Meal Prep After Gastric Sleeve

Meal Prep After Gastric Sleeve

Meal Prep After Gastric Sleeve

Meal prepping is one of many ways to help sustain weight loss not only after gastric sleeve surgery, but any weight loss procedure. One of the biggest benefits of meal planning and prepping is that it allows you to stay on top of your nutrition intake. After gastric sleeve, the size of your stomach is reduced considerably. This means that getting in the right nutrition is extremely important to ensure optimal health and safe weight loss. 

Meal prepping can also help you to keep to a more regular meal schedule, which is particularly important if you don’t feel hungry as often.

On top of this, having a planned meal schedule, and ready-meals you can utilise, will mean you can work on a less impulsive way of eating, if this is something you have struggled with in the past. It also means you can work more effectively with your dietitian to implement any other specialised eating or dietary changes required in your circumstances.

But just how do you meal prep after gastric sleeve successfully? Is there anything you need to know? In this article, we look at some of the best approaches to meal prep logistics.

Fridge, freezer or pantry?

Pantry

You may find after your procedure you reach for less in your pantry, and more in your fridge, as your need for fresh food and high protein takes priority. However, it’s always a good idea to have a stock of items in the pantry for those days when something goes wrong, and you just don’t have time to prep or haven’t had a chance to get to the shops.

We know that protein is such an important nutrient to stay on top of after weight loss surgery. Canned items like legumes, tomato and tuna or salmon are great to keep on hand in your pantry. A can of tuna can be added to a small pre-prepped salad or vegetables for a tasty and very easy but nutritious meal.

Freezer

Stocking your freezer with frozen fish, frozen vegetables, pre-portioned meats, and of course – meals you have cooked ahead is a great idea. Freezer-friendly meals could include soups, casseroles, baked goods and even complete meals.

When thinking about freezer storage, we can consider freezer size, convenience of defrosting and reducing the chance of ‘freezer burn.’ Light stackable plastic containers or ziplock bags work well as they take up less space and can be defrosted easily. 

Meats can also be stored in containers between layers of freezer paper to prevent freezer burn. Make sure to label all your frozen foods with the name of the meal and date they went in.

Baked goods such as egg cups or high-protein muffins are also great to wrap and store in your freezer for when you need them.

Fridge

When it comes to your fridge, it is not always about storing fully prepared meals. It is quick enough to throw together a salad, or some scrambled eggs or even a curry if you have the basics on hand. However, prepping the whole day’s meals in the morning or night before is a great approach.

You could assemble a couple of salads or an assortment of pre-cooked vegetables in individually portioned containers. Next, prepare and separately store dressing or sauce to throw over. (Those little dressing containers are a great idea for this!). When you’re ready to eat, simply choose your protein and throw it all together. Storing the items separately will mean your food keeps fresher for longer and ensures a tastier result.

It is important to note that all salad and vegetable items keep longer in your fridge stored separately.

When it comes to foods you have cooked as a complete meal and portioned out, in most cases it’s a good idea to only keep enough for one or two days of meals in the fridge. Any more than this, pop in the freezer and get out the morning you need them.

Again, make a habit of labelling your prepped food with the date and the meal.

More fridge ideas:

  • Hard boiled eggs – perfect for salads or snacks
  • Pre-roasted chicken – versatile and economical for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Importantly, freeze any chicken you’re not likely to eat in a couple of days.
  • Unsweetened Yoghurt – add a little fruit or some nuts and you’re good to go!
  • Pre-roasted vegetables – can provide a range of flavour and nutrients to add to your protein.

5 Top Tips for getting started with meal prep after gastric sleeve

  • Try one day first before launching into a week.
  • Find some recipes you’d love to try, write your shopping list and away you go.
  • Choose easy to prepare recipes. You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals for the coming week. Get out of the kitchen and look forward to the extra time you’ll have during the week.
  • Use versatile ingredients. Cut down on your shopping list by using the same ingredients across as many meals as possible.
  • Pick a prep day. If you have a day in mind, and plan for this day, you are less likely to move the day or forget about it all together.

Food quality guidelines

While pre-preparing food is fantastic, food safety should always be a high priority.

Proper storage of cooked food is really important to get right when you meal prep to prevent food poisoning as well as loss of nutrients.

