Post Gastric Band Diet

The following advice is designed to reduce the likelihood of any complications following surgery. It is therefore very important that you follow this advice closely. There are 4 stages. Do not be tempted to skip stages or rush things. The advice is designed to help you get all the nutrients you need while you are recovering and healing following your surgery.

You should be led by your body and how you are feeling. Do not try to copy or follow anyone else who has a gastric band; everyone is different. If you progress too quickly and then struggle, go back to the previous stage for a few days more.

You should aim to be eating ‘normal’ foods approximately 5-6 weeks after your operation.

Immediately after your surgery, once your surgeon has advised that you may sip freely: Start taking your calcium and multivitamin/mineral supplements (if taking) and commence Stage One (as below).

Stage one: Fluid Phase (first 1-2 weeks after surgery)

All drinks should be smooth (no bits or lumps) and able to be sucked through a straw.

  • Start with sips and if these feel comfortable, gradually increase the amount you take in one go. Be careful not to gulp your drinks as this may result in vomiting.
  • Aim to have a minimum of 2 ½ liters (4 pints) each day to avoid becoming dehydrated. At least 1-1.5 liters of this should be nutritious liquids (see below).
  • Avoid all fizzy drinks.
  • While it is fine to drink tea, coffee, squash, water, etc. you should make sure these are in addition to any drinks with a nutritional content (see below), not instead of.

Nutritious liquids:

  • Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk fortified with skimmed milk powder (1-2 tablespoons per 200 mL)
  • Build-Up, Complan (or own-brand equivalents): please note that these supplements are suitable for diabetics in the quantities prescribed below.
  • Slimfast
  • Smooth soup (homemade or tinned) fortified with 1-2 tablespoons skimmed milk powder.
  • Smoothies (fruit blended with milk): Homemade is best. Shop-bought varieties will be too high in sugar.
  • Unsweetened fruit juice (limit to 1-2 small glasses a day).

Example meal plan

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie (200 mL)

Mid-morning: Fruit juice (200 mL)

Lunch: Complan or Build-Up or glass semi-skimmed milk including 2 tbsp skimmed milk powder (200 mL)

Mid-afternoon: Slimfast (200 mL)

Dinner: Fortified soup (200 mL)

Supper: Build-Up or Complan (200 mL)

(Plus tea/coffee/sugar-free squash etc. in between)

When you feel ready, move on to Stage 2 for 1-2 weeks

Stage two: Soft blended/Puree (week 3)

  • It is still important to avoid lumps at this stage. Make sure foods are blended well.
  • Texture-wise you are aiming for yoghurt consistency.
  • Have 4-6 ‘meals’ a day. Aim to have a small serving of the following every couple of hours during the day.
  • Start with about 2-3 tablespoons per meal and increase this gradually if and when this feels comfortable (to about 4-6 tablespoons).
  • Chew well and eat slowly. Stop as soon as you feel full.
  • Do not drink at meal times. Wait at least 30 minutes after you eat before you drink anything.
  • Make sure you include a protein source at each meal. This is important to help your recovery.

Sample meal ideas/plan (Stage 2)

Breakfast Virtually fat-free yoghurt/fromage frais ½ -1 soggy weetabix or ready brek (runny); Homemade fruit smoothie (made with yoghurt)

Mid-morning Blended tinned fruit (unsweetened); Virtually fat free yoghurt/fromage frais; Sugar-free Angel delight/custard

Lunch An example would be one of the following:

  • Thick, smooth soup (add skimmed milk powder if it doesn’t contain meat, fish, chicken or lentils)
  • Blended baked beans and mashed potatoes
  • Blended fish in sauce with mashed potatoes
  • Liquidized meat/chicken/fish stew with liquidized vegetables and mash
  • Liquidized pasta with cheese and vegetable sauce

Midafternoon As mid-morning

Dinner As lunch
When you feel ready, move on to Stage 3

Stage three: Soft texture (week 4)

The texture you are aiming for now is mashed food you could eat with just a fork or spoon.

  • You do not need to add any extra milk, fruit juice, Slimfast etc. any more as you can now have regular foods.
  • Lumps are now allowed! It is important you chew all food well and take your time.
  • You should reduce the frequency of meals to 3-4/day (or 3 plus a snack) and avoid eating in between. Try to establish a routine for having three meals a day, even if you are not hungry initially at these times. This will help you to lose weight in the long term.
  • Continue to separate drinks from meals.

Meal ideas: 1 of the following options:

¾ cup low sugar cereal (not muesli) with skimmed/semi-skimmed milk, Scrambled eggs; Baked beans; Minced meat or turkey e.g. cottage or shepherd’s pie; Bolognese sauce; Fish in sauce/fish pie; Soft ready meals e.g. cauliflower cheese, lasagna, macaroni cheese with soft (overcooked) pasta, cous cous or mash potato and soft (overcooked) vegetables (tinned are often soft)

Snack ideas

Rice pudding, yoghurt, fromage frais, stewed or soft tinned fruit, cottage cheese, sugar-free mousse/whipped/custard

Stage four: Normal texture (approximately 5 weeks after surgery)

Now aim for 3 meals a day and 1-2 small snacks between your meals. The long term aim is to have 3 tea-plate sized meals a day and a mid-meal snack of something like a piece of fruit or yoghurt. You do not need to add any extra liquid calories or additional protein any more. You no longer need to have extra milk, skimmed milk powder, fruit juice or Slimfast. It might be tempting to skip meals if you aren’t hungry as a way to speed up weight loss but this will result in you developing unhelpful eating behaviors or eating too much at your next meal. You should try to include all types of textures now (remembering to chew really well). If it is a new food, put only a very small amount in your mouth and chew extra well.

