Bariatric surgery patients should understand that they are unable to eat the same kinds of foods that they ate before their surgery. The post-surgery plan emphasizes high-protein, low fat and low/no sugar selections with high nutrient content. In short, since stomach space is reduced to the size of an egg, bariatric patients need to ‘pack’ a lot of nutrients into a small volume by thinking and choosing good fresh food.

Practical measures also requires bariatric post operative patients avoid fried foods, fibrous vegetables and many types of grains. With these limitations, patients often feel like they cannot enjoy food anymore because it can seem that there is so much they cannot eat. With the entire world of food out there, it’s a mindset or choice to be happy with what you can have, instead of focusing on the negatives of the bad foods once loved and responsible for morbid obesity.

Hummus Dippers

A wide selection of high-protein snacks add variety and nutrition to the bariatric diet.

Protein powders have a bad reputation for being chalky with odd aftertaste, but more modern clean varieties come in delicious flavors, such as caramel latte, peanut butter cup, and blueberry cheesecake. The powders combine with almond milk, skim milk, coffee or even Greek-style yogurt for a tasty, protein-packed treat. Protein shakes are especially convenient for busy, on-the-go mornings because you mix and consume them in minutes.

Protein bars are another quick food to rely on with minimal preparation. A new trend is towards nutrition bars made with nuts, fruits and whole grains replacing the sweet gooey candy type protein bars of the past. The more modern, small nut and fruit type of bar has fewer calories and can be higher in nutrition and lower in processed ingredients. The flavors and variety make them an excellent choice for the bariatric diet.

For those snack food cravings, replace chips and candy with pork rinds and jerky varieties. There are recipes for making crispy roasted nuts and even spiced chickpeas. When eating at home, deviled eggs, deli meats, cheese cubes and Greek yogurt require minimal preparation and offer both protein and vitamins when served with a plate of sliced vegetables.

The huge variety of protein snacks available makes eating food after bariatric surgery more enjoyable. Without diversity and options, the bariatric diet feels oppressive and leads to cheating with forbidden foods, which in turn leads to illness at best and weight gain at worst. Keeping high-protein snacks on hand makes it easy to grab a healthy treat when the mood strikes and avoid high-fat, high-sugar choices.

It helps to remember that you can have anything you would like to eat, but it comes down to choice. Is it worth eating? Is it pouch worthy? Does the food take you towards your goals or hinder them.

There are a lot of great things to eat if you walk on the positive side! Choose snacks with a protein purpose.