paying for bariatric protein shakes and vitamins

on 10/7/10 1:25 pm - Buffalo, NY
I know this is probably a frequent question, but I am wondering if there are any suggestions regarding ways to cut costs for bariatric protein shakes and vitamins.

I'm a grad student right now, so instead of having money I OWE money, big time.  I can only work a few hours a week because of my classes and internship, and the only way I get groceries now is because I receive Food Stamps. The only reason I'm able to get the surgery is because I have a Medicaid managed care HMO, so there is no costs for me, and with all my co-morbidities it's more costly to "leave me fat" than to help me lose weight! However, Food Stamps won't cover bariatric protein shakes, even though they are the major "meal" after surgery and a primary source of nourishment.  Furthermore, Medicaid won't cover such products either.  

The only thing I have found thus far that might help is if I can get a prescription for Fleming Pharmaceutical's "ProBarimin QT" and maybe Medicaid would pay for it because it's medically necessary.  I know it's not the greatest bariatric vitamin and I'd have to take 2x the recommended dose but I don't see how I could afford any of the other bariatric vitamins!  

I did hear from somewhere that Bariatric Advantage has a program to help people get their vitamins - apparently your surgeon fills out a form for them.  Has anyone heard anything about this?

Does anybody know of anything else that might help cut costs or help pay for bariatric shakes and vitamins?

Surgery Date: 12/13/2010 - Wish me luck!
on 10/11/10 12:32 am

I wouldn't be the best advice here as I am trying to learn, with my husband, our best options still and how all the pre-op stuff works. He hasn't been cleared for surgery yet. They have him on this annoying counciling requirement that's going no where.


We are a large family, and we too receive food stamp assistance. We have an income, but it isn't enough for our large family.

I can't help with vitamins, but here are suggestions for protein.

#1. Carnation Instant Breakfast is food stamp friendly! I wouldn't say it's the best option out there. But you can buy it with food stamps, no problem, no questions asked.

#2. Greek Yogurt. Awesome source of protein and also very food stamp friendly.

#3. Six Star Muscle Professional Strength Whey Protein Powder- We found this at Walmart. It is $17.00 for 2 pounds of Whey Protein. This was not taxed in our state and we were able to buy this with food stamps.
on 10/18/10 10:37 pm - Jersey Shore, PA
I think that the bottom line is that you are going to have some intitial costs.  Although they may be a bit higher than your normal gropcery bill, it should even out.  Keep in mind that while using a lotof shakes at first, the idea is to phase them out in favor of "normal" foods.  You still may need a shake here and there but solid foods are your best choices.  I wouldn't worry about stocking up on huge amounts at first.  Get a couple brands/flavors you like and buy more aas needed.  Use milk, soy milk, yogurts, cottage cheese, etc. for your main protein intake as you advance through the stages.

As for vitamins, etc. I don't see the need for higher end products.  A good chewable vitamin as well as calcium, etc. can be found locally.  See where your labs take you.  Again, natural sources are always better.  Look in your local big box store or even grocery store to see what chewables they have.  Compare the desired nutrient levels with the package.

Not the best news, but you should be able to find some alternatives.  Good luck!

September 2006...415 lbs.
April 12, lbs.    Goal...210     Current...181

on 11/22/10 12:21 pm - Louisville, KY
I have survived without shakes except for a generic protein powder that can be mixed into anything. You can use yogurt, oatmeal, and bananas or any frozen fruit to make a pretty good shake. Milk and yogurt are good protein can use the generic powder in soup too....good luck.
Laura B.
on 11/24/10 8:56 am - Lima, OH
I have found muscle milk, eas, and adkins protein shakes you can get on FS. Slim fast high protein is good and you can also get on FS.
I buy centrum chewable take 2 a day there 10 dollars a bottle. My calcium is from Wellesse its liquid not bad tasting 3 tbsp a day its like 4.99 at rite aid. My medicaid paid for pediatric vitamins with iron but I just didnt feel right taking peds vitamins.

Foods I bought on FS, cottage cheese was for me alot of protein. TUna in the pouches, chicken, Weight control oatmeal has less sugar MORE protein and when you add milk its like 11 grams of protein!