Following is some advice to help with your weight loss journey:

  • Remember to choose foods with good texture: avoid liquid-type meals as these will not satisfy you and result in large portions.
  • You will not come to harm by eating tea-plate sized portions at your three meals per day.
  • Your meal should take between 20-30 minutes to eat; do not override the restrictive effect by eating excessively slowly.
  • Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.
  • Do not eat and drink at the same time.
  • If you feel hungry between meals, take a drink to make sure you are not confusing this with thirst.


As your diet becomes more solid and you progress through the stages, it is still important to maintain your fluid intake. Suitable choices would include water, no-added sugar squash, tea and coffee and up to 1/2 a liter skimmed/semi-skimmed milk per day. Avoid fizzy drinks as these may cause discomfort. You should not drink with your meals; you may find this difficult at first particularly if you are used to drinking with your meals. Aim to wait 30 minutes after a meal before drinking

Frequently asked questions

Are there any foods I should avoid with a gastric band?

You may find it difficult to tolerate some foods, and this varies from person to person. Common foods known to cause problems may be dry meat, soft white bread, stringy or very fibrous vegetables, sweet corn, nuts, dried fruit, pips and seeds. Avoid these until you have established yourself on your solid diet and always try foods cautiously. If you don’t tolerate a food, try it again in a few weeks’ time. There is a lot of adaptation in the first few months. It is highly likely you will manage it with time.

Will I need to take vitamins after my operation?

Whilst it is not essential, you may wish to take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement in the initial period after your surgery. The reason for this is that during this time you may only manage very small portions and your diet may not be able to provide all the nutrients that you require. As you progress through the stages and start to get into a routine with your meals you should no longer need this supplementation.

Possible problems and solutions with a gastric band

Vomiting: You should not expect to be sick with a gastric band. If you are, it is likely you have either:

  • Eaten too much
  • Eaten too quickly
  • Not chewed the food enough
  • Had a drink too near to the meal

Ask yourself if any of these could be likely causes and try to avoid repeating the ‘mistake’ at the next meal. If you continue to be sick and it can’t be explained by the above, you should contact your surgeon or GP.

Constipation: If you are suffering with this, check to see if you are drinking enough fluid. You should have at least 2½ liters a day. Try to choose more high fiber foods such as wholegrain products, fruit and vegetables. Regular exercise will also help to alleviate constipation. If constipation persists, then you can safely take laxatives such as Resource Optifiber, milk of magnesia or Senna.

What to do if food gets stuck?

This may happen if you have eaten food that was too solid, eaten too fast or too much, or as a result of eating certain ‘problem’ foods. This will feel uncomfortable and you may wretch or vomit. It usually resolves itself, but you can try repeatedly swallowing small quantities of cold sparkling water or Diet Coke, as the fizz may help to dislodge the lump. If the trouble persists, please contact your surgeon or GP.

A reminder of the dietary goals for successful weight loss with a Gastric Band

  • Have 3 small, regular meals a day
  • Eat slowly: put a small amount of food in your mouth at a time and chew this very well. Eating at a table without any distractions and putting down cutlery between mouthfuls can help.
  • Do not aim to eat until you are ‘full’. Overeating will stretch your stomach pouch, cause discomfort and may make you vomit.
  • Do not drink with meals. Wait at least 30 minutes after a meal before you have a drink. Make sure you have at least 2 liters of fluid a day.
  • Avoid all fizzy drinks.
  • Choose a diet based on ‘Healthy Eating’ guidelines and remember to choose foods that have a good texture to work with your band.
  • Avoid foods that ‘melt’. These include crisps, chocolate, biscuits, cakes and high calorie drinks. These foods are very high in calories and can pass easily through your banded stomach without provide any feeling of satiety. Consumption of foods like this will stop your weight loss.
  • There are some foods that some people find a problem with a gastric band. These include chewy meats, white bread, fibrous fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and rice. These should be avoided at the beginning and re introduced slowly once a ‘normal’ diet has been established. Everyone is different to what they can manage and you will need to find out what is right for you by trial and error.
  • universite de montreal
  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
  • mount sinai
  • Prince Mohamed bin Abdulaziz Hospital
  • International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders
  • King Khalid University Hospital
  • American Association of Bariatric Counselors
  • Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
  • mc gill
  • Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract
  • surgery for obesity and related diseases
  • The International College of Surgeons (ICS)
  • juniper online journal of case studies
  • Obesity Medicine
  • journal of universal surgery
  • american journal of innovative research & applied sciences
  • asian council of science editors
  • medcrave
  • insight knowledge
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Specialized Medical Center
  • Saudi German Hospitals