Stage I: Clear Liquid Diet
You’ll be limited to consuming clear liquids in order to allow your new stomach pouch to heal properly during the first 1 to 2 weeks following surgery. Any food or drink that is transparent and does not need to be chewed falls into the clear-liquids category.
Here are the general guidelines for the clear-liquid stage of your diet:
- Meal size: 1 to 2 ounces
- Meal frequency: 3 to 5 times per day
- Fluid intake: 64 fluid ounces per day
You’ll need to give yourself at least 5 minutes to take in 1 ounce of fluid. You’ll also need to wait 15 to 30 minutes before and 30 minutes to an hour after each meal to begin drinking.
This stage of the post-surgery diet allows 4 to 8 ounces of fruit juice each day. In order to adhere to the portion guidelines, do not attempt to drink 8 ounces of juice in one sitting. Acceptable juices include apple, grape, and cranberry juice. Not all juices are transparent (i.e. citrus juice), so make sure to stay within these guidelines. You may also drink sports drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde.
Because the amount of juice you can drink is limited, there are other liquids to choose from to help you reach your required 64 daily ounces. Some options include:
- Coffee (in moderation)
- Sugar-free tea
- Crystal Light
- Chicken, vegetable, or beef broth
- Propel fitness water
- Sugar-free flavored waters
Remember, sugar-free means sugar-free. As their names would suggest, reduced-sugar and low-sugar products still have sugar in them. Consumption of those products can slow your weight loss and upset your stomach. Also, when consuming sugar-free foods, you may find that you’re consuming a lot of sugar substitutes. If you find that these irritate your stomach or cause diarrhea, cut out the products that use them.
Clear-liquid snacks include sugar-free popsicles and gelatin. Be sure not to consume more than 1 or 2 ounces of gelatin, and keep in mind that ice pops work toward your 64 daily ounces of fluids.
As an example, a day’s meal plan during Stage I might look like this:
- Breakfast: 1 to 2 ounces of sugar-free gelatin
- Beverages after breakfast: 4 ounces of apple juice and 4 ounces of water
- Lunch: 1 to 2 ounces of sugar-free gelatin (try a different flavor for variety), or 8 ounces of hot chicken broth
- Beverages after lunch: 12 ounces of Crystal Light and 8 ounces of water
- Afternoon snack: Half of a sugar-free ice pop
- Dinner: 1 to 2 ounces of sugar-free gelatin
- Beverages after dinner: 1 cup of fat-free milk and 8 ounces of water