Eating healthy and staying active are harder than ever with COVID-19 forcing many to stay home. Boredom combined with easy access can lead to mindless snacking. While a handful of chips here and a piece of chocolate there may not seem like much, those calories add up over time. If you’re not tracking them, you may go well over your calorie needs.
Snacks are a normal part of your bariatric diet as they can help keep your blood sugars balanced and provide your body with vital nutrients. However, you will need to make smart snacking choices to achieve your weight loss goals. The following suggestions can help keep mindless snacking in check:
- Check your water. People often mistake dehydration for a hunger craving. Snacking won’t solve the hydration issue, so you may continue to eat well beyond your caloric need. If you find yourself craving a snack outside of your usual mealtimes, reach for your water instead. Hydration is critical for post-op bariatric patients as dehydration is the leading cause of rehospitalization after surgery.
- Put your snacks on a schedule. Planning out your meal and snack times can help eliminate grazing. It can also keep your body fueled to avoid hunger pangs. Scheduled eating is a great way to meet your protein goal as well.
- Portion your snacks. Proper portion sizes are a huge part of your new diet, and snacks are no exception. If you’re eating snacks straight out of the bag while chatting or watching a movie, you’re likely to overeat without knowing it. Take the time to portion out your snack before you start eating to avoid this problem.
- Practice mindful eating. This tip crops up regularly, and for a good reason. If you’re eating while on the go or while multitasking, you aren’t giving your food the attention it deserves. Sit down and enjoy your meal. Notice the flavors, and pay attention to how full you feel. Mindful eating drastically reduces the likelihood of overindulging.
- Prep healthy snacks ahead of time. If you wait until you’re starving to find a snack, you’re going to go with the easiest option. What is easiest is rarely the healthiest. Prepping snacks ahead of time can eliminate the hassle that often leads you to pick less healthy options.
- Remove the temptation. Keeping salty or sweet treats in plain sight will test the staunchest of wills. If you find yourself consistently indulging in unhealthy snacks, you should stop buying them to eliminate the problem. You can also opt to portion them out in single servings ahead of time or store them on a hard-to-reach shelf in the back. So long as you don’t see them every time you open the pantry, you’re less likely to cave to the craving.
- Mind your macros. The body needs a combination of protein, carbs, and healthy fats to remain in good health. However, your dietary requirements will change after bariatric surgery. Aim to fill half your plate with lean protein, a quarter of it with veggies, and the remaining quarter with high-fiber carbs. You can incorporate healthy fats into your meals by adding nuts or sunflower seeds when applicable.
- Check-in with your emotions. The urge to snack may be a manifestation of sadness, anxiety, or procrastination. Practicing self-care and tuning into your emotions can help you identify if you’re truly hungry or eating to avoid your feelings. Some self-care examples include exercise, meditation, reading, working on a hobby, or having a mini at-home spa day.
You don’t have to give up snacks after bariatric surgery so long as you make smart choices. The occasional indulgence is perfectly fine, as complete deprivation is almost impossible to sustain. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of weight loss surgery.