Are Soft Foods Necessary After Bariatric Surgery?

After bariatric surgery, you start with a liquid diet and slowly work your way up to being able to digest regular, whole foods. A soft food diet is a necessary part of your post-surgery routine. Soft food is easy to digest and helps get your digestive system ready for whole foods.

Which soft foods can I eat?

Each bariatric surgeon may slightly differ on which foods are allowed, but there are similar themes. You must eat foods that are easy to digest; usually a low-fiber diet with easy-to-digest proteins. The Healclub Soft Food Diet (for 2-6 weeks post-surgery) includes:

Beverages 8 cups/day (64 oz.)

  • Any beverage containing 10 calories or less per serving that is non-carbonated; limit caffeine to 2 cups per day (200 mg)
  • Water, Crystal Light or store-brand sugar-free drink mix, sugar-free Kool-Aid, PowerAde Zero (not G2), Propel, Milo’s No Calorie Tea, unsweet tea/decaf tea/herbal tea, coffee/decaf coffee, etc.
  • A small amount (a few tablespoons) of cream in coffee is acceptable, half-n-half or whipping cream preferred
  • All artificial sweeteners are allowed including Splenda (sucralose), Equal (aspartame), Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin), Truvia (stevia)

Protein Shakes, 1-2 per day

  • Premier, Atkins (Blue or Red Top), Ensure Max, Celebrate Protein Powder (mixed with water), Bariatric Advantage Protein shake (mixed with water), Premier Clear, Protein2O

Meat (Protein)

  • Chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad (made with full fat mayonnaise, no pickle relish, onion, celery, fruit added; seasoning ok if sugar free), eggs cooked any style, lunch meat, flaky white fish (non-breaded)

Non-meat (Protein)

  • Any soft cooked legume including refried beans, lima beans, black eyed peas, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, tofu

Dairy (Protein)

  • Cheese, cottage cheese, light yogurt with total carbs of 10g per serving or less

Non-starchy Vegetables

  • Overcooked fresh, frozen or canned vegetables:
  • Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, pumpkin, spinach, tomato sauce, wax beans, yellow summer squash, zucchini

Foods NOT Recommended

  • Bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, noodles, crackers, grits, oatmeal, cereal, fruits, fruit juice, smoothies, salads, milk, alcohol, nuts, peanut butter, soup, ketchup, BBQ sauce, sweet sauces, foods not listed


  • Sugar free Jell-o
  • Sugar free popsicles

 Healclub’s Tips for Success:

  1. Drink 1-2 serving of protein shakes daily to supplement protein intake.
  2. Do not drink with meals. Wait 30 minutes after meals to drink.
  3. Eat 5-6 small meals of 1/4 to 1/2 cup of food per meal, starting with just 1-2 bites at first.
  4. Eat a small meal every 3-4 hours and drink beverages between meals.
  5. Always eat protein first. Most of your meal should be protein foods.
  6. Chew small bites of food 20-30 times before swallowing; use baby utensils.
  7. Do NOT puree or your food.
  8. Allow 20-30 minutes for a meal (no longer).

What are easy soft food ideas?

For the soft food phase of your post-op routine, try:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Deli meat with cheese
  • Cheese with 1 tablespoon fruit
  • Canned refried beans and yogurt
  • Scrambled eggs with 2 teaspoons of avocado
  • Rotisserie chicken, cut up small with steamed frozen veggies
  • Canned tuna mixed with Greek yogurt or mayo
  • Canned chicken mixed with Greek yogurt or mayo
  • Canned salmon
  • High-protein egg salad

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