Eating fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. Fruit consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes; lower blood pressure and; may protect against certain types of cancers. As consumers, we are told over and over that fruit is healthy, however, if you’ve had weight loss surgery and your stomach is smaller, you’ll want to choose your food wisely — focusing on protein and limiting carbs. Although fruits are packed with vitamins, they can also be high in carbs.
So, can you eat fruit after bariatric surgery? The short answer is yes, there is always a healthy place for fruit in your post-bariatric surgery meal plan. However, as with everything else after bariatric surgery, there are some conditions.
First, you want to make sure that you are picking the right fruits to eat. Although all fruit can fit in your diet post-surgery, ideally, fruit that is lower in sugar and has a healthy dose of fiber that keeps you full, is the best choice. While bananas are filled with potassium and prebiotic fiber, the carb content can make them equivalent to 2 slices of bread! Second, you should only be having 1-2 servings of fruit per day and you should be pairing it with a protein, which will help with satiety.
While any fresh fruit is fine to eat as long as you are only eating one serving, the following fruits provide anywhere from 3-8 grams of fiber per serving and would be a good choice for bariatric patients:
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup strawberries (halves)
- 1 medium pear (with skin)
- 1 medium apple (with skin)
- 1 medium orange
- 1/3 medium avocado
Tips to Make The Most Of Your Fruit
- Add 1 serving of fruit to protein-rich Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Choose non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt. Avoid the cottage cheese that contains fruit mixed in or comes with fruit toppings. These have added sugar and none of the fiber you would normally get from eating whole, fresh fruit.
- Pair your fruit with 1 ounce of cheese for a more savory take on the protein/fruit combo. (Try Sargento reduced fat cheese sticks or string cheese, Mini Babybel Light or The Laughing Cow cheese wedges for convenient, portion controlled options)
- Shake it up. For patients who are at least 3 months post-op, blending one serving of fruit with your protein shake adds variety to your protein routine.
- Boost the fiber even more. Tossing in a tablespoon of chia or flaxseed to your fruit and yogurt, cottage cheese or shake will increase the fiber content and keep you full longer.
Tips on Buying Fruit
- Try frozen. You can buy frozen fruit in your supermarket. Just make sure there is no added sugar. Or freeze your fresh fruit (particularly berries) when in season, which will make them last even longer.
- Buy what’s in season! This will not only keep the cost down is also a great way to support local farms and farmers in your area.
- Although we love fresh fruit, canned/jarred fruit comes in handy during winter and early spring when there’s limited variety of fresh fruit. If you purchase canned, always make sure it is in its own juice, not syrup!
At New Jersey Bariatric Center®, our team registered dietitians play a vital role in the weight loss journey both pre and post operatively. For more information, please call 908.481.1270 or visit www.njbariatriccenter.com/contact.