAP-BAND® surgery diet at this stage is:

  • To provide fluid and protein
  • To allow your stomach to heal
  • To eliminate the chance of obstruction caused by large food particles

You may find that very little tastes good, it's difficult to drink and/or you don't feel like drinking in this stage of the stomach band diet. Don't worry...these feelings will pass.

You need to drink 48-64 oz. per day. That's 6-8 cups.

Avoid gulping. Limit your fluid intake to sips at a time. This will prevent your new pouch from stretching and prevent nausea/vomiting as well.

Sip, sip, sip, if you are drinking hot tea...all throughout the day. Stop if you feel full or nauseated.

Do the math

If you sip 4 ounces per hour, it will take you 12-16 hours to drink the required 48-64 ounces/day.

That means you need to be regularly sipping throughout all your waking hours in order to take in enough fluid on the post LAP-BAND® surgery diet!

If you're planning to go back to work very soon after your gastric banding procedure, make sure you take a water bottle with you in order to sip throughout the day at work. If you get behind in your fluid intake, it's difficult to play catch up!

The most important point in the first stage of LAP-BAND® surgery diet is to get enough fluid. Dehydration is common right after surgery.

Good Choices for Clear Liquids

  • Water
  • Ice chips (try using a snow cone machine!)
  • Ice cubes
  • Sugar free, non-carbonated beverages (ex:Crystal Light®, Diet Snapple®, Sugar free Kool-Aid®, Diet Gatorade® etc.)
  • Herbal or decaf tea: hot or cold
  • Broth or boullion (vegetable, chicken or beef)
  • Sugar free Popsicles
  • Sugar free gelatin (may or may not be recommended by your surgeon at this stage)
  • IDS Whey Liquid Protein
  • Isopure

Note: sugar free and diet beverages are recommended to keep calories and sugar intake low.

*Protein bullets, Nectar, and Cytosport are clear proteins that can been sipped over ice or blended with a sugar free, non carbonated beverage such as Crystal Light.

Be sure to choose the protein bullets, Nectar protein powder or Cytosport if you will be in the clear liquid stage of the LAP-BAND® surgery diet for longer than one day. It's important to start getting protein as early as possible to promote healing. Don't go days or weeks without protein!

Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet: Full Liquid Stage

The purpose of this second phase of the post LAP-BAND® surgery diet is:

  • To continue to provide fluid and protein
  • To continue to allow your stomach to heal
  • To continue to eliminate the chance of obstruction caused by large food particles
  • To introduce a wider variety of foods

Note: Your bariatric surgeon may recommend combining the clear liquid and full liquid diet stages. Be sure to follow your doctor's guidelines for eating after bariatric surgery.

Good Choices for Full Liquids

  • Protein shakes
  • Skim/fat free milk
  • Soymilk, Almond milk, Rice milk
  • Lactaid® milk
  • Lowfat/lite yogurt
  • Sugar free pudding*
  • Cream of wheat or cream of rice cereal*
  • Reduced fat cream soups
  • Blenderized bean soups (such as lentil or split pea)
  • Anything from the Clear Liquids list

*Note: You can boost the protein content of pudding or hot cereal by preparing them with ready to drink protein shakes in place of milk or water!

Sample Full Liquid Diet Menu

Start off with 1-2 tablespoon portions and work your way up to larger portions as tolerated. Your new pouch will eventually hold 4-8 ounces per meal.

Breakfast: Cream of wheat prepared with Pure Protein ready to drink protein shake (in place of water or milk)
Snack: IDS Whey Liquid Protein ("Protein Bullet")
Lunch: Nonfat yogurt mixed with 1-2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder
Snack: Sugar free pudding cup (vanilla) blended with a spoonful of protein powder (strawberry flavor)
Dinner: Reduced fat cream soup blended with 1-2 tablespoons unflavored protein powder.

Remember, bariatric surgeons vary in their requirements for the length of time spent in this full liquid stage of the gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet. It could be as short as a few days and as long as a month or more.

Make sure you follow YOUR doctor's recommendations on how to eat after stomach band surgery.

