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Stage 4 Diet : Soft Foods

The final modified food stage you will go through after weight loss surgery is the soft foods stage. This is the last stage before you can reintroduce regular food into your diet. For those who have gone through gastric band surgery, the soft foods stage usually begins between weeks three and four after surgery. For those who have been through gastric sleeve surgery, duodenal switch surgery, and gastric bypass surgery, soft foods can be eaten after week three.

Gastric Band: Day 22 -28 after surgery

Roux-en-Y: Day 18 -28 after surgery

Duodenal Switch: Day 18 -28 after surgery

Gastric Sleeve: Day 18 -28 after surgery

Contrary to what most of us would assume, the differences between soft foods and pureed foods are vast. Pureed foods are either pureed in a blender before they are eaten, or they’re soft enough that they can be easily mashed with your fork.

Soft foods must just be cooked enough to be tender but do not need to be mashable or pureed. Foods that are cooked well can be cut into very small pieces, but they must also be chewed very thoroughly.

While eating soft foods, you can still eat all the acceptable foods on the pureed-foods, full-liquids, and clear-liquids food lists, as well as those on the following page of acceptable soft foods. You cannot expect to jump from pureed foods straight into regular foods, however, so make sure you do take this time to introduce soft foods since they get your stomach ready for regular food.

Here are some other things to remember during your post-surgery diet:

  • You must take your time while eating your meals. Each should take between 20 and 30 minutes and you should chew very slowly and thoroughly.
  • Be sure to continue drinking your liquids (40 to 64 ounces each day), and not during meals. Instead, drink fluids in between meals.
  • Avoid drinking carbonated and sugary beverages.
  • Limit caffeinated drinks.
  • You will be eating more and more fiber as you progress through the various food stages, so you must be careful to monitor your intake and keep it relatively low.

Soft Foods – Dos and Don’ts

When enjoying your soft foods diet, you must consider the following:

1. Foods to Eat

First, it is important to remember that you can still eat everything on the pureed-foods, full-liquids, and clear-liquids food lists. In addition, you can eat many very tender foods.

  • Fruit: You can eat fresh fruit like bananas, orange slices, and apple slices (remove the skin from the apple).
  • Vegetables: You may eat all vegetables as long as they’re cooked. Do NOT eat raw vegetables.
  • Dairy: You may enjoy low-fat cheeses.
  • Proteins: You can now add cooked, low-fiber proteins to your diet. This includes tofu, baked fish, cooked chicken and salmon, whole cooked beans, ham salad, and tuna. It’s important to stick with low-fat and low-fiber meat choices. Cooking meat in liquids will help them retain more moisture, which will make them easier for you to digest.

2. Foods to Avoid

You may still not eat cold cereals. You may not be able to tolerate hot dogs, beef brisket, sausage, and steak. You should now (as always) avoid carbonated beverages and liquids with sugar.

3. Order of Eating

You might think that the order in which you eat your soft foods is unimportant, but it is. You must eat protein-rich foods first, then eat your fruits and your vegetables. Why? It’s very important that you consume enough protein, as your body doesn’t store extra protein like it does fat and carbohydrates. If you don’t start with protein, you might get full before you get enough of it. This can result in healing problems, hair loss, and other problems associated with protein deficiencies.

Lastly, be sure to continue drinking 40 to 64 ounces of liquids each day. At least half of this amount should be in the form of plain old water. The rest should have limited (if any) carbonation and caffeine