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Mediterranean Diet for Bariatric Surgery Patients

(after diet progression to regular foods at 8 weeks post-surgery)

The Mediterranean diet promotes health and wellness and can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, and cognitive decline.

It is based on plants: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds in their most natural state (limited processing).

The plan includes daily physical activity (with strength 2-3 times a week) and strong social connections.

Water is the Drink of Choice!

Tips for adopting the Mediterranean diet:

  1. Plan meals around protein and non-starchy vegetables: include a variety of types.
  2. Include plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, hummus and soy.
  3. Flavor your food boldly with herbs, spices, vinegars, garlic, onion, ginger, lemon and lime.
  4. Include healthy fats – have nuts and avocado for a snack and cook with olive oil and other plant-based oils.
  5. Drink water and decaf herbal teas throughout the day.

Whole Grains/Starchy Vegetables/Fruits

Limit total carbs to 15-30 grams per meal. 15 grams = ½ cup potatoes/peas/corn, 1/3 cup brown rice and whole wheat pasta, ½ cup cooked whole grains (quinoa, farro), a small piece of fruit, ½ cup fresh/frozen fruit


Use low-fat or plant based (no sugar added) milk up to 2 servings a day. A serving is equivalent to 6-8 ounces of Greek yogurt (Oikos triple zero), 1 cup of skim/2%/unsweetened almond/unsweetened soy milk.


Aim for a minimum of 60- 80 grams daily; try for at least 15 grams per meal.

  1. As desired: Fish/seafood (especially fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel), meat alternatives (tofu, veggie burger), poultry, cottage cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds and nut butters (no sugar added).
  2. Meal Replacement shakes and bars – try to limit to no more than 1 daily and choose supplements with at least 15 grams of protein and less than 20 grams of total carbs.
  3. Cheese – limit to low-fat.
  4. Beef and Pork – limit to one 3-5 ounce serving a week.
  • Eggs – 7 grams of protein per egg
  • Beef, chicken, turkey, pork – 7 grams of protein per ounce
  • Edamame – 8 grams of protein per 1/3 cup
  • Legumes/beans – 7 grams of protein per ½ cup
  • Hummus – 7 grams of protein per 1/3 cup
  • Cow’s Milk – 8 grams of protein per 8 ounces
  • Greek yogurt – 12 grams of protein per 5 ounces
  • Cottage cheese – 14 grams of protein per ½ cup

Foods/Drinks to Avoid: processed and cured meats, sweets and sweetened drinks, fast food, highly processed foods.

Close-Up Of Salad In Bowl On Table

Mediterranean Quick Tips and Meal Ideas

  • Use olive oil on salad dressings, marinades, roasted vegetables, sautéed meats.
  • Make an easy salad. Chopped tomatoes and cucumbers dressed in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; or try thinly shredded cabbage (or bagged coleslaw mix) tossed with oil, vinegar, salt.
  • Make your own salad dressing. Use olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and seasoning and avoid all the processed ingredients in bottled dressings.
  • Add nuts. Sprinkle toasted nuts on yogurt, salads, or cooked vegetables.
  • Try hummus. With carrot sticks or peppers or on a wrap, hummus makes a great snack
  • Make a bowl. Hummus, topped with roasted veggies, sautéed greens and a soft cooked egg makes a delicious meal high in protein.
  • Prep whole grains ahead of time. Cook a batch of brown rice, quinoa, farro, barley and freeze in ½ cup servings. Defrost in fridge overnight for salads or sauté as part of a dish.
  • Roast some veggies. Prep a big pan of roasted peppers, carrots, broccoli, onions, Brussels sprouts, etc. in a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasoning and individually portion for lunches.
  • Stock your pantry and freezer. Lots of canned goods are nutritionally sound and convenient. Try low or no-sodium canned tomatoes, beans and tuna. Stock your freezer with frozen cauliflower rice, broccoli and berries.
  • Remember a Mediterranean diet is also about HOW you eat. Whenever possible, sit down with family or friends (even over Zoom), slow down and savor every bite of your delicious healthy meal.