Prioritize Your Protein

Rachael Craig
April 27, 2022
Different types of proteins laid out on a table

Choosing to have weight loss surgery marks a new phase in life full of so many changes. While we can sometimes get caught up in the excitement, it is important to understand the role your diet plays in healing and recovery. One of the most important nutrients to focus on after bariatric surgery is protein. During this time, the stomach is small, caloric intake is low, so it is crucial to make sure you are getting enough. Most patients should aim for 60g of protein per day to optimize their weight loss and recovery.

Why is Protein after Weight Loss Important?

Protein helps to build muscle, aids with healing and keeps our bodies feeling full longer. After weight loss surgery, the body is losing weight at a rapid rate which increases the need for protein to maintain adequate muscle mass. Protein will also help you stick to your diet goals as it will help keep you full in between meals. During this time, calories are low, and the amount of food consumed at each meal is small, so it is especially important to make quality food choices.

Choosing the Right Protein

It is important to understand that not all protein is created equal. Some sources can be high in fat and calories, so choosing a lean option is a great way to boost your protein intake without all the extra calories. Also, if animal-based sources are not for you, there are plenty of plant-based protein options that can help to meet your goals.

Lean Protein Sources

  • Meats: skinless chicken breast, turkey, pork loin, ham 96% lean ground beef, venison, Fish, Shellfish
  • Dairy: Skim and 1% milk, light yogurt, low-fat Greek yogurt, 2% or fat free cheese, low-fat or fat free cottage and ricotta cheese
  • Eggs (or egg substitutes and egg whites)

Plant Based Protein Sources

  • Beans: black beans, black eyed peas, lima beans, garbanzo beans or chickpeas, lentils, white beans, split peas, refried beans, or pinto beans
  • Meat substitutes: tofu, tempeh, edamame, veggie burgers, etc.
  • Plant based protein powder/shakes (Orgain, Evolve, Kos)


Aiming for 60g of quality protein each day is not only going to help you recover faster but will help you to reach your end goal of overall health! Adding a produce to each protein is a great way to round out your meals and get an added nutrient boost! With that said, no matter what protein you choose, it is important to make sure at each meal, you consume the protein first before you are too full.