High Protein Foods After Bariatric Surgery:
You've Got Options

These are the best high protein bariatric foods appropriate for a diet after you've had weight loss surgery. You may only think of beef when you think of protein, but there are plenty of options.

While many foods contain small amounts of protein, the high protein bariatric foods listed here are the most concentrated sources of protein. That means you get the most protein bite for bite. When you can't eat very much, it's important to pack in the most nutrition in the smallest volume. 

Bariatric Protein Foods: 

Protein Shakes


Cottage Cheese

Bean Soups 

Whole Beans 

Tuna, Canned chicken, Canned salmon



Vegetarian Proteins

Ground turkey, Ground chicken 




High Protein Bariatric Foods
Leanest Choices:

Dairy: Nonfat or Low-fat, Lite, Reduced Fat, 2%

  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • String cheese
  • Sliced cheese
  • Shredded cheese

Beans and Lentils

Beans often get thrown under the bus because of their carbohydrates. But don't let their carb count scare you.  Beans are a source of protein and quality carbs. They're worth eating to get the protein and fiber.

Fiber is only found in plant foods, so the other high protein bariatric foods (animal sources of protein) don't provide any fiber.

High protein diet + no/low fiber is a quick path to constipation!

  • Black
  • Black eyed peas
  • Cannellini
  • Edamame (soybeans)
  • Garbanzo


  • Great Northern
  • Kidney
  • Lentils
  • Navy
  • Pinto
  • White Beans


  • Black bean soup
  • Lentil soup
  • Split pea soup

Eggs (Pasture Raised if possible)

  • Whole eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Egg substitute


  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Red snapper


  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna, water packed
  • Salmon
  • Sardines


  • Crabs, Lobster, Scallops, Shrimp

Vegetarian Proteins

  • Tofu (organic when possible)
  • Tempeh (organic when possible)
  • Seitan

Poultry (Organic when possible)

  • Chicken beast, no skin
  • Turkey breast, no skin
  • Ground chicken (93/7%, 90/10%)
  • Ground turkey (93/7%, 90/10%)


  • Canadian bacon
  • Lean ham
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Center loin chop

Beef (Grass fed when possible)

  • Ground beef (93/7%, 90/10%)
  • Tenderloin
  • Roast  (rib, chuck, rump)
  • Steak (t-bone, cubed, flank, porterhouse, sirloin, round)

Deli Meats/Processed Meats (Use less often)

  • Low sodium Turkey, Ham, Roast beef
  • Jerky: Beef, Turkey, Salmon

A bariatric diet is high in protein: 60-80 grams per day is typically recommended.

See why

Liquid--> Mushy-->Solid

These high protein bariatric foods are best tolerated when introduced in the following order in the early post op period: 

  • Protein shakes
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bean Soup 
  • Beans 


  • Tuna
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned salmon
  • Eggs
  • Fish 
  • Vegetarian Proteins (tofu, tempeh, seitan)
  • Ground turkey, ground chicken 


  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Beef

High Protein Bariatric Foods:
Stage by Stage

Here you can see how to progressively add high protein bariatric foods as you advance through the post op diet stages early on after surgery.

Clear Liquid Diet Stage

  • Bone Broth
  • Clear Protein Drinks/Protein Waters like Premier Clear, Atkins Lift, Isopure
  • Liquacel 

Full Liquid Diet Stage

Any food from previous stage plus:

  • Protein Shakes (Ready made or homemade)
  • Fairlife milk (use nonfat/skim or 2%)
  • Skim/fat free milk, low fat milk

Puree Diet Stage

Any food from previous stages plus:

  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Nonfat/low-fat cottage cheese
  • Blended fat free refried beans
  • Crushed lentil soup
  • Split pea soup- blended
  • Pureed poultry or fish

High Protein Soft Food

Any food from previous stages plus:

  • Eggs: poached, scrambled, egg salad
  • Canned tuna, salmon, sardines
  • Canned chicken
  • Tofu
  • Whole beans 
  • Black bean soup
  • Lentil soup

Solid Diet

Any food from previous stages plusā€¦

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Bison
  • Venison
  • Beef
  • Lean Ground Meats: Ground Chicken, Ground Turkey or Ground Beef  

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