Life After Surgery

A New Normal for Eating: How to Navigate Your Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

by Anthony Benjamin on Oct 12, 2022

A New Normal for Eating: How to Navigate Your Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

A New Normal for Eating: How to Navigate Your Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

img33Your nutrition after bariatric surgery is vital for long-term weight loss success. After weight loss surgery, you will eventually transition to a normal diet with solid foods. While it may be tempting to take up your old eating habits, you need to focus on healthy, whole-food meals that help you maintain weight loss and live a healthy lifestyle.

At ProCare Health, we know it can be challenging to navigate food after bariatric surgery. With these tips and tricks, you can stick to your diet without compromising delicious meals or social interaction with family and friends.

Prepare Meals Ahead of Time

If you want to maintain or lose weight after bariatric surgery, you may want to consider meal prep. By planning and preparing your meals in advance, you can save time, spend less money, and achieve your weight loss goals without cooking individual meals every single day.

  • Pre-portion your smaller meals – With every bariatric diet plan, your meals should be small. When meal planning, prepare regular-sized recipes and divide them into smaller portions. You can store these portions in separate containers and freeze them.
  • Shop for and cook meals when you have time off – Use the weekend or your scheduled time off to prepare meals. During this time, you can create a meal plan, buy ingredients, and prepare meals. You can also coordinate meal plans in conjunction with sales at your local grocery store to save money.image233
  • Use smart and fast cooking options – From time to time, you may be too tired or too busy to cook. Instead of ordering takeout, stock your freezer and pantry with fast, easy, and healthy options such as frozen vegetables.
  • Organize your fridge – When prepping your meals, organize the contents in your fridge, so everything is easy to find. You may also want to dedicate each shelf for a different meal or label containers with the date you plan to eat it.

Dining Out is Still an Option

Whether a special occasion or a busy night, it can seem impossible to avoid eating at restaurants or fast-food chains after weight loss surgery. However, it is possible to dine out after bariatric surgery, if you make healthy choices.

  • Do not drink your calories – While low-fat drinks and protein shakes are the exceptions to this rule, you should avoid sugary beverages such as juice, sports drinks, soda, or sweet tea since they are empty calories. Instead, reach for water or decaffeinated drinks.
  • Ask for condiments on the side –To avoid unnecessary calories, ask for condiments to come on the side. You may also want to order condiments that are low in calories and fat, such as salsa, pickle relish, or mustard.
  • Choose your protein carefully – When reviewing the menu, be mindful of how your protein sources are prepared. Choose meats that are grilled, steamed, or baked, as compared to fried or smothered.
  • Substitute side dishes for healthy choices – Common side dishes like rice, potatoes, corn, and pasta are rich in starch. Try substituting starchy side dishes with a salad or steamed vegetables.
  • Plan ahead of time – Before you go, review the menu. Visit the restaurant website and find the menu online to help you find two to three healthy choices that align with your weight loss goals and help you stay on track.
  • Eat slowly – As with every meal, chew thoroughly and take at least 30 minutes to eat your food. By eating slowly, you can savor your meal and spend quality time with family or friends.

Cook Healthy Meals for Your Family

Preparing meals at home is the best way to stick with your weight loss goals, but it can be challenging if you need to cook meals for your family. While it may be tempting to cook two meals – one for you and one for your family – there are other options to help you avoid a lack of proper nutrition after bariatric surgery.

  • Choose lean proteins – High-fat proteins such as ground beef and rib meat increase your risk of heart disease. Instead, choose healthier options like turkey or chicken.image233
  • Cook non-starchy vegetables – Non-starchy vegetables are nutrient-dense and perfect for all types of diets. Healthy non-starchy vegetable options include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, leeks, mushrooms, onions, peppers, salad greens, spinach, and tomatoes.
  • Do not make separate meals – You may be tempted to cook two separate meals, but that can be time-consuming and exhausting. Instead, focus on cooking healthy meals that everyone can enjoy. If you do cook a more “indulgent” meal, you can substitute a specific ingredient with a healthy alternative.
  • Adjust your food measurements accordingly – If you want to skip leftovers or overeating portions, try cooking less food. If you like to cook “in bulk,” freeze or store food for future use, which can also help you save money.
  • Buy healthy options – You may want to buy sweets or savory snacks for your family, but they can be tempting and potentially dangerous to your weight loss. Instead of buying unhealthy pantry items for meals, only buy healthy foods that you can eat.

Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery: Other Tips to Remember

By following the post-bariatric diet and the following guidelines, you will be able to eat smaller amounts of food that your smaller stomach can safely digest:

  • Drink 64 ounces of fluid every day – To avoid dehydration, you need to drink 64 ounces (eight cups) of fluid between meals every day. You should drink liquids such as water, unsweetened packaged drinks, and decaffeinated coffee and tea. Avoid alcoholic beverages as well as caffeinated or sugary drinks.
  • Drink liquids between meals – Drinking too many fluids at or around mealtime can leave you feeling overly full and prevent you from eating nutrient-rich food. Instead, you should drink in between meals and avoid drinking 30 minutes before and after eating.
  • Eat and drink slowly – Dumping syndrome refers to when food and liquids enter your small intestine too quickly. Symptoms may include dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. To avoid dumping syndrome, take at least 30 minutes to eat your meals and 30 to 60 minutes for one cup of liquid.
  • Eat high-protein foods – To increase nutritional intake, eat lean, protein-rich foods before you eat any other foods in your meal.
  • Eat several small meals – Instead of eating three large meals every day, you may want to eat five or six small meals to transition to a regular diet.
  • Take recommended vitamin and mineral supplements – After surgery, your body will be unable to absorb enough nutrients from your food. You will need to take a multivitamin supplement every day for the rest of your life.

ProCare Health is Committed to Your Weight Loss Journey

At ProCare Health, your health and nutrition after bariatric surgery are our top priorities. We provide you with a variety of products, from a multivitamin specifically designed for bariatric patients to other supplements that you need to stay healthy.

We also have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages, as well as regular emails and articles with wellness tips, recipes, motivation, and more to help you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

We strive to provide you with only the best in quality because we know how important it is to your health and well-being. Feel free to contact us with questions or to place an order today!