It is not unusual to become overwhelmed and confused when sifting through the latest nutritional data to improve your health after bariatric surgery. However, when it comes to improving your diet, sometimes the little steps can make a big difference. Here are five foods that you can substitute for healthier options to improve your overall health and wellness, especially after weight loss surgery.
Whole Grains Over Processed White Foods
Although we recommend that patients limit their carb intake after weight loss surgery, we encourage you to opt for whole grains as the most nutrient-dense option. There is a long list of whole grains that you can swap out for the usual overly processed white foods. Start by subbing whole wheat flour for white flour in your baked goods. You can start small by only using half whole wheat and half all-purpose if you are unsure about the taste and texture. Using whole wheat flour will provide an added dose of fiber.
You can also use this same line of thought with your pasta. Most whole wheat or multigrain pasta contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. It will not take long before you become accustomed to the slightly nuttier flavor of whole wheat pasta varieties. Brown rice for white rice is another easy substitution that you can make for your diet and health after bariatric surgery.
Ground Turkey or Chicken Over Ground Beef
It is no secret that many Americans eat too much red meat. The good news is that there are many delicious and nutritious meals that you can use in place of beef for all of your go-to recipes. Using ground turkey or chicken in recipes that you would usually use beef will save you loads of calories and fat yet still give you the high protein content you need after weight loss surgery.
While you may still want to indulge in ground beef for your favorite burgers on the grill, subbing out these lower fat meats for recipes where they blend in with the other ingredients may not be as noticeable. For example, using ground turkey in your chili may not alter the taste as much once you add all the tomatoes, spices, and toppings.
Healthy Salt Over Regular Salt
Before you reach for the salt shaker, consider what too much sodium does to your body. Consuming too much salt will increase your risk of high blood pressure, leading to many health issues down the road. The good news is that the Boulder Salt Company offers a healthy alternative to regular table salt. This healthy salt company prides itself in its innovative product that is low in sodium and alkaline. The product is also sugar-free with no added flavors or additives. Experimenting with new herbs and spices is another fun way to cut the salt from your diet while still retaining flavor in your food.
Applesauce Over Oil
Savvy bakers have long known the secret of substituting applesauce for cooking oil in baked goods. Instead of going with the full amount of oil in your next recipe, try substituting half of the amount with applesauce. It is as simple as it sounds. Keeping some mini applesauce cups in your pantry is an excellent habit to get into so that you can lean on this instead of high-calorie baking oils.
Applesauce provides the needed moisture and texture that oil delivers for nearly any baked good. You will not even notice that you are missing the oil. Try this trick in cakes, brownies, muffins, and more. It is nearly fool-proof.
Low-Fat Dairy Over Full-Fat Dairy
Dairy products are another area that you can tweak to improve the quality of your diet and health after bariatric surgery. If you are still using full-fat milk, now is a good time to switch to a lower-fat option. If you cannot stomach skim milk, try compromising with 1% or 2% milk. Or try using a non-dairy milk option such as soy or almond milk—just be sure you are choosing the unsweetened varieties.
If you insist on using full-fat dairy products, try using a smaller amount of your favorites. Or try using a cheese that is stronger in flavor. For example, a sharp cheddar will deliver a more powerful flavor than a mild white cheese, allowing you to use less cheese to achieve the same full taste.
These simple food substitutions can significantly affect the overall quality of your diet and health after bariatric surgery, ultimately helping you achieve your health and weight loss goals.