Post Bariatric Surgery Calorie Intake Recommendations

Starting a weight loss journey can be overwhelming, especially when following through to bariatric surgery, trying to follow dietary guidelines, exercise routines, etc. After the initial recovery period, keeping yourself active and maintaining a dietary plan, is the key to getting to your desired weight loss goal. These changes are also needed so that you can maintain your ideal weight for the rest of your life. 

The post-op bariatric diet is low in calories and designed to help you lose weight quickly. Your body will burn more calories than it consumes after surgery since you won’t be able to eat nearly as much. This is the primary method through which bariatric patients lose their excess weight. You’ll be eating varying quantities of calories at different stages of the diet. Your daily caloric intake will most likely range between 1000 and 1200 calories by the end of your post-opt diet. However different patients, have different caloric needs. 

Following the prescribed food guidelines after bariatric surgery is extremely crucial. Your health care experts created these guidelines to lower the number of calories you consume while delivering balanced meals that assist in preventing nutrient shortages and preserving muscular tissue. This new way of eating may seem daunting at first, but most patients find that the recommendations become an unspoken part of their daily routine after a while. 

Our general guidelines can greatly help patients who have just undergone bariatric surgery and need to follow their diets. These guidelines consist of what the patient can eat and drink, what needs to be cut or avoided, what specific types of calories or food should be consumed, etc. 

Here are some basic guidelines to take into consideration after bariatric surgery: 

  • Eat a well-balanced meal, in small portions. 
  • Follow a low-calorie, low-fat, and low-sugar diet. 
  • Keep track of your food portions, as well as your calorie and protein intake, daily. 
  • Eat slow and thoroughly chew little bits of food. 
  • Rice, bread, raw vegetables, and fruits, as well as meats that are difficult to chew, such as pork and steak, should be avoided. Ground meats are usually better tolerated. 
  • Do not chew ice, use straws, or drink carbonated beverages. They might cause pain by introducing air into your pouch. 
  • Sugar, sugar-sweetened meals and beverages, concentrated sweets, and fruit juices should all be avoided. 
  • Your calorie intake should be between 300 and 500 calories per day for the first two months after surgery, with a focus on thin and thick liquids. 
  • No more than 1,000 calories should be consumed every day. 
  • To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water and low-calorie or calorie-free fluids in between meals, Caffeine should be avoided in all liquids. 
  • Drink around 1 cup of fluid between each small meal, 6-8 times a day. 
  • A daily hydration intake of at least 2 liters (64 ounces or 8 cups) is recommended. You’ll be able to fulfill this goal over time. 
  • We strongly advise you to not consume any alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is absorbed considerably more quickly into your system after surgery, making its sedative and mood-altering effects more difficult to predict and control. 

What types of food should be eaten?

The type of food you can ingest after bariatric surgery must be very specific, from what types of meat you can consume to how many grams you should take. 


A protein-rich diet can help preserve muscle tissue. Eggs, meats, fish, seafood, tuna, poultry, soy milk, tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt, and other milk products are all high in protein. A minimum of 65 to 75 grams of protein per day should be your target. Don’t be concerned if you are unable to achieve this target during the first several months following surgery. 

What type of supplements should be taken? 

What type of supplements and how many of them you should take are very important. To avoid shortages, you must take the following supplements daily. Please remember to crush or cut all pills into six to eight little pieces. You won’t be able to absorb the whole pill as well you did before the surgery and passing pills through to your stomach may be tough. 


Take a daily chewable multivitamin and mineral supplement with at least 18 mg of iron, 400 micrograms of colic acid, selenium, copper, and zinc. Trader joe’s and Centrum Adult chewable multivitamins are two brands that use this formula. After your operation, take two tablets daily for at least three months, then one tablet daily for the rest of your life. 

Calcium supplements

Calcium shortage and bone disease can be avoided by taking 1,200 to 2,000 milligrams of calcium every day. Take calcium in two to three divided dosages throughout the day to improve absorption, for example, a 500 to 600 mg supplement three times a day. The optimum calcium type is calcium citrate. 

Vitamin D supplement

Each day, take 800 to 1,000 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D. This entire amount should be taken twice a day in divided doses of 400 to 500 IU. Together with your calcium supplement, you should take vitamin D. To avoid taking numerous pills, you can take a calcium-vitamin D combo supplement if you want, if it has the proper amounts.

Vitamin B12 supplement 

Take 500 micrograms of vitamin B every day. It’s available as a pill or in sublingual (under the tongue) forms. 

Additional supplements

Some patients, particularly women who are still menstruating, require supplementary folic acid or iron supplements. This will be discussed with you by your nutritionist. 

Following diet progression after bariatric surgery

You’ll start with a clear liquid diet right after the surgery. After you’ve been released, you can gradually add thicker liquids to your diet. 

You can start eating blended and puréed foods two weeks after surgery. During this time, you can meet your protein needs with liquid supplement beverages or powders that are high in protein more than 20 grams, and low in calories (less than 200 calories). 