According to the CSIRO’s refrigerated foods guidelines, a cooked meal should be placed into the refrigerator as soon as possible, especially if it contains meat. A very hot meal should be left out to cool for up to one hour. When reheating a refrigerated or frozen meal, ensure it is hot – above 75 degree Celcius. Divide large hot meals into smaller containers and cool in the fridge first to avoid condensation. When cool, wrap or cover the food. They also add, that if you don’t intend to eat the meal in the next three or four days, you should freeze it immediately.

Meal prep is really just about being prepared

If the thought of doing ‘meal prep’ has previously scared you, we hope these ideas can show you that it’s not necessarily about cooking and storing a whole week’s worth of food in containers. Mostly, it’s about thinking ahead, and this starts with planning out your week. Once you have your ideas for the week, look to find big and small ways you can make it easier on yourself to eat good food. This might be stocking your freezer full of go-to meals. Or it might be simply cooking enough for both lunch and dinner. Why not try it out, and share your fun with us over on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

Happy prepping sleevers!

Related articles 

How Much Weight Do You Lose with Gastric Sleeve?

How Much Weight Do You Lose with Gastric Sleeve?

How much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve? How do you keep it off?

A common question we know many patients have, is the expected volume and durability of weight loss following their procedure. In short, the answer to “How much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve?” is different for everyone. However, given the popularity of this surgery, there have been several studies completed on weight loss after gastric sleeve, and we can look to those for answers on what would be a reasonable expectation after your surgery. We also look at what other factors help with long term weight loss after surgery.

How much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve?

This is the number one question with our patients, and there is no definitive answer. There are many factors which determine your weight loss outcomes after a sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Nonetheless, we can tell you using computer algorithms based on international data, the amount of weight a typical patient could lose after the surgery.

There have been several reviews completed on long term SG results. A comprehensive 2016 analysis, Long-term results after sleeve gastrectomy: A systematic review reported that the mean percentage of excess weight lost at five years post-surgery was 58.4%. At eleven years post-surgery, the mean was 62.5%. This parallels earlier analyses such as the 2014 Review of long-term weight loss results after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and is also in line with what we see occurring at a grass-roots level with patients in our clinic.

What if I don’t lose weight after the operation?

The SG involves removing about two thirds or more, of your stomach. This means that for most patients, you will lose some weight in the short term, because you will simply be unable to eat the same proportions of food you did before. More importantly, there are hormonal changes which occur in the stomach after weight loss surgery which can benefit your metabolism.

In some people, surgery alone can prompt quick and sustainable weight loss, in others it is a slower process. The important thing to remember, is that any weight loss is going to have long term health benefits for you. The 2017 review showed that SG also leads to improvement in obesity related co-morbidities:

Five years after SG, the resolution or improvement of type 2 diabetes was observed in 77.8% of patients, and arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia, obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and degenerative joint diseases had improved or resolved in 68.0%, 65.9%, 75.8%, 30.6%, and 55.7% of patients, respectively.

We encourage you to align your goals with health benefits, rather than solely focusing on your appearance. (You can read more about this approach in an article on the Obesity Action Coalition website). You may not end up with a bikini body (some people do!), but you will have a body which is going to keep you well in the years ahead, and this is much more important.

How do you keep the weight off after SG?

There are several factors which come into play in determining how successful you are with your weight loss long term, which you can control. These include:

  • Follow up bariatric care. Follow-up care is an important part of durable weight loss. We see patients in the days, weeks, months and years post-op in a customised schedule. We believe this support provides a better level of accountability and we can also ensure overall health is maintained.
  • G.P. contact. Your G.P. can also help to monitor your nutritional status, your weight and any co-morbid diseases you may have had prior to surgery. It’s great if you can keep a dialogue going with your referring G.P. What’s even better, is if your surgeon and G.P. can form a great team to keep you on track towards your goals.
  • A success mindset. This is vitally important for long term success. When patients are ready and focused for success, then they tend to do all the things they need to to reach and sustain their weight loss goals. Changing your habits of mind and committing to your own success is really the missing link to ensuring you keep the weight off for good. This is the reason we strongly recommend seeing our psychologist and making them part of your weight loss team. They have the expertise to provide you with tools for mental success.
  • Allied health support. To assist you in developing a new mindset, it’s a great idea to assemble a group of specialists to guide you. It is mandatory to see a dietitian before and after your surgery. We also recommend consulting an exercise specialist or physio and a psychologist. The level of care you undertake is up to you and your needs, but a check-in with these specialists at periodic intervals is always beneficial. If they are specialists in bariatric care, then you know their advice is going to be up to date and beneficial.

