Planning your food

Protein in your diet for upper gastrointestinal surgery

It is important that you have enough protein before and after your upper gastrointestinal surgery (surgery to the upper part of your digestive system). Protein is important for wound healing, strength and your recovery. 

If you had surgery to your food pipe (oesophagus) or stomach, you need to avoid eating large meals after surgery. It is best to eat smaller amounts regularly. You might find this difficult at first, but try to eat little and often. 

Snacks are a good way to include more protein, fruit and vegetables in your diet. Your dietitian (an expert on food and diet) can help you to choose snacks that are best suited to your needs. 

Snacks

Foods and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)
100g of low-fat Greek yoghurt and 80g of raspberries 7 100
2 tablespoons (80g) of fat-free cottage cheese with 3 water biscuits  8 110
2 rice cakes with 1 level tablespoon (15g) of peanut butter 5 154
1 medium boiled egg and 2 rye crispbreads with a thin spread of butter 8 200
Half a tin of tuna (56g) in water, mixed with 1 tablespoon of hummus on 2 rye crispbreads 17 160
70g of cooked edamame (green soya) beans 7 90
25g of whole almonds 6 150
2 slices of chicken or turkey meat 20 120
40g of reduced fat, meat pâté and 2 rye crispbreads 9 140
Foods and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)
Small can of baked beans (205g) with 2 slices of medium wholemeal bread 20 330
70g of hummus and 80g of pepper 6 240
125g of Greek-style yoghurt, one-quarter of a can of tinned pears and 25g of walnuts 11 240
2 heaped tablespoons (100g) of cottage cheese and 30g of wholemeal crackers 14 240
200ml of full-fat milk and 30g of chocolate 8 290
80g of avocado with 3 thin slices (50g) of smoked salmon 13 230
1 tablespoon of peanut butter with 1 medium banana and 100g of fat-free quark (a dairy product) 15 300
30g of cheddar cheese with 1 slice of medium wholemeal bread 12 200
1 scotch egg   12 240
80g of quiche Lorraine (a French tart made with cheese and pieces of bacon or ham) 7 215

The amount of protein in foods

The tables below help you to choose foods that are high in protein.

Each table shows the average portion size and the amount of protein and calories. This helps you to make choices that are suitable for your diet.

The numbers in the tables are based on the average amount of protein in the foods. Please check how much protein is in these products when you buy them, as the numbers in the tables might change.

Food and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)

Chicken or turkey breast, 2 slices without skin (80g)

