Healthy food on a table in front of a doctor


Gastric sleeve surgery drastically reduces the size of your stomach, leaving it a fraction of its original size. A smaller stomach means a stricter diet. In order to allow your stomach to properly heal and adjust, you will be required to follow a post-op diet plan that can be broken down into four stages. 


Stage one of the gastric sleeve diet: liquids


Stage one of the post-op gastric sleeve diet begins the first week after your surgery. During this time, you will be restricted to clear liquids like water, broth and unsweetened gelatin. This may sound challenging to follow, but most patients experience little to no hunger the first few days after surgery.

Important guidelines for stage one of the post-op diet:

  • Avoid Sugar – Do not consume any sugary liquids during the first week after surgery. Sugar can have negative side effects on the body and can even lead to dumping syndrome, a digestive problem that can occur after bariatric surgery, when food gets “dumped” directly from your stomach into your small intestine without being digested.
  • No Carbonation – It may be tempting to reach for a bubbly drink to ease your stomach after surgery, but carbonation can lead to gas and bloating and should be avoided.
  • Stay Hydrated – It is important to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated during your recovery process. Just remember to take it slow and only drink small amounts at a time. 


Stage two of the gastric sleeve diet: protein rich liquids


Your doctor will confirm when you are able to move onto stage two of the gastric sleeve diet. This usually takes place 5 days after surgery. During this stage, you will be allowed to introduce more liquids into your diet and begin drinking high protein shakes. You may experience an increase in appetite, but it is important that you stick to the diet plan you are given and avoid any solid food, as your body will not be able to handle it yet. 

Stage two food options include: 

  • Thin broth and creamed soups (no chunks)
  • Sugar free protein/nutrition shakes
  • Sugar free nonfat yogurt or pudding
  • Thinned oatmeal

The goal of stage two is to make sure you are consuming the correct amount of protein and staying hydrated. New foods should be introduced slowly and in accordance with your diet plan. Sugary liquids should still be avoided, along with carbonation, high fat options and chunky foods. 


Stage three of the gastric sleeve diet: pureed soft foods


It’s time to break out the blender. Once you are around two weeks out from your gastric sleeve surgery, you can begin incorporating pureed soft foods into your diet. The key here is to eat slowly and chew thoroughly. You may find that your tolerance for certain foods has changed, so you should take your time testing new food options. 

At this stage, your food should be the consistency of a thick liquid or smooth paste. You should continue to avoid chunky or fatty foods, sugar, seasonings, starches and fibrous vegetables like broccoli and asparagus.  

Stage three of the gastric sleeve diet includes pureeing the following food items with water, skim milk, broth or sugar-free juice:

  • Cooked vegetables (steamed or boiled until soft)
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lean ground meats
  • Soft fruits 
  • Cottage cheese
  • Plain yogurt

Remember to keep drinking liquids. It is easy to become dehydrated after gastric sleeve surgery because your body is no longer getting fluids from some of the foods you used to eat, so be diligent about your liquid intake. 


Stage four of the gastric sleeve diet: solid foods


With your doctors approval, you can begin the transition to eating soft solid foods around four weeks after your surgery. Make sure to test foods one-at-a-time to determine what you can tolerate. 

Try to structure your meals with protein in mind. It is recommended that patients consume around 60 grams of protein per day, which can be difficult to do if you fill up on other foods first. A daily protein shake, on top of high protein foods like eggs and lean ground meat, can help you meet your recommended protein goals.

As you slowly start integrating solid foods into your diet, make sure to stick to healthy, easy-to-digest options. This includes things like chicken, fish, well-cooked vegetables, low-fat cheese and fruit. 

Foods you should continue to avoid: 

  • Whole milk products 
  • Fried foods
  • Starchy items like pasta, white potatoes and bread
  • Sugary drinks and snacks
  • Over-processed/packaged foods like potato chips 
  • Fibrous vegetables like celery, asparagus and broccoli
  • Spicy or heavily seasoned foods


Tips on how to eat long-term after gastric sleeve surgery 


Once you have successfully incorporated solid foods back into your diet, it is important to continue making conscious food choices long-term. The amount of food you eat throughout the day will be limited, so what you eat and how you eat is vital to staying on track and healthy.

Here are a few helpful tips on how to eat long-term after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Chew and eat slowly
  • Limit snacking throughout the day
  • Cut food into small pieces 
  • Stick to small portions
  • Do not overeat
  • Avoid trans fats and fried, processed or fast foods
  • Try not to eat and drink at the same time

For more information about gastric sleeve surgery and the recovery and diet plan process, schedule a consultation with us!



Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery is a caring group of professionals who specialize in all types of bariatric surgery.  Our surgeon Dr. Jay Long has highly specialized training in bariatric surgery, having completed a fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he focused on taking care of patients that are morbidly obese.  And we are so proud of our pricing that we publish the costs right on the front page of our website!  Insurance won’t pay?  We have a variety of financing options we can offer you so that you are able to get the healthy body you’ve wanted for years.  Visit us today at or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.