Dear Melissa, So you made the decision to have gastric…
If there’s one thing I review a lot of on my blog it’s protein bars. I do forget sometimes that, while for me and the stage I’m at they are okay, they aren’t something that you should work into your diet too close to when you have had surgery. Protein bars aren’t something that should be relied upon after surgery either and I wanted to talk about that today.
For the first year after surgery it is really important to focus on the dietary stages and what your dietician recommends to get you through each stage and onto the next. Getting through the liquid, puree and soft food stages are important for your recovery and for setting up good habits to see you through long-term. It was never suggested by my dietician that protein bars were appropriate in any of these diet stages.
Once I got to the six month point and my diet was starting to stabilise was when I started to try things like protein bars. I was very careful with my tummy for a long time after surgery because I was so scared of hurting it or damaging the work my surgeon had done. Don’t take my word for it though, if you are less than a year out it’s always good to discuss any diet or food related things with your team if it’s not directed in the information they have given you.
Once you have gone through all of the diet stages and are past the soft food stage protein bars shouldn’t present too much of a problem. Nine months post-surgery is far enough out from surgery that they shouldn’t be too much of a problem. They can be quite dense though so you really need to make sure you take small bites, chew well and eat them slowly. I did have issues eating them sometimes before the year post-op point because they were yummy and felt like treat food so I would accidentally eat them too fast and that never turns out well.
Another reason to wait as long as possible before introducing protein bars is that you need to get into the habit of eating real, fresh and nutritious food as your default. Nutritionally, protein bars are high in protein which is a huge bonus for us but they are usually quite high in fat too. You need to figure out how your diet is going to work day-to-day and if you introduce things like protein bars too early you may become reliant on them and it may take you longer to figure out how to fit all of your protein in with actual food.
Now that I’m three years out from surgery my diet has normalised as much as it will post surgery. Sometimes I forget to point out that they aren’t necessarily suitable for quite a while after having surgery. Even when you get to the point where eating them is okay for your tummy they still should be an occasional thing. I love the ease and convenience that protein bars give me when I’m really busy, or on days when I forget to make my lunch.
I don’t tend to eat a protein bar unless it has at least 15 grams of protein in it, so for me that qualifies as a meal. I see protein bars being marketed as snacks but it’s important to remember why you had surgery. The limitations it has provided me with are exactly what I wanted and if I have a protein bar for a meal I don’t see the need to eat more to ‘make up’ for only having a protein bar.
So there’s my lowdown on protein bars after weight loss surgery. Did it help you answer any questions you had or clear up any confusion? Comment below and let me know which protein bar is your favourite!
If you want to try the protein bars pictured at the top head along to Nothing Naughty to pick some up!