Many bariatric patients purge their pantries of unhealthy foods to avoid temptations. However, while it’s easy to identify junk food, bariatric patients may be less sure how to refill their shelves with healthy options. The meaning of pantry staples is different after weight loss surgery to meet your new nutritional needs.
Having the following items on hand can help you increase your protein intake, find healthy snacks quickly, and easily prepare bariatric-friendly meals:
- Unflavored whey protein. You’ll likely drink a lot of protein shakes during the liquid-diet phase of your surgery recovery, but protein powder goes well in many other foods and beverages. However, protein powders come in a variety of flavors, and you may not always want to add a vanilla or chocolate punch to your food. Unflavored whey protein is a great way to increase your protein without affecting the flavor of what you’re eating. For example, you can mix unflavored whey protein powder into Greek yogurt or soup.
- Protein bars. You aren’t always going to have the time to prepare a healthy meal or snack. While you shouldn’t replace meals with protein bars regularly, they are a great option when you’re short on time. Be sure to read the label, as many have an excessive amount of sugar. Quest, Power Crunch, Nature Valley, and Pure Protein bars are usually good options.
- Powdered peanut butter. Powdered peanut butter is low-fat and low-calorie compared to standard peanut butter while offering a similar amount of protein. For example, PB2 is 60 calories, 1.5g of fat, 2g of sugar, and 6g of protein per two tablespoons. PBfit is another great option, yielding 70 calories, 2g of fat, 2g of sugar, and 8g of protein per two tablespoons. In comparison, standard peanut butter is 190 calories, 16g of fat, 3g of sugar, and 7g of protein. Using a peanut butter powder instead of a traditional spread is around one-third of the calories and cuts your fat intake by up to 90%.
- Protein chips. Denying yourself all your favorite snacks may backfire, as restrictive elimination diets rarely work in the long term. Instead, try swapping out your unhealthy favorites with high-protein versions, such as protein chips. You can enjoy them with hummus, salsa, or as a standalone snack. They come in a variety of flavors, including cheddar, cheddar and sour cream, sour cream and onion, barbecue, and honey mustard.
- Canned chicken, tuna, and salmon. Canned protein options offer ease and versatility for meal planning. You can use add them to salads, make tuna wraps, or chicken salad. Opt for plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise to keep the calorie and fat content lower while boosting your protein.
- Sugar substitute. You don’t need to say goodbye to baked goods after bariatric surgery. You can find tons of recipes online to make high-protein versions of your favorite muffins, cupcakes, and more. Using a sugar substitute is a must to reduce calories and sugar intake, and a little goes a long way. For example, half a teaspoon of stevia sugar substitute is equivalent to one cup of sugar in sweetness. However, stevia is zero calories and carbohydrates compared to sugar’s 773 calories and 200g of carbohydrates.
It’s much easier to follow your bariatric diet if you stock your pantry with simple and healthy food options. Variety is also key to preventing boredom and dissatisfaction with your diet. You may feel daunted by the idea of bariatric surgery and starting a new diet. Contact us to discuss your questions and concerns about bariatric surgery.