If you want to lose weight or maintain your weight loss, the best method is to try eating healthy after bariatric surgery. Food fuels your body. Scientific and medical research has shown that nutrition can decrease your risk of developing specific medical conditions. 

Tips to Eating Healthy After Bariatric Surgery

Understanding the science behind food doesn’t make choosing nutritious foods any easier. Changing old eating habits is hard, but you can take steps to make the process more manageable. Here are seven tips to eating healthy after bariatric surgery.

1. Limit Empty Calories

One fairly easy way to eat healthier after bariatric surgery is to limit the liquid calories you consume. Many drinks are filled with empty calories, even those that seem healthy. Juice and smoothies are loaded with calories, and sometimes they even contain added sugar. You will also want to steer free of things like soda and many energy drinks that are also high in sugar. 

If you want to lose weight and live healthier, water is your best choice for hydration. Infusing your water with fruit, such as lemon or strawberries, can improve the taste if you’re not keen on plain water. Unsweetened tea and coffee are decent choices as well.

2. Eat More Vegetables (and Some Fruits)

Fruits and vegetables are nutritious and pack tons of health benefits. Did you know that nine servings of fruits and vegetables are recommended on a daily basis? That may seem like a lot for those who have a hard time remembering to eat these good-for-you foods or who don’t like them. If this is true of you, start small. Add a serving of non-starchy vegetables to each meal and opt for a low-carb fruit option as dessert. 

If you have recently had bariatric surgery, though, you will want to limit your fruit consumption for the first six months post-op. Fruit can contain a high amount of carbs, restricting your weight loss. The best fruit options for bariatric patients are berries and melons. 

3. Opt for Natural Foods

Natural, whole foods are always a better choice than processed ones. They don’t contain the additives you’ll find in most processed items. Therefore, you’ll get more nutritional value with each bite. As noted, fresh veggies and fruits are great options when eating healthier. Lean meat, nuts, and whole grains are also safe bets. And if you choose the right foods, you don’t necessarily need to count calories. 

4. Eat More Fiber

Fiber-rich foods tend to fill you up quickly and are useful when it comes to portion control, so you may not be as tempted to overeat on them. Fibrous foods also have health benefits, such as helping to maintain a healthy digestive system. Adding them to your diet doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Try ditching your white bread and choose a multi-grain one instead, and brown rice is just as yummy as the white variety.

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5. Consider Your Portion Size

Speaking of portions, keeping them smaller is better for your health. You’ll probably feel better, too. Limiting the amount you eat at one sitting can stabilize your sugar levels. Plus, you’ll feel less bloated when you don’t overeat. 

After bariatric surgery, we encourage patients to eat five smaller meals throughout the day. This approach could even offer the benefits of increased energy and weight loss. 

6. Make Some Substitutions

Swapping out high-fat, sugary, or salty foods for alternatives is another method to eat healthier without sacrificing taste. There are many products that are a substitute for some of the more notorious food ingredients. 

If diabetes is a concern for you, there are various options when it comes to healthier sweeteners. Remember, though, that not all substitutes are actually better for you. Some options offer empty calories, or processed substances you’re should avoid if trying to eat healthier. 

7. Plan Ahead

One excellent trick to eating healthy after bariatric surgery is to plan your meals. This ensures you don’t grab unhealthy options like fast food when you’re in a hurry or away from home. These impulse picks can sabotage your progress. Try meal planning and preparing on the weekend or packing healthy snacks so you’ll always have smart options on hand. 

Refer to these tips when eating healthy after bariatric surgery. You can make great strides in your health with just some simple research, planning, and changes.

This blog was originally written by Hannah Boothe and Published on the Bariatric Centers of America blog