Once you have progressed thru your post-op diet of liquids and pureed foods and healed from surgery, you will be able to start eating regular foods.
Eating with the LAP-BAND®
Learning to eat with the LAP-BAND® will take time, but eventually you will know how to eat and what to eat to get the most nutrition and satisfaction out of your meals.
After surgery, the biggest change will be in the size of your meals and new eating behaviors you will have to adopt. The LAP-BAND® will help control how much food you eat, but it will be up to you to make healthy food choices.
The LAP-BAND® procedure works best with solid foods to decrease hunger. That is because solid foods stay in the stomach pouch longer, helping you to feel full after eating only a few ounces of food.
Since you will be eating a limited amount of food, be aware that every bite counts. You cannot afford to eat foods that add calories without providing nutritional value if you want the best weight loss results. The diet should limit the amount of sugar and fat intake.
In order for your body to remain healthy and function properly, it will be important to choose foods that are high in protein and nutritional content.
What to Eat
Your diet will ideally include:
- low-fat proteins (lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, eggs)
- fruits and vegetables
- healthy, whole-grain breads and cereals
- dairy products (good source of calcium, but choose non-fat or low-fat)
- heart-healthy fats
Your doctor or dietitian will work with you in developing a new diet plan and provide specific information about the amounts and variety of foods you should include in your meals. You will also be instructed on some new ways of eating your meals to reduce unpleasant side effects.
Focus on Protein
Protein is the most important nutrient in the LAP-BAND® diet. High-protein foods should be the main ingredient of every meal and should always be the first food eaten. The body is not able to store protein, so it must be added to dietary intake every day.
The body needs protein to maintain health, repair muscle tissue, preserve bone integrity, speed wound healing, minimize hair loss, and a wide variety of other functions necessary for life. It also assists with weight loss by enhancing the metabolic rate and suppressing hunger and cravings.
The amount of daily intake may vary, generally in the range of 70 to 120 grams per day, depending on the patient's needs and the diet plan provided by the surgeon or dietitian.
Some high-protein foods (protein content and serving size):
- Lean red meat, fish, poultry (21 grams per 3 ounces)
- Cottage cheese, low-fat (15 grams per half cup)
- Tofu (9 grams per 4 ounces)
- Beans & peas (8 grams per half cup)
- Yogurt, regular, low or non-fat (7 grams per 6 ounces)
- Yogurt, Greek, low or non-fat (17 grams per 6 ounces)
- Eggs (6 grams per large egg)
- Oats (3 grams per half cup)
- Non-starchy vegetables (tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers) (2 grams per half cup cooked)
The diet should include a variety of protein sources to provide the body with a balanced intake of nutrients. Planning high-protein meals is a priority. Many LAP-BAND patients continue to use liquid protein supplements (12-15 grams of protein per packet, on average) in their daily diet as a balanced source of protein and nutrients.
How to Eat
Some of the important guidelines for eating with the LAP-BAND® are:
- Eat only three small meals a day - this is all you need. Do not snack between meals.
- Eat only solid foods at mealtime - this is how the LAP-BAND® works to restrict food.
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, about 15-20 times a bite, until it reaches a liquid consistency - this will help to create the feeling of fullness and make it less likely for food to get stuck in the new stomach pouch.
- Stop eating when you feel full - eating too much can result in pain, nausea and vomiting. It can also stretch the new stomach pouch.
- Choose healthy foods - make sure you are getting enough protein and nutrients.
- Do not drink while you eat - this will wash down the food and you will not reach the feeling of fullness, defeating the purpose of the LAP-BAND®. Do not drink for 30 to 45 minutes before or after meals.
Liquids with the LAP-BAND®
It is important to drink plenty of fluids during the day in order to stay hydrated and replace the fluid that is lost due to weight loss. If you become dehydrated you may experience a loss of energy, lightheadedness, dry skin, and nausea.
You should choose low-calorie liquids and try to drink about 6 - 8 cups of fluid a day Water is a good choice, but other drink options include low-calorie, non-carbonated liquids, such as artificially flavored drinks, broth, tea, and black coffee (without sugar).
Avoid drinking fluids within 30-45 minutes of a meal. You do not want to drink before, as it will fill up your pouch with liquids and not leave room for food. You do not want to drink too soon after a meal, because the liquids will move food through your LAP-BAND® pouch too quickly.