Your new motto is “slow, small, moist and easy.” Your first two weeks after surgery will consist of a liquid diet, but as you slowly introduce more solid type food there is a learning process about what it means to feel full and how much you can eat. Use these tips while adapting to your new eating habits:

  1. Set aside 30 to 45 minutes to eat each meal. Aim to chew your food 30 times with each bite. Slow down—we have a life-long habit of eating too fast. Enjoy the food and relax.
  2. Explain to friends and family why you must eat slowly so that they do not urge you to eat faster.
  3. Take small bites of food and, for a visual aid, you may want to use a saucer in place of a plate to help with portion control.
  4. Pay attention to taste; learn how to savor your food.
  5. Never drink liquids when eating solid foods. Liquids should be avoided for a period of 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after eating solid food or meals. Combining solids and liquids may cause nausea or push the food through the pouch faster enabling you to eat more.
  6. Stop eating as soon as you are full. Over-eating by even one ounce can make you vomit and can lead to stretching your pouch. Listen to your body’s signals, not the food left on your plate.
  7. Eat only the best of foods… foods high in protein and nutrients. After all, if you are going to eat so little, shouldn’t you have the best?

Recognizing Fullness

It is often difficult to understand the meaning of new sensations. Indications of fullness may not feel the same as before surgery. Below are some not-so-obvious signs of fullness:

  1. A feeling of pressure or fullness in the center of your abdomen, just below you rib cage.
  2. A feeling of nausea, regurgitation or heartburn.

You may have a feeling of satiety several minutes after you are actually full. If your pouch is 1 fluid ounce, you can put 1 fluid ounce in it and you will not feel full for about 5 minutes. Try this to help you find out the right portion size:

Measure 1 fluid ounce of water, drink it, and wait for a few minutes. If you feel full with this amount and are comfortable, measure this amount of food before you eat it. This will prevent stretching of the pouch and the misery caused by overeating. 17

Foods that may be Difficult to Tolerate/Foods To Avoid

  • Bread products
  • Cow milk products
  • Pasta products
  • Fatty foods and fried foods
  • Candy, chocolate, any sugary foods and beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Bran cereal and other bran products
  • Corn, whole beans, and peas
  • Dried fruits and skins of fresh fruit
  • Coconut

Guide to Dining Out

Once you are able to tolerate solid foods, feel free to enjoy dining out with family and friends. However, be aware of the quality of choices made, the quantity of foods eaten, and the length of time it takes to eat. Also, it is very important that foods be well chewed and that you try not to drink fluids with your meals. The following are some tips to help make food choices when dining out.

Plan ahead: Decide what to order before going to the restaurant. Most of the chain restaurants in the area post their nutrition facts posted online. If you have never been to a certain restaurant before, check out its website first to see if there are good choices for you there. Once the main course arrives, decide how much of it you should eat and stick to it.

Be familiar with menu descriptions: Breaded, fried, creamed, scalloped, au gratin, tempura, and rich all mean extra calories and fat. These are probably not good choices. However, foods that are poached, roasted, broiled, steamed, or stir-fried, are lower in fat.

Ask about serving sizes: Restaurants may not be able to accommodate every request but most will try to make reasonable changes or assist in making appropriate choices. Request half portions, share a full entrée with a dining partner or order an a la carte item. Some restaurants will allow you to order off the children’s menu.

Ask about ingredients and preparation: Ask if vegetables and meats are cooked and served with fats such as cream, butter, or sauce. Always request that sauces or dressings be omitted or served on the side, then use sparingly or not at all. Fish or poultry that is broiled, grilled, baked, steamed, or poached is a good choice. Ask to have the item prepared without the added fat and that chicken be prepared without the skin.

Ask for items that are not on the menu: non-fat or low-fat milk is usually available upon request. Light, broth-based soups and fresh fruit are often available even though they may not be included on the menu.

Skip the bread: It may not be well-tolerated. Instead, request low-fat crackers such as soda crackers or melba toast.

Caution at the salad bar: Be careful with salads dressings, toppings and creamy salads (potato, macaroni, and coleslaw).

These can add lots of calories and loads of fat. Remember to control portion sizes.

Avoid desserts: They can be loaded with unnecessary calories and can cause dumping syndrome. Instead, try fresh fruit or sorbet.

No alcoholic beverages.