Written by Susan Epstein
Healthy snacking after Bariatric Surgery is very important. Your stomach size is much smaller, and you can’t afford to waste space on empty calorie foods.
The first step in making good snack choices is embracing “conscious eating”. Snacking for nourishment is different from mindlessly grazing. If it has been 3-4 hours since your last meal, then it is probably time for a snack. If you just finished a meal an hour ago and you’re standing at the refrigerator looking for something to munch on, chances are you are looking to snack for reasons other than hunger.
Here are some snacking tips to consider before selecting a snack:
- Make sure that you are not snacking out of head hunger (boredom, stress, sadness).
- Be sure to keep up with drinking your 64 ounces of fluids/day. Sometimes the urge to snack actually stems from lack of adequate hydration.
- Always measure out your portion, never eat straight out of the snack container or package.
- Be careful not to mindlessly eat in front of the t.v. or computer.
- Always eat protein first. If you are struggling to consume at least 60 grams of protein daily, then adding a protein rich food as a snack is the way to go.
- Remember your eating techniques. Always eat slowly, chew well, sit and eat mindfully.
- Yogurt can be an excellent snack choice. However, yogurts are not all created equally. Greek yogurts contain approximately 12-18 grams of protein. Regular yogurts may only contain 4-5 grams of protein. The refrigerator section in the supermarket is overflowing with various types of yogurts, so it’s important to know what to look for on the food label. Look at the Nutrition Facts and choose a Greek yogurt or at least a “light” yogurt that is less than 120 calories and is less than 10 grams of sugar.
- Nuts are a common snack that does not require refrigeration or preparation. Be sure to choose raw or dry roasted nuts. Avoid sugar coated nuts such as honey roasted. For easy portion control, you can purchase individual 100 calorie packs of nuts.
Here are some Healthy Bariatric Friendly Snack Ideas:
Looking for some crunch?
You can try…100 calorie pack of nuts or dry roasted edamame , cucumber slices (sprinkle some “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning for a bit of a kick), or any assortment of raw vegetables. To add protein, you can couple the veggies with tuna salad, cottage cheese, Babybel Light cheese, or try a nonfat Greek yogurt dip* (1/4 cup) or hummus*(2 TBSP)
*Be sure to measure out your portions
Looking for something savory?
You can try…lean turkey or chicken deli meat, rolled with some mustard on lettuce, or tuna prepared with salsa eaten with cucumber slices or celery, or try different types of tomatoes (grape, cherry, Campari, etc) and couple it with some Laughing Cow Light cheese.
Looking for something warm?
You can try…a baked apple (core a tennis ball size apple and dust with cinnamon, bake at 350 for 20 minutes) or ½ cup steamed edamame, or try roasting any of your favorite vegetables (Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms) with garlic and spices until golden brown and crispy, or sprinkle cooked broccoli or cauliflower with part skim mozzarella cheese and either bake or microwave until the cheese melts.
Looking for something sweet?
You can try…almonds dusted with cocoa powder (in 100 calorie pack size), fresh fruit, 1 cup of cubed cantaloupe with 1 ounce of low fat cottage cheese, or 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt with ½ cup fresh berries.
Looking to Grab and Go? (an insulated bag will come in handy)
You can try…hard boiled eggs, string cheese/Babybel Light/ Laughing Cow Light cheeses, 100 calorie pack of nuts, fresh fruit, unsweetened applesauce (individual 4 ounce containers), Greek yogurt, P3 portable Protein Pack (in moderation; look for ones that are 180 calories or less and avoid ones that contain dried fruits).
Be creative and have fun with it. Remember, planned snacks can be a healthy and important addition to your healthy lifestyle.