If you have had weight loss surgery or know someone who has, then you know that eating enough
protein is one their key nutritional goals after surgery.
The goal of 60-80g of protein a day is the general guideline for most people, but your actual goal will
depend on several variables such as the type of surgery, your height and other individual factors.
- Protein is such a key nutrient for several reasons.
- Post-surgery protein is vital for healing and going forward for general body metabolism
- We can’t store protein, so if you don’t eat enough your body needs to start taking the
protein it needs from tissues such as your muscle (and we want you to keep your lean bodymass (muscle) as you lose weight)
- Protein is a nutrient that is highly satiating, meaning protein keeps you fuller for longer. A
focus on eating enough protein will serve you well in your weight loss journey and help you
to maintain it!
So how do you eat 60-80g of protein each day when you can’t eat the same size meals as you use to?
Well here are some tips:
- Eat your protein foods first: thus make protein a priority of your meal
- Change the proportions on your plate: what I mean is that if we look at our dinner plate your
protein food would take up half of the space, your vegetables say 2/3 of the remaining half,
and high carbohydrate foods the remainder (so not much)
- Use high protein smoothies: very useful for the first few months to increase your protein
intake with ½ volume smoothies once or twice a day (depending on your needs)
- Choosing the right protein powder: ensure it’s high and protein and low in carbohydrates
(follow the rule that each serve of your powder needs to have 20g of protein and 10g of
- Fortify your foods: if you are having some foods which are not high in protein, such as
Weetbix you can add some more protein, try adding some protein powder, skim milk powder
(8g protein per tablespoon) or yoghurt. Low fat cheeses and protein powders are also great
to add to vegetables, soups and dips etc.
- Choose high protein snacks: it’s very easy to go back to eating high carbohydrate snacks over
time. Choosing a boiled egg, low fat cheese on crackers or high protein yoghurt is so much
better at filling you up and lessening food cravings later in the day
- Incorporate a collagen hydrolysate powder into your diet: these are different to the Whey
Protein Isolate (WPI) powders as they are collagen based, not whey protein based. While not
a complete protein (don’t contain all the amino acids required), they are a good protein.
Highly versatile as they are non-milky, have minimal flavour and blend well into water and
If you are struggling to eat enough protein consider seeing a bariatric dietitian for personalised
nutritional counselling to help you reach your healthy and weight loss goals.
Written by Jane Stoltze, Accredited Practicing Dietitian