How to Manage Food Cravings After Bariatric Surgery

No one’s immune to food cravings — practice these five tips to curb cravings and stick to your weight loss goals.

After bariatric surgery, your doctor will give you a clear breakdown of what you can and cannot eat. You should fill your plate with sensible portions of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains while staying away from foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.

Your post-surgery diet sounds simple enough, but what happens when you suddenly start craving a fistful of chips late at night? In-opportune snacking can derail your weight loss progress and have a negative impact on your post-op healing — so practice these five tips to help conquer cravings. 

1. Make Your Kitchen a Healthy Food Zone

To manage food cravings after bariatric surgery, start by making it harder to satisfy them. It’s easy to give into fatty and salty foods when you have them readily available at home, so make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy options.

If you live with people who aren’t on a strict diet, like children or roommates, you can still make your kitchen less welcoming to junk food. Try storing all cookies, chips, and candy on a high shelf in the cupboard so they’re harder to access. In the time it takes to stand on a chair and reach all the way to the back of the cupboard, you’ll have an opportunity to make a healthier choice.

2. Eat a High-Protein Diet

It’s very important to incorporate more protein into your diet after bariatric surgery. Protein helps your body heal itself after surgery and regain lean muscle mass, keeping you strong and healthy. A high-protein diet has the added benefit of keeping you fuller longer so you won’t feel as tempted to snack in between meals. Opt for lean meats like turkey, tuna, or boneless and skinless chicken breast. If you want to strive for a plant-based diet, tofu, beans, soy products, and quinoa are all excellent sources of protein.

3. Stick to A Routine

Did you know that eating at irregular intervals can make cravings worse? When you skip meals, you’re more likely to make unhealthy choices because you’re so hungry you just want to get anything in your stomach. Also, the effects of irregular meal times can snowball throughout the day. If you have a moderately filling breakfast but skip lunch, you’ll be starving by dinner and won’t watch your portions.

To crush cravings and keep your energy up, start your day with a hearty breakfast and eat all of your meals within the same ten-hour window each day. Also, leave a three-hour gap between your last meal and bedtime to aid digestion.

4. Enjoy a Healthy Snack

Sometimes there’s just no denying a craving. The secret to indulging a craving every once in a while and sticking to your weight loss goals is to find healthy alternatives to the taste you want. If you want something sweet, try a low-sugar fruit and nut granola bar instead of a brownie. If you’re craving something salty, reach for kale chips. There are also plenty of recipes out there for healthy versions of crave-able comfort foods, like crispy oven-baked chicken instead of fried chicken.

5. Listen to Your Body

A fair amount of our cravings aren’t physical — they’re emotional. Many people crave fatty foods in times of stress or snack because they’re bored, anxious, or sad. If you’re an emotional eater, be mindful the next time you have a craving. You might find that you’re not physically hungry after all! Armed with that knowledge, you can focus on eating only when your body needs it. 

We’re Here For You!

Changing your diet after bariatric surgery is one of the most challenging adjustments you’ll have to make, and you’re bound to have cravings. Luckily, the nutritionists, counselors, and bariatric surgeons at Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors are here to help! We know what it takes to achieve weight loss success, and we can help you come up with a post-surgery diet plan that leaves you feeling full, healthy, and strong. Contact us today!