20 120
Lean beef, 2 slices (60g) 18 106
Lean lamb, 2 slices (60g) 18 130
Lean lamb chop (with bone), 1 chop (120g) (edible portion 70g) 21 150
Lean ham, 2 slices (80g) 24 160
Chicken livers, one-quarter of a cup (35g) 7 45
Lean minced meat (beef, lamb, pork or turkey), 3 dessert spoons (100g) 22 180
Bacon (lean), 1 rasher (25g) 6 70
Food and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)
Tuna (canned in water), 1 small tin, drained weight (56g) 14 61
White fish (for example, cod or haddock), 1 fillet (150g) 36 140
Mackerel (smoked), 1 fillet (125g) 30 380
Mackerel (canned in brine), 1 tin (125g) 16 200
Sardines (canned), 1 tin (120g) 20 206
Salmon (canned), 1 small can (100g) 19 215
Smoked salmon, 3 thin slices (50g) 11 72
Salmon fillet, 1 fillet (140g) 25 300
Pilchards in tomato sauce, 1 small can (100g) 18 144
Prawns, 1 cup (75g) 11 80
Mussels, 1 cup (85g) 10 80
Food and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)
Milk (full fat), 1 glass (200ml) 7 126
Milk (semi-skimmed), 1 glass (200ml) 7 100
Milk (skimmed), 1 glass (200ml) 7 70
Low-fat natural yoghurt (less than 2% fat), 1 small pot (150g) 9 90
0% Greek-style yoghurt, "Total" small pot size (170g) 15 100
2% Greek-style yoghurt, "Total" small pot size (170g) 14 125
Low-fat custard, 1 pot (150g) 6 134
Low-fat rice pudding, 1 pot (150g) 5 136
Arla Skyr Natural yoghurt, 1 pot (150g) 16.5 98
Arla Protein yoghurt, 1 pot (200g) 20 140
Skimmed milk powder, 1 dessert spoon (6g) 5 21
Kefir milk drink, 1 glass (250ml) 8 130
Egg, medium (60g) 8 88
Egg, large (65g) 9 95
Egg, extra large (73g) 10 107
Cheddar cheese (low fat), matchbox size (30g) 10 94
White or hard cheese (Cheddar, Cheshire, Lancashire or Wensleydale), matchbox size (30g) 8 123
Low-fat cottage cheese, one-third of a standard 300g tub (2 heaped tablespoons) (100g) 13 78
Cottage cheese, one-third of a standard 300g tub (2 heaped tablespoons) (100g) 12 110
Dairylea Light cheese, 1 triangle (18g) 3 26
Dairylea cheese, 1 triangle (18g) 2 43
Quark cheese, 1 dessert spoon (50g) 6 35
Low-fat cheese spread, 1 dessert spoon (50g) 8 77
Cheese spread, 1 dessert spoon (50g) 6 123
Babybel cheese, 1 mini Babybel (20g) 5 61
Babybel Light cheese, 1 mini Babybel Light (20g) 5 42
Mozzarella cheese, one-quarter of a ball (30g) 6 74
Gouda cheese, matchbox size (30g) 8 109
Brie or camembert cheese, matchbox size (30g) 6 90
Danish blue or stilton cheese, matchbox size (30g) 5 100
Food and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)
Arla protein milkshake, 1 carton (225ml) 20 170
Weetabix on the Go Breakfast drink, 1 carton (250ml) 8.8 212
Weetabix on the Go Breakfast drink with protein, 1 carton (275ml) 21 211
Yazoo milk drink, 1 carton (200ml) 6.4 130
Fuel Liquid breakfast drink, 1 carton (330ml) 20 214
Upbeat protein drink, 1 carton (330ml) 20 152
Up&Go breakfast drink, 1 carton (330ml) 12.5 224
Nurishment drink, half a can (200ml) 10 190
Alpro Soya drink, 1 carton (250ml) 8 155
Üfit Plant Protein shake, 1 carton (310ml) 15.2 186
Food and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)
Baked beans, half a can (about 200g) 10 151
Tofu or bean curd, three-quarters of a cup (150g) 8 73
Kidney beans, canned weight in water, half a 410g tin drained (120g) 10 126
Chickpeas, canned weight in water, half a 400g tin drained (120g) 9 146
Lentils (cooked), 1 cup (50g) 16 52
Frozen soya beans, 3 heaped tablespoons (80g) 10 122
Edamame (green soya) beans, 3 heaped tablespoons (80g) 10 104
Quinoa, 1 heaped tablespoon (30g uncooked) 4 93
Lentil soup, 1 can (400g) 8 190
Food and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)
Peanuts, 40 nuts (50g) 14 282
Almonds, 25 nuts (50g) 10 306
Brazil nuts, 15 nuts (50g) 7 341
Cashew nuts, 50 nuts (50g) 10 306
Hazelnuts, 50 nuts (50g) 7 325
Macadamia nuts, 30 nuts (50g) 4 374
Pecans, 8 nuts (50g) 5 345
Pistachios (shells on), 45 nuts (50g) 7 300
Walnuts, 15 halves (50g) 8 344
Pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon (25g) 6 141
Sunflower seeds, 2 tablespoons (32g) 6 184
Pine nuts, 3 tablespoons (30g) 4 206
Tahini paste, 1 heaped teaspoon (19g) 4 115
Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons (32g) 7 194
Food and portion size Protein (grams) Calories (kcal)

Quorn™ chicken-style pieces, one-third of a frozen bag (100g)
14 103
Quorn™ sausages, 1 sausage from a 250g pack of 6 (40g) 5 70
Quorn™ sausages (Cumberland style), 1 sausage from a 300g pack of 6 (50g) 7 86
Quorn™ mince, one-third of a frozen bag (100g) 14 94
Quorn™ family roast, one-fifth of a roast pack size 454g (90g) 14 96
Quorn™ peppered steak, 1 steak from a pack of 2 (100g) 11 107
Quorn™ quarter pounder, 1 quarter pounder from a pack of 2 (113g) 20 157
Quorn™ bacon-style rashers, one-quarter of a 150g pack (40g) 5 76
Quorn™ lemon and black pepper escalopes, 1 escalope from a pack of 2 (110g) 11 249

Resource number: 4977/VER2
Last reviewed: June 2022
Next review: June 2025

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If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your dietitian.

Phone: 020 7188 1428, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

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