Starting out on a bariatric diet after weight loss surgery can be overwhelming. Finding the right breakfast options that are high in protein and that are satisfying can be difficult, but with some creativity and planning, it is definitely possible!
If you’re new around here: Welcome! I’m Jamie and I’m writing this blog both as a bariatric dietitian, as well as a bariatric patient; you can read more of my story here.
I know that eating well after weight loss surgery can feel really challenging, especially at breakfast when so many of our breakfast favorites tend to be carb-focused, instead of protein-rich.
In this article, I’ll share my top tips and tricks to help you plan a delicious, protein-packed breakfast that is bariatric friendly,nourishing and satisfying.
First off: do you even have to eat breakfast?
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
If you’re not hungry, you don’t need to force yourself to eat. You might choose to start the day with something small, like a protein shake or some Greek yogurt, or you might wait. You don’t need to start your first meal just because it is a certain time on the clock if you’re not hungry.
If you are feeling hungry in the morning: let’s eat!
Protein is key when it comes to making sure your breakfast will be filling and provide you lasting energy throughout the day. You’ll also discover that protein is the foundation of all meals and snacks, not just breakfast.
So whenever you do have your first meal, let’s start with foods that are high in protein first. Let’s revisit the plate method!
The Plate Method
For most meals, I recommend that you use my Bariatric Breakthrough Meal Plate Method that I teach inside The T.R.I.B.E. membership to plan your eating – even for snacks!
This means starting with an appetizer or smaller-sized plate (not a full-sized dinner plate) and picking a protein item first.
At breakfast, you might want to enjoy a rotation of:
- Cottage cheese
- …or you might prefer to eat leftovers from the night before.
Protein is the base of all meals, for SO many reasons. One of those reasons is that protein can help to curb your hair loss after weight loss surgery. More on that here: Is Hair Loss After Gastric Sleeve Normal (or Preventable?)
Next: let’s pick a fiber-rich food.
Focus on fiber
In general, as bariatric patients, we’re aiming to have veggies at all meals and snacks. We don’t need to be perfect, but as often as we can, aim for veggies.
Even at breakfast? Maybe.
Following the meal plate method at breakfast can be challenging for some of us…so we can be flexible! It’s important to keep in mind that satisfaction is an important consideration to being able to stick with the bariatric guidelines long-term.
If there are veggies that you like at breakfast, such as having sauteed veggies in your eggs – go for it!
But if the thought of veggies at breakfast makes you want to avoid breakfast altogether, aim for any source of fiber as the goal instead. This could mean some fruit or even some nuts or seeds.
Fiber-rich foods I’ve been loving at breakfast lately include:
- Pumpkins seeds (aka pepitas)
- Chia seeds
Example bariatric breakfast ideas
Ok, now that we know what we are aiming for, here are a few bariatric breakfast ideas to consider:
- Eggs + kiwi
- Cottage cheese + blueberries + slivered almonds
- Chia pudding + sliced banana
- Tofu scramble with bell peppers and mushrooms
- Greek yogurt + sliced strawberries + flax seeds
- Whole grain toast + egg + avocado
- Oatmeal + protein powder + berries
Portion sizes will vary from one person to the next. Here is a bit more about how to find what works best for you: Best portion size after gastric sleeve (or any weight loss surgery)
P.S. As a member of the T.R.I.B.E, you’ll have even more recipe ideas to browse so you’ll never run out of breakfast inspiration that satisfies your taste buds and keeps you on track.
Focus on what you enjoy
There is no reason that your breakfast has to look like a “regular” breakfast if that isn’t appealing to you right now.
If you’re not a fan of breakfast foods: no problem. You can enjoy lunch or dinner foods at any time! Just start with protein – most of the time – and build your plate from there.
What if I’m not hungry?
You don’t need to force it!
These days I don’t get hungry until 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning and end up having a sort of brunch for breakfast. You’re building trust with your new body and learning how to work together.
If you are hungry earlier – eat! Your hunger might spike at different times from other WLS patients and that’s totally OK.
What about Proffee?
Have you heard of Proffee – hot or iced coffee made with a protein shake?
That is a great option too, if it works for you and your body.
For some people, Proffee is satisfying, and for some people, they feel better when they have solid food.
Keep in mind that you’re probably not going to be cleared to drink caffeine for a while after your surgery – make sure that you have the thumbs up from your medical team to have caffeine before experimenting with Proffee. And if it is too soon for you to have caffeine, you can always try decaf coffee to make your Proffee.
As with most things, there is no “best” answer for everyone, just what is best for you and your new bariatric body.
Just a note: no matter what you’re having to drink – be sure to keep your liquids separate from your meals. This is the “no eating and drinking together” rule that makes sure that you’re using your pouch as intended. For a quick overview, check out this post: The No Eating and Drinking Together Rule.
Is intermittent fasting a good idea?
Intermittent fasting can be helpful for some people who haven’t gone through weight loss surgery, but it may not be the best for you and me.
Our goal is to make sure we are getting adequate protein and other nutrients in throughout the day and intermittent fasting could make it difficult to reach those daily goals. Since our new pouch is so small, we can’t get that much in at a time per meal.
Am I doing this right?
It’s safe to say that figuring things out after bariatric surgery takes some trial and error. This is totally normal. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different foods and meals. Be kind to yourself as you’re trying new things and seeing what works best for you.
Remember, the goal is to find something that is both nourishing and satisfying to you – this doesn’t just mean hitting your protein goals, but also making sure you’re enjoying your food!
If you notice you are snacking more in the afternoon or evening, you may want to consider eating a bigger, more balanced meal in the morning – oftentimes this can help with cravings and overeating later in the day too. Check out this post all about snacking after WLS for more.
The Bottom Line
When planning a bariatric-friendly breakfast, start with protein, add some high-fiber foods, and keep your drink separate from the meal. If you are able to follow those guidelines most of the time and include foods you love, you’ll be well on your way to thriving with your new pouch!
And if you’re ready to have more support, guidance, and camaraderie with people who know what you’re going through, check out the T.R.I.B.E.; you’ll feel empowered and supported as you navigate your dream bariatric life. You’ve got this; we can help!