So how much weight do you lose with gastric sleeve? If you are vigilant, you may lose around sixty percent of your original excess weight. Will this happen for every patient? No, it won’t. What gives you the greatest chance of success? Forming health allies, developing a great mindset and realising that surgery is not a ‘quick fix’ but is a path to wellness that you will need to walk for life.

Understand More About the Sleeve Gastrectomy

Find out more information on this surgery, and watch a short video explaining how the procedure takes place.

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What is a Gastric Sleeve? Weight Loss Surgery Explained.

Are you struggling to lose weight? Is your weight gain causing you health problems? Are you a candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy? You may have heard about weight loss surgery, and wonder just what is a gastric sleeve? We hope that you can better understand if weight loss surgery is right for you, and how it might help you live a better, healthier life.

Why Is Losing Weight Important?

The world now recognises obesity as a chronic disease. The human body is a complex organism and obesity is a complex condition. You may have tried many different ways to lose weight. However, sometimes diet and exercise alone don’t work. It is important that you don’t give up trying to lose weight as obesity has life-threatening health consequences, including increasing your risk of developing:

  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
  • Stroke
  • Back and Joint problems
  • Increased risk of some cancers

Did you know that if you have a BMI of greater than 40, that your life expectancy is reduced by 8 to 10 years? Losing weight helps to reduce the risk of developing obesity-related complications. Equally importantly, it can reverse the impact of health problems you may have already acquired due to this excess weight.

Weight loss surgery was first performed in the 1950s to help people achieve their weight loss goals. The surgical technique has evolved and has been revolutionised with the incorporation of laparoscopic (keyhole surgery) techniques. This enables surgeons to perform safer and more effective weight loss procedures. The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is now the most common weight loss procedure worldwide.

What is a Gastric Sleeve Procedure and How Does it Work?

The gastric sleeve was originally known as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy. The gastric sleeve procedure involves removing about 80 percent of your stomach. The stomach is reduced from a big floppy bag which can hold up to 2 litres, to a small tube which only has the capacity of about 150mls. With its reduced size, your stomach has less ability to expand. So, even after a very small meal, you feel fuller much quicker.

Additionally and more importantly, the operation causes many metabolic changes in your gut which promote weight loss. For example, ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach and signals the brain to tell you if you are hungry. By removing the majority of the stomach it removes the ‘hunger hormone’ and this suppresses your appetite. The levels of other hormones such as GLP-1 and PYY are also altered which helps promote the feeling of fullness and help glucose (sugar) metabolism.

Why is the Sleeve So Popular?

Gastric sleeve surgery has been performed in Australia for over ten years and has quickly become the most commonly performed weight loss procedure. This is so for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is a ‘safe’ operation. Although all surgeries have potential complications, the overall safety profile of the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is similar to a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder).

Secondly, it is successful. On average patients lose around 60 percent of their excess weight. Not only do patients successfully lose weight, and keep it off, but their health concerns also improve, such as pushing diabetes into remission!

Thirdly, following surgery, people can live a healthy normal life. You are able to eat a normal meal, albeit in much smaller quantities. However, as with all weight loss surgeries, patients can achieve better long-term results by incorporating a change in lifestyle. Healthy eating favouring whole foods which are nutrient-rich and less calorie-laden is very important. Low-carbohydrate, high-protein and moderate healthy fat intake supplements the procedure and helps to achieve sustained weight loss.

Your GP, the dietitian, the psychologist and the exercise physiologist are all as important as your Surgeon. Their common goal is your successful weight loss journey. A path towards a better, healthier life.

Watch a Video About the Sleeve Gastrectomy

Do you wonder “What is a Gastric Sleeve?” Find out more information on this surgery, and watch a short video explaining how the procedure takes place.

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