I even bought protein bars on food stamps some places will let you get them some wont like walgreens you can get adkins i think but not some other ones. I just put back whats not covered.
Special K has powder with 5grams of protein in it, I put that in my water to help bump up my protein, and there good :)

Message me if you have any more questions I have FS as well and medicaid maybe we can compare notes!
on 12/11/10 8:05 am - Lumberton, NC
I haven't had my surgery yet (scheduled 12/14/10) ut in preparation, my surgeon's office recognizes needing his patients to be successful and has told his patients that while the bariatric vitamins and supplements are the best for us, if you an't afford it then children's chewables (NOT gummies but chewables) are a good secondary option.  

I would suggest you check with your surgeon and let them know of your dilema and see if they can recommend something.  Ask about the children's vitamins.  We were told that we will have to chew them up well before swallowing and as a pre-surgical measure, I have been taking them and they are HARD without a doubt but not unchewable.  I don't know your specific dietary needs so you should check with your surgeon.

As for the shake, we are allowed to have any we want so long as there is sufficient protein in it.  One suggestion was Ensure.  I have been drinking the pwodered stuff from WalMart that costs $17 bottle but its a giant jug.  Again, talk with your surgeon and ask for help.  Do you attend Bariatric support meetings?  have you asked there?  I have gotten several ideas from them for both pre and post surgical life.

I think you really need to rely on your surgeon -- he's out to help you be successful and not wind up in his office again, no matter what insurance you have.  Your surgery is your first tool, your surgeon and his staff should be your second.
Pam G.
on 12/31/10 1:22 am - Mountlake Terrace, WA
I'm still pre-surgery so this is part of my pre-surgery regime.

I have found a good whey protein powder (Biochem Acai & Whey strawberries and cream flavor) 20grams for 1 scoop from  Its low sugar/carbs, has calcium & potassium too.  Made with Stevia - wonderful for those of us that cant do aspartame.

I also have gotten my vitamins from them. They are not chewable but I bought a pill crusher and decided I will just add to my shakes.

Pam G     

on 4/12/11 6:09 am - Maple Grove, MN
I would call Bariatric Advantage (800.898.6888 ) and Celebrate Vitamins (877) 424-1953) and ask them about programs or options --- before I would even look at finding the cheapest possible thing.  You do NOT want childrens' chewables - period.   Centrum ADULT makes a chewable that is good if you can't swallow pills.  

Read this (  if you're unsure what vitamin deficiencies can do --- Make sure you are getting your labs and taking what you need BEFORE you end up wtih problems.   When you signed up for surgery, hopefully they made you well aware you were also signing up for a lifetime of vitamins.

I don't know how far out you are, but  after awhile, you can probably eat enough protein -- if you fill your diet with GOOD greek yogurt (not the ones that call themselves greek yogurt but have 20g sugar), cottage cheese, seafood, fish, chicken etc...

The person who mentioned Body Fortress is right -- at least it is mostly whey protein isolate, very cheap and tastes pretty good.  EAS probably not a good choice as most of them have very little whey protein isolate. Muscle Milk is extremely high in calories unless you look at MM Light.  Atkins is not good, no whey protein at all and very little protein total anyway.   You can customize your protein at and buy in smaller quantities so its preyty cheap -- just an option.

Here is another idea:  for your birthday, christmas, whatever --- give your family/friends links to thinks you need.  Last year I got 90 days of vitamins from my parents and 2 big jugs of GOOD protein from my sister.

**3 years Post-op, 110 lbs lost, at goal, maintaining & loving life!** Diabetes gone!

** I am a Susan G Komen 3-Day Walker --- WLS allowed me to make it all 60 miles in 2010 and 2011 and I'm doing it again in 2012!!  
on 5/27/11 2:07 pm - NY
I know u can get the protein shakes at walmart with FS. I get the "body fortress" whey protein shakes with 52g of protein per shake. You get 2lbs of it for $14.98. I bought my 1st protein mix "unjury" which is unflavored from the barriatric center. But that only had 12oz for $17. So yah I had to shop around also. Hope his helps
on 3/8/15 4:38 am - Ofallon, IL

You are able to buy anything that has Nutrition facts always look on the back of the package if it has that your food stamps will cover. I am not sure about vitamins I my selb and looking into finding a place that takes insurance for vitamins l.

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