A Balanced, Portion-Controlled Eating Plan for Bariatrics

A Balanced, Portion-Controlled Eating Plan for Bariatrics

A Balanced, Portion-Controlled Eating Plan for Bariatrics

This article was written for Bariatric Choice by Sharon Howard, R.D.

Long after your bariatric surgery, and when you have lost most of your weight, you will also need to think about the quality of your diet. Although you still can only eat small portions, selecting food from all the food groups prevents nutritional deficiencies.

The Bariatric Plate Diet

To help with portions, always use a smaller plate! The food looks crowded and satisfying to the eye. You will probably settle into about 1000-1500 calories a day to maintain your weight. Eat the recommended servings from each of the 6 food groups a day for a balanced nutritional intake. This guide will help give you the basics for good health.

Group Serving (Daily)Food Recommendations
Dairy2 servingsDairy Group – 1 cup skim or 1% milk Greek yogurt—100-120 cal
Protein5-6 ounces1 oz lean beef, pork, chicken, fish, crab , shrimp low fat cheese
1 egg or 2 egg whites, 4 oz tofu or ½ veggies burger with soy
¼ cup tuna, cottage cheese
1-2 protein shakes a day to meet total protein goal of about 70 grams.
Fruit2 servingsSmall apple or other fresh fruit, or ½ c cut-up, ½ banana or mango
15 grapes
1 cup berries or melon
Vegetables (low-cal)2 servings1/2 cup cooked broccoli, tomato, carrots, green beans or 1 cup of raw vegetables
6 oz tomato juice or ½ cup marinara sauce
Starch2-3 servings6 crackers
1/3 cup brown rice or whole wheat pasta or quinoa
½ cup potato, sweet potato, legumes, hot cereal, ¾ cold cereal
1 slice of bread or 6 inch tortilla.,
4 inch pancake. Each serving is about 80 calories.
Note: Bread is limited until 6 months after surgery, and should be used sparingly.
Fat3-4 servings1 tsp olive oil or canola oil, margarine, butter, mayo
1 tbsp salad dressing, peanut butter, avocado, cream cheese
6 almonds or other nuts, 10 peanuts
2 Tbsp light salad dressing, half and half.
Some fat is essential in your diet.

Sample Daily Meal Plan


1 scrambled egg with spinach and low fat cheese

Wait 30 minutes and drink 8 ounces of water.

Snack: ½ cup Greek yogurt with blueberries

Wait 30 minutes and drink 8 ounces of water.


½ cup tuna with 2 tsp mayo. 6 crackers.

Wait 30 minutes and drink 6 ounces of tomato juice

Snack: Protein powder in skim milk with banana pureed in

Wait 30 minutes and drink 8 ounces of water.


2 oz fish, ½ cup sweet potato with butter, cooked broccoli with butter

Wait 30 minutes and drink Crystal Light with protein powder.

Spare the Protein

Don’t be afraid to allow some starch back into your diet. In order for your body to have the energy for normal functions, as well as exercise, you need to eat carbohydrates. You can get carbohydrates in fruit, milk and yogurt and vegetables, not just bread. If you are not eating some carbohydrates, the precious protein you are eating will have to be used for fuel rather than repair and building of body tissues (muscles, skin, hair, organs, blood.) So, spare the protein with carbohydrate as the foundation.

Fat is essential also, and you need a minimum of 15 grams a day to keep your gall bladder active and not forming stones.

No Soft Sliders Please

Refrain form falling back into the food traps that increased your weight before. No chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, candy etc. Avoid fried foods and fatty cream sauces. Most bariatric patients say they cannot tolerate heavy fatty foods after surgery.

Portioned Plates

A number of companies have created helpful, portioned pre-measure plates for bariatric patients.

Portion Perfection offers plates and bowls with food pictures and measurement, along with meal plans and recipes.

Livligais a brand that makes china, glassware and cutlery elegantly designed for the person with portion control needs.

April 19, 2019