Bariatric Surgery Diet – Best protein sources for Vegetarian Patients

vegan, vegetarian

A common concern about vegetarian or vegan post-op diets is that they might lack sufficient protein. However, many nutritionists agree that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can provide you all the necessary nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. Most importantly, people who follow a vegetarian lifestyle have been shown to carry a lower body weight, have better cholesterol levels, greater longevity, and lower risk of developing cancer.

At Long Term WLS we care about our patient’s particular needs, therefore here are some recommendations on how to meet your protein requirements during your weight loss journey being a vegan or vegetarian bariatric surgery patient.
A bariatric surgery patient must follow special dietary recommendations to insure the achievement of weight loss goals and weight maintenance. Since day one after bariatric surgery, there’s one factor that you will find steady from day one: protein intake.
High-quality protein does not only promote weight-loss, is also fundamental for proper wound healing, muscle strength and satiety. Besides that, sufficient protein intake can help to boost the metabolism and control cravings. With that being said, a bariatric surgery patient goal should be a minimum of 65 to 75 grams of protein per day. General symptoms of a poor quality protein intake can include musclecramping, weakness, bone pain, lack of energy and soreness.

Choosing a better quality of foods and incorporating new and healthier eating habits

One of the greatest challenges after bariatric surgery in Mexico with Dr. Jorge Maytorena at Long Term WLS is choosing a better quality of foods and incorporating new and healthier eating habits. A vegetarian bariatric surgery patient may ask “how can I reach 65 to 75 grams of protein daily if I don’t eat animal protein?”, especially when the size of the stomach is significantly reduced, limiting the amount of food that the patient can consume. The key is to choose foods that pack a lot of nutrition in a relatively small portion size, because certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others.

Here are some meatless and plant-based foods that contain a high amount of protein per serving:

1.     Greek Yogurt: 23 grams of protein per cup.

2.     Lentils: 4 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (cooked).

3.     Black Beans (chickpeas, black beans, etc.): 4 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (cooked).

4.     Cottage cheese: 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup.

5.     Hemp seeds: 4 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon.

6.     Chia seeds: 3 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon.

7.     Edamame: 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (shelled).

8.     Tofu: 8 grams of protein per 100 grams.

9.     Green peas: 8 grams of protein per cup.

10.  Quinoa: 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked).

11.  Almonds: 3 grams of protein per 1/2 ounce.

12.  Eggs: 6 grams of protein per egg.

13.  Spinach: 5 grams of protein per cup (cooked).

14.  Artichokes: 4.2 grams of protein per medium vegetable.

15.  Peanut butter: 3.5 grams of protein per tablespoon. Look for the unsalted and sugar free presentation.

16.  Soy Milk: 7 grams of protein per cup

17.  Plant based Protein Shakes (Vital in the liquid diet stage): 15 to 25 grams of protein per scoop, it may vary according to the brand or presentation.

A vegetarian and vegan diet can be a part of a bariatric lifestyle! You just have to get creative and know when to ask for help during this journey. While you’re adjusting to your newer and healthier eating habits, it’s highly recommended getting assistance from a nutritionist.

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