What Foods Should I Eat?

pile of vegetables

The chart below lists foods that are better or less tolerated by people following gastrectomy.  The foods in the “Better Tolerated Foods” list are less likely to cause dumping syndrome than the foods in the “Less Tolerated Foods” list. The “Less Tolerated Foods” are known to cause dumping syndrome in some people.  It takes time and experimentation to figure out what works best for you.  Keeping a food journal to track the time of day, food intake including quantity, and symptoms, when they occur, may be helpful in identifying problem foods and habits. 

Food GroupBetter Tolerated FoodsLess Tolerated Foods
Breads/GrainsWhole grain breads, muffins, bagels, and crackers; unsweetened dry or cooked cereals, rice, pasta, barley, potatoes, pretzels, popcorn, crackersDoughnuts, sweet rolls, muffins, coffee cake, pastries, and sugary cereals.
Fruits  Fresh fruit, frozen or canned fruit without heavy syrup/ added sugar, fresh- frozen fruit Dried fruits, canned fruits in syrup, sweetened juice, canned pie fillings
Vegetables  All vegetables fresh, frozen or cannedVegetables with added sugar or sweetened sauces
Meats and Protein (with each meal and snack of 1-3 oz. meat, fish, poultry or cheese, 1/2 cup tuna or cottage cheese, 1-2 eggs, 1 cup plain or artificially sweetened yogurt, 1-2 tsp. peanut butter)Meats, poultry, fish, seafood, peanut butter, nuts, dried peas and beans, eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, milk, buttermilk, diet pudding, light or plain yogurtNone
Fats and Oils  Butter, margarine, oil, salad dressing, mayonnaise, cream, cream substitutes, sour cream, cream cheese, bacon Sweetened cream cheese, honey butter, salad dressings made with honey
Sweets and DessertsSugar-free pudding, sugar-free gelatin, sugar-free jellies, sugar-free syrup, plain cake and cookies (no frosting), no sugar added ice cream, artificial sweetener, sugarless gum, fruit preserves and low sugar jelly Regular ice cream and popsicles, cakes, pies, frostings, cookies, jellies, jams, syrup, gelatin, high sugar desserts, sherbet, sugar, candy, molasses, sweetened toppings
Beverages (8-12 Cups)Water, milk, coffee, tea, soup, broth, artificially sweetened carbonated beverages and flavored drinks such as Crystal Light®Sugar-sweetened beverages, regular soda, lemonade, Kook-Aid, Gatorade, chocolate milk and milkshakes

Sample Meal Plan

Think about eating in a way that is most comfortable for you…meals, appetizers, snacks. What you are doing is grazing – eating smaller portions of food in place of full sized meals during the course of the day. Below is an example of how this might look on an average day. Break it up in frequency and quantity in a way that works best for you as you adjust to new eating habits while striving to take in nutritious calories and minimize weight loss. Choose foods that you can tolerate and continue to experiment with your food choices. It is important to drink liquids in between eating to maintain hydration.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup 2% milk (drink  30-60 min after eating)
  • 1 ounce cheese
  • 4 crackers
  • 2 ounces hamburger w/lettuce & tomato
  • 1 small bun
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or ketchup
  • ½ cup unsweetened fruit cocktail
  • ½ cup vegetable juice (drink 30-60 min after eating)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 3 graham crackers
  • ½ cup orange juice (drink  30-60 min after eating)
  • 2 ounces chicken breast
  • ½ cup mashed potatoes
  • ½ cup green beans
  • 2 teaspoons margarine
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup 2% milk (drink  30-60 min after eating)
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 ounce turkey
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 cup 2% milk (drink 30-60 min after eating)