Perfect Day Eating

May 13, 2013

Many weight loss surgery patients are often frustrated and confused with what they should be eating. It is tough to eat under 1 cup of food and still fit in the necessary amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.

What would the “perfect” day of eating for a patient with either gastric bypass or Lap-Band surgery look like? Of course, nobody eats perfectly and nobody wants to eat the same thing everyday. But having a template such as this can be a great resource for the new or struggling weight loss surgery patient.

“The Perfect Day”

Breakfast:  High Protein Oatmeal with skim milk and fruit

Many bariatric surgery patients have a harder time eating solid food first thing in the morning. Oatmeal is arguably one of the best foods on earth. Consisting of nothing more than whole grain oats which are high in fiber and contain a small amount of protein, oatmeal starts your day off right with filling carbohydrates and lots of soluble fiber. Mix in a small amount of flavorless protein powder to increase the protein content (about 5 grams worth of protein). Add ¼ cup of calcium rich skim milk and a serving of cut up fruit on top for a great start to your day. Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar to sweeten. Note: stay away from instant oatmeal; we are talking the old-fashioned here.

Lunch:  Mixed green salad with sliced grilled chicken and/or hard boiled eggs on top. Oil and vinegar or lemon juice for dressing.

Most bariatric surgery patients can tolerate lettuce and raw vegetables. It is always a challenge to get enough vegetables in each day. Lunch is a great time to load up on an easy salad. Add grilled chicken or eggs for protein and you have the “perfect” lunch.

Midafternoon snack:  Low fat cottage cheese with fruit (mandarin oranges, pineapple, peaches). Low sodium V-8 juice

Cottage cheese is a nice consistency of food for a quick midafternoon snack. For the busy worker who doesn’t have ½ hour to eat, this would work good. It is low in fat and high in protein. Fruit is the perfect paring with cottage cheese and this is a great chance to get a serving of fruit in your day. Start it off with a V-8 juice for an extra vegetable serving.

Dinner:  Wild Alaskan Salmon, steamed broccoli, black beans

Fish is easier to chew and tends to go down easier than other meats. We all know the health benefits of salmon. What is confusing is how to buy it. Farmed and wild salmon are usually the two choices. Wild salmon is always the best choice. It is higher in the heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and has less toxic PCB’s (Polychlorinated Byphenols), which can be cancer causing. Eating fish 3 times per week is a must for any bariatric surgery patient. Taking an Omega-3 supplement is also a good idea. Ask your Dietitian to recommend some for you.

Broccoli adds another vegetable serving and a great one at that. Many call broccoli a miracle food for its many healthful benefits. Eating broccoli can lower your chance of having cancer due to its high percentage of phytochemicals (cancer fighting agents). This or any cruciferous vegetable is worth eating almost daily. Steaming it will allow the broccoli easier passage through your stoma without taking too many of those phytochemicals away via heat. Broccoli is low in calories but fills your pouch causing you to feel satisfied.

Finishing the meal with some black beans adds more cancer fighting opportunities for your body while providing an abundance of fiber for bowel health.

To sum up; this “perfect day” includes 3-4 servings of vegetables, 2 servings of fruit, 60 grams of protein, 25 grams of fiber, and very low sugar content. It is food that will fill up your pouch, keeping you satisfied for hours. Start here and make your adjustments each day with your meal

Michael Murphy, RD, is the bariatric dietitian for The Weight Loss Institute of Arizona in Tempe, Arizona.