It’s important to understand that your stomach will be very small after your surgery, less than ¼ cup or roughly the size of an egg. The aperture via which food exits your stomach is likewise quite small. As a result, while trying a new dish, only take two to three drinks or bites at a time and wait 10 minutes before trying again. This will assist you in determining your tolerance and limits. Soft solids take longer to empty from your stomach than liquids. 

You may get nausea or pain if you are overeating or eating too rapidly. Gravies, sauces, and ice creams are examples of rich, creamy liquids to avoid. 

Nutrition (beginning)

As your first meal after surgery, you will be given clear liquids such as juices, Jell-O, and broth. Although juice and Jell-O are heavy in sugar, your serving will be small at this point, gradually increase the amount of liquid you consume at each meal as tolerated. 

Diet plan for the first 2 weeks after surgery

You’ll start adding thicker beverages with more protein and less fat and sugar. (See the list below for some examples). During this time, you can meet your protein needs with high-protein, low-calorie liquid supplement drinks or powders. 

Recommended thicker liquids:

  • If you can handle milk, try nonfat or 1% milk. 
  • Low-calorie drinks that are lactose-free or soy-based.
  • Pudding with no added sugar.
  • Nonfat, sugar-free yogurt. 
  • Cottage cheese with low-fat content. 
  • Soups made using blended broth or other low-fat soups. 
  • Cream of rice or cream of wheat is refined hot cereals with little fiber. Make them with extra liquid to give them a soupy texture. Oatmeal should not be consumed. 
  • High-protein, low-calorie liquid supplement drinks are available as an option (drinks containing less than 200 calories and more than 20 grams of protein in an 8-to-11-ounce serving). 

Add 2 teaspoons of nonfat dry milk powder, egg substitute, powdered egg, or other protein powder to each ½ cup of nonfat or low-fat milk to boost your protein consumption. You can also use them to thicken soups, hot porridge, and other liquids. 

Remember, between meals, drink 1 cup of water or other non-caloric fluids. Every day, take a multivitamin supplement. 

Diet plant for weeks 2-4 post-Surgery

As tolerated, start adding very small pieces of puréed and soft foods. Take extremely little chunks and thoroughly chew everything. When adding a portion of new food, take no more than two nibbles every 20 minutes. 

Suggested soft foods:

  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Pureed veggies that have been cooked thoroughly 
  • Hot cereals
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Noodles
  • Scrambled egg whites or egg substitute
  • Fruits in a can
  • Tuna fish in a can
  • Fish with a low-fat content
  • Tofu
  • Poultry or lean ground meats

Try to avoid bread and meats that are not easily chewed. 

Your daily caloric intake will most likely be a little more than 500 calories, divided into six to eight small meals at this period. 

Remember, between meals drink 1 cup of water or other non-caloric fluids. Every day, take a multivitamin and mineral supplement, including extra iron if needed, as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements two to three times a day.  

Recommended meal plan for the first two to six months after surgery

Aim for 900 to 1,000 calories each day, with at least 65 to 75 grams of protein. The following foods should be included in your daily servings for a well-balanced nutrient intake: 

  • 3 servings of milk and dairy products (nonfat and low-fat).
  • 3 servings of meat or meat substitute (lean and low-fat).
  • 3 servings of starch (limit bread and rice).
  • 1 fruit serving (avoid dried fruits and fruits with skin).
  • 2 vegetable servings (well-cooked only)

For solid food, ¼ cup is recommended, and for liquids, ½ cup is recommended. 

If possible, stop ingesting high-protein liquid supplement drinks or powders. We recommend eating to meet your protein requirements. 

Meal plan for the first six months after surgery and beyond 

  • Maintain a daily caloric intake of 900 to 1,000 calories. 
  • Reduce your daily calorie intake to three meals and one to two snacks. 
  • Remove high-protein liquid supplement drinks from your diet. 
  • As tolerated, increase the variety of low-fat, low-sugar, and low-calorie foods. 

If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid raw vegetables, fresh fruits with skins, dried fruits, bread, popcorn, nuts, and red meats. 

Dietary recommendations for the long term

You’ll be able to expand the variety and consistency of items in your diet over time. Some meals, such as red meats, chicken, bread, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables, may continue to be poorly tolerated. Continue to track your calories every day and eat low-fat, low–sugar, and low-calorie items. Based on the 900 to 1,000 calorie diet plans, try to reach your objectives for all food groups. 

Drink at least 2 liters of water or non-caloric fluids every day to stay hydrated unless a medical condition prevents you from doing so. After surgery, your surgeon may require you to take protein supplements, for example. You can talk with your doctor, and he will advise you to take a daily multivitamin to make up for any probable micronutrient deficiencies. 

After bariatric surgery, the most important goal will be to eat adequate protein. You don’t want to fast for an extended period following your bariatric surgery, contrary to popular belief. Protein is essential for a healthy recovery and the preservation of muscular tissue, which facilitates fat reduction and promotes a healthy lifestyle change. 


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.