Gastric LAP-BAND® Surgery Diet: Puree and Soft Foods Stage

Foods eaten in this stage of the diet after stomach band surgery should be the consistency of mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, and scrambled eggs. Get the idea?

When you start this diet stage will depend on your surgeon's gastric band diet guidelines. Advancing too fast can result in foods getting stuck (i.e., they can't pass the stomach band!) and cause you to vomit. Yuck!!

The purpose of the gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet at this stage is to:

  • Provide foods that minimize the chance of obstruction cause by large food particles. (Remember, everything you eat has to pass the narrow opening created by the belly band.)
  • Continue to provide adequate protein and hydration.

In this gastric band diet stage, you'll begin to separate liquids from solids:


Think about what the consistency of solid food looks like when you mix it with a liquid beverage. Kinda mushy and sloshy, right?

Well, a sloshy mix of food will slip right past the stomach band, leaving your new stomach (aka "pouch") empty. You want to keep that pouch full. When the pouch is full, you feel full.

The longer food stays "above the belly band" and in the pouch, the longer you'll feel full and the less food you'll require. Translation: fewer calories...more weight lost.

That's why you shouldn't eat and drink at the same time. Make sense?

Start separating solids from liquids in this puree/soft food phase of the gastric band diet, and continue doing so for the rest of your life!

No liquids 30 minutes before or after solid foods.

Your bariatric surgeon may suggest slightly different timing. Be sure to follow his/her guidelines.

Good Choices for Puree/Soft Foods

  • Protein...
  • Scrambled eggs and poached eggs
  • Fat free or lowfat cottage cheese
  • Fat free or lowfat ricotta cheese
  • Lowfat cheese
  • Egg salad made with lowfat mayonnaise or plain yogurt
  • Canned tuna, salmon, or chicken mixed with lowfat mayonnaise or plain yogurt
  • Tofu
  • Fat free or lowfat refried beans
  • Pureed lentils
  • Pureed beef, poultry, pork or fish (blend when dry and add broth to desired consistency)
  • Fruits and Vegetables...
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed bananas
  • Pureed fruit
  • Stage 1 baby food fruits and vegetables
  • Cooked and mashed vegetables
  • Starches/Grains/Cereals...
  • Cream of wheat
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Hummus
  • Fats and Oils (use sparingly)...
  • Lowfat mayonnaise
  • Lowfat salad dressing
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Guacamole

You can also eat/drink:

Include protein at every meal and snack

Get in the habit of including a good source of protein at every meal and snack.

Protein is an essential component of your permanent diet after LAP-BAND® surgery. It will help keep your pouch full and therefore help you feel full.

LAP-BAND® Post Op Diet: Eat 5 small meals per day

Get in the habit of eating 3 small meals as well as protein supplements at mid morning and mid afternoon.

Even after you move on to solid food, 5 small meals a day is how you should continue to eat for the rest of your life!

Sample Puree/Soft Food Menu

Breakfast (choose one)

  • Plain nonfat yogurt blended with 1-2 Tablespoons chocolate protein powder and a few slices of mashed banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Lowfat/Part skim ricotta cheese mixed with applesauce. Sprinkle with apple pie spice.
  • Protein shake
  • Scrambled egg prepared with small amount of melted cheese.
  • Lowfat cottage cheese with mashed berries.

Lunch or Dinner (choose one)

  • Pureed lentil or black bean soup (pulse canned soup in a blender to desired consistency)
  • Refried beans with melted cheese
  • Tofu with pureed veggies
  • Lowfat/part skim ricotta cheese mixed with 1-2 spoons of spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with shredded lowfat cheese and heat until cheese melts.
  • Scrambled egg served in a cup of broth
  • Protein shake
  • Poached egg with salsa
  • Canned tuna mashed with plain nonfat yogurt and mustard. Eat with a few spoons of applesauce.

In Between Meal Snacks

Note: When you are unable to eat more than a few ounces of food, supplementing your diet with 2 protein drinks per day (each with 25-30 grams of protein), gives you a good solid base of protein to build on!

After you've progressed though clear liquids, full liquids and pureed and soft foods, you're ready for a solid diet and your lifelong gastric LAP-BAND® surgery diet.

Bon appetit!

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