Bariatric Surgery Diet: Prepping for Your Surgery

Thinking about Bariatric Surgery? Nothing is more gratifying than the moment when bariatric patients reach their target weight, are back to feeling content and healthy, and obesity is nothing but a closed chapter in their lives. But, as any bariatric surgeon can tell you, the procedure itself is only one component in your weight loss journey. The key to being a healthy, successful bariatric patient? Your diet! No bariatric surgery results can be sustained without a healthy bariatric diet, both before and after the surgery.

The expert bariatrics and nutrition team at VIDA Bariatrics got together to explain the importance of following a healthy diet before the surgery, so you get a better idea of the process you are about to go through. Never forget though, this is going to be an incredibly fulfilling journey!

Start off right with a Pre-bariatric surgery diet

If you qualify for any of the following procedures: a Gastric Bypass, a Lap Band or a Gastric Sleeve, you should know that healthifying your dietary habits is the key to losing weight and regaining your health. We can never stress this enough: for any bariatric surgery, diet and exercise are as important as the procedure itself. Being healthy must be a constant goal, and if you put in the effort, your VIDA Bariatrics team will be here to guide you and help you finally beat obesity!

Once you are ready to schedule your surgery, ask your doctor what you need to know about the pre-bariatric surgery diet. While the specifics will vary from patient to patient, we want to give you a comprehensive guide so you can be better prepared!


Best way to prep: a healthy diet and a pre-bariatric meal plan

For most patients, the specific date when they need to start following a pre-bariatric surgery meal plan is 2 weeks before the scheduled surgery. Although our experts recommend that from the moment you start to consider bariatric surgery, you should stick to a balanced meal plan and lose a bit of weight. This will make you healthier for the actual surgery, substantially decrease your risks during the surgical procedure and post-operative complications, and speed up the recovery process. Do you need more reasons to start eating better before surgery? Think of nutrition as the foundation for the procedure itself: following a healthy diet designed specifically to prep you for your surgery will ensure that all your meals are balanced, include all necessary vitamins and decrease the amount of fat in your liver. Before going into the OR, doctors want you to follow the right bariatric meal plan in order to have your body at its healthiest!


A Pre-bariatric surgery timeline

Before your doctor clears you for surgery, anywhere from 1 to 12 months can pass. During that time, you should try to follow a healthy routine. These are some simple pre-bariatric eating tips that will help you accomplish your goal:

  • Limit the number of processed foods you eat. Start planning portions and preparing your meals. This habit will also be incredibly valuable after having bariatric surgery. Meals made at home make it easy for you to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients you eat.
  • Eliminate saturated fats and sugary foods or drinks, like juices, energy drinks, and sodas.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, simple carbs, and caffeinated drinks.
  • Quit smoking as soon as possible. Not strictly a diet issue, but when surgery time comes, the less time you’ve been a smoker, the better. Two weeks before the procedure, smoking is completely prohibited.

What to Expect for Your Bariatric Diet

The weeks leading up to the surgery are an active part of the operation, and just as important as a skilled surgeon or an experienced anesthesiologist. These last few days before the big day are the culmination of your efforts!

Between 14 to 7 days pre-op expect your surgeon to put you on a special diet. Depending on the type of surgery you’re getting and the progress you’ve made so far, most patients can expect to follow a soft or liquid diet before bariatric surgery,  although this might sound intimidating, your meal plan will be balanced and include a variety of beverages and liquids that will satisfy your appetite, such as fresh protein shakes and cozy soups or broths, consuming an average of 800 to 1,200 calories per day. Just keep in mind that the 800-1200 calorie pre-bariatric surgery diet is only a guide, your bariatric surgeon will tailor the meal plan to you, so you won’t miss out on vitamins and nutrients.

What to Eat Before Bariatric Surgery

The night before the surgery, follow your diet and consume your last meal when instructed by your doctor. This might be anywhere from 12 to 8 hours before getting to the hospital. The day of your surgery, do a total fast. Don’t drink or eat anything unless your surgeon tells you otherwise. Going into the operating room with a full stomach can even force the doctor to stop the procedure and reschedule you.

Bariatric Surgery Diet Sneak peek, Recipes and more.

Your bariatric surgeon will try to give you as much variety as possible, so you will consume different meal replacements and liquids throughout the day to make you feel satisfied. Look at this daily meal plan example from one of our patients!


Before starting your liquid diet and after you have completed your post-surgery dietary adjustments, you can prepare delicious recipes that are healthy and will support your weight loss efforts. Some of our favorite tips?

Veggie everything: stir-frys, salads, and smoothies. Time for dessert? Blending ½ cup of bananas with ½ cup of frozen strawberries for a yummy “nice” cream. Craving Mexican? What about preparing tacos with a lean protein such as chicken breasts? Contact our registered dietitians to help you get started on delicious recipes and a sustainable bariatric meal plan!

Our biggest tip? Be patient with yourself and your process. Eat better to feel better, getting ready to have bariatric surgery takes time and compromise, let us help make this simple. Contact us now at (619)610-1667 to get you bariatric surgery ready!



Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.