Eating after gastric banding

What does gastric banding involve?

Gastric banding is a restrictive procedure. It reduces the amount of food that you can eat at one time and makes you feel fuller sooner and for longer. As a result, you eat less and lose weight. The gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a small pouch. A narrow passage between the pouch and the rest of the stomach allows food and liquids to pass through. With this procedure the structure of the stomach and intestines are not altered, so digestion and absorption remains normal.


Eating after gastric banding

The long-term success of your gastric banding operation is dependent upon you following the dietary recommendations outlined in this booklet. During the four weeks following the operation, no solid foods should be taken. Instead, you must have a liquid diet for two weeks followed by a soft moist diet for another two weeks. You can then start to add solid food.


Solid food can create pressure on your stitches and stretch your new stomach pouch. This may lead to vomiting and discomfort. Therefore it is extremely important that you follow our guidelines.

STEP 1: Liquid diet for two weeks.

STEP 2: Soft moist diet for two weeks.

STEP 3: Start to introduce solid food and aim to follow a protein rich, low calorie healthy diet.

Step 1

Weeks 1 and 2 – A liquid diet

To ensure an adequate intake of protein, calcium and other nutrients, the liquid myst be based on milk. Ideally, low fat milk should be chosen, e.g. semi-skimmed or skimmed. Aim for at least two pints (1.2L) of milk or milk alternative a day. Milk can be flavoured with Nesquick or low calorie hot chocolate.

Other fluids allowed:

  • Slimming drinks, e.g. SlimFast or chemist/supermarket own brand
  • Complan or Build-up shakes or soups
  • Yoghurt drinks and smoothies
  • Still mineral water
  • Still low-sugar squashes
  • Clear low-calorie soups
  • Smooth soups, e.g. cream of tomato or chicken or oxtail
  • Tea nad coffee without sugar
  • Unsweetened pure fruit juice
  • Marmite or Bovril drinks

Take things slowly over the furst few days until you establish the amount of liquid that can be tolerated. Take the milky drinks first to ensure you are getting enough nutrients and then have other fluids after that as required.


Start with a couple of sips of fluid and slowly build up the quantity until a sensation of fullness occurs.

It is important to stop drinking as soon as you feel full.

If stomach pain or nausea is experienced while drinking, stop until the feeling passes.

If the quantity of fluid taken is too large then stomach will overfill and vomiting will occur.

DO NOT drink fizzy drinks at any time after the gastric banding as the gasses cause bloating and will increase your stomach size.

Although milk can provide most of the nourishment required, it does not supply all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Thereforem it is essential that you take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement which includes iron whilst you are not eating a normal diet. Ideally this should be in a liquid or chewable form or a solid tablet that can be crushed or brokwn down into small pieces before being taken.

Step 2

Weeks 3 and 4 – A soft moist diet

After 2 weeks, gradually start introducing foods with a soft moist texture. Foods should be broken into pieces or mashed with a fork. Some people prefer to blend or puree their foods. This is really up to you but not essential. To start you can only manage a few mouthfuls at each meal but this will increase. To start with, try things such as Weetabix with milk or mashed potato with gravy. Remember to stick to small portions and it helps to eat from a side plate.

Below are suitable foods to take in small amounts:


  • 1 Weetabix with low fat milk
  • 1 sachet of instant oats/Readybrek with low fat milk

Main courses:

  • Fish in white sauce
  • Minced meat or chicken in tomato sauce
  • Tender meat casseroles or stews
  • Soft pulses with stock/sauce, e.g. dhal
  • Soft omelette/scrambled egg
  • Macaroni cheese/cauliflower cheese
  • Fish pie
  • Cottage pie
  • Lasagne/canneloni
  • Cottage cheese


  • Mashed potato/jacket potato without skin
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, swede (mash with fork)


  • Stewed fruit
  • Tinned fruit without syrup (not pineapple)
  • Mashed banana


  • Low-calorie yoghurt
  • Low-calorie mousse
  • Low-calorie fromage frais
  • Low-calorie custard

Step 3

Week 5 onwards – A protein rich, low calorie diet

It is now safe to gradually start experimenting with different textured solid foods. Although food may not need to be blended, it will still need to be tender and chewed well. You will need to chew each mouthful at least 20 times until the food feels like puree in your mouth.

It is really important to eat 3 meals a day with suitable small snacks in between even if you don’t feel hungry. Take your time over your meal; it is likely that it will take about 30 minutes.

Your portion sizes are now restricted so your protein intake can fall. It is very important to make sure that you have enough protein in your diet every day. If you do not eat enough, your body will start breaking down your muscle for protein leaving you feeling very week. Protein foods are also very good at filling you up for longer.

Examples of good sources of protein

Aim for 2-3 portions a day from a variety of foods:

  • Dairy: Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, add skimmed milk powder to milk and sauces; low-calorie/diet yoghurts, yoghurt drinks; low-calorie/low-fat custards and milky puddings; low-fat cheese and cottage cheese.
  • Eggs: Scrambled, omelette, poached.
  • Pulses: Lentils, beans (add them to stews and casseroles).
  • Meat: Minched meat in gravy or suace; casserole meats.
  • Fish: Canned oily fish, e.g. tuna, sardines, pilchards; soft white fish (with sauce).
  • Protein shakes: Build Up soup, Build Up/Complan shakes; SlimFast shakes/smoothies/soups.


Additional information is contained within this booklet regarding eating but I’ve just included this part for the time being to illustrate the diet plans.