After bariatric surgery, we recommend patients include two to three small snacks in their meal plan throughout the day. Snacking can help keep your blood sugar stable, give you an added energy boost, and curb hunger between meals. However, there are a few snacking mistakes to avoid after bariatric surgery and promote weight loss.
This blog will go over the most common mistakes our patients make when snacking and how to ensure they don't hinder your weight loss goals.
5 Common Snacking Mistakes to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery
1. Snacking When not Hungry
Eating when you are not hungry is a common snacking mistake to avoid after bariatric surgery. You will likely surpass your daily caloric limit when you mistake head hunger for physical hunger. Weight loss is based on creating a calorie deficit. And when you overeat or eat in surplus of what you are burning, you are at risk of causing weight gain.
2. Mindlessly Eating
Like eating when not hungry, mindless snacking can also cause weight gain as it often leads to overeating or eating unhealthy foods. Mindless eating is similar to emotional eating, or the idea that we eat to handle our emotions. And when was the last time you reached for some carrot sticks when you were bored or sad?
We recommend avoiding eating when you are bored or feeling extra emotional to prevent mindless eating and hindering your weight loss.
3. Not Planning
One of the best ways to avoid falling into a snacking pitfall is to plan your snacks along with your meals. Planning snacks will limit your unhealthy grazing and help you consume fewer calories. Similarly, packing a snack will prevent you from that feeling of extreme hunger that has you making easy and unhealthy food choices you will later regret.
4. Not Checking Serving Sizes
Just because it is "healthy" doesn't mean you can eat it all. Certain snack foods, such as nuts and cheese, are healthy and nutrient-dense but can also be high in calories. Therefore we recommend checking the portion size before making a snacking mistake that will hinder your weight loss.
5. Treating a Meal like a Snack
After bariatric surgery, your stomach size is reduced, limiting the capacity for food intake. Your meal portion sizes will be smaller; however, you still need to ensure you are eating adequate macros and portions to prevent hunger.
Contrary to what you might believe, undereating can actually damage your metabolism and make weight loss harder. Restricting your calories too much can actually be detrimental to your weight loss goals. Restricting your calories too much can trick your body into thinking it is in starvation mode, so when you do eat, your body will hold on to those calories as fat.
Healthy Bariatric Snacks
Snacking between meals is encouraged, so long as you do so in a healthy way and bypass the above snacking mistakes to avoid after bariatric surgery. There are several low-calorie, high-protein snacks we recommend bariatric patients eat to help manage their hunger between meals.
- Chopped non-starchy veggies such as broccoli, cucumber, celery, and snap peas
- Carrots and hummus
- Celery and peanut butter
- Low-carb yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Deli meat and cheese roll-ups
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Berries and melons
- Protein supplements such as protein bars and shakes