Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Kayla
If you’ve had bariatric surgery, chances are you rarely leave the house without something to nibble on, and you’re always on the lookout for new bariatric-friendly snack ideas.
Whether you’re seeking new ways to soothe your sweet tooth or hunting for easy, on-the-go options, here are my favorite dietitian-approved bariatric snacks!
Grazing vs Snacking
Believe it or not, prior to the 20th century, snacking wasn’t even a thing! Over the years we’ve drifted from three square meals a day. Now, we’ve become conditioned to crave sugary, savory, salty foods nearly every waking minute.
As a general rule, I recommend most individuals (post-op bariatric surgery or not) aim for three meals per day. However, I realize this isn’t realistic for everyone – hence this blog post!
What’s important to remember is that whether you’re eating three or six meals a day, there is a difference between having a snack and grazing.
Grazing, or continuous nibbling throughout the day, is the number one factor for weight regain after bariatric surgery. Unfortunately, bariatric surgery doesn’t resolve emotional attachments to food, so it’s important to recognize whether the urge to eat is a result of physical versus emotional hunger.
Furthermore, grazing impacts your blood sugar, and ultimately your weight loss results, differently compared to eating a standalone snack. Learn how to manage blood sugar, grazing, and lose weight with CGM – continuous glucose monitoring.
“I love learning about glucose levels and how food affects them. I’m finally learning what a balanced plate looks like post-surgery.“CGM coaching client
In short, grazing can wreak havoc on your blood sugar, and ultimately, your weight loss progress. Snacking constantly throughout the day (i.e., grazing) means your blood sugar and insulin, or “storage” hormone, are elevated leaving little to no opportunity for fat burning.
This doesn’t mean a snack isn’t warranted, though, so to help you choose blood sugar, bariatric-friendly snacks, here are some snacking tips!
When it comes to snacking, there are definite benefits to choosing whole foods over processed foods.
Whole, minimally-processed foods like those in my dietitian-approved grocery list are nutrient-dense which means they provide your body with more of the good stuff in fewer calories than their ultra-processed counterparts. In addition, choosing a whole food snack means higher satiety, so you’ll feel fuller for longer.
“Slider foods,” on the other hand, are highly processed and digest quickly. This means slider foods don’t stay in the stomach long (or “slide” through quickly) and leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry shortly after eating.
For example, imagine taking a bite of a highly-processed slider food like a cracker, potato chip, bread, or a cookie and holding it in your mouth without chewing. If you came back in 30-60 minutes (remember, no chewing!), the food would likely dissolve into a paste.
Compare this to whole or minimally processed foods like a carrot, piece of meat, or an almond. If you ran the same experiment, when you assessed the food after 30-60 minutes of hanging out in your mouth, it would look untouched. Now imagine how this plays out in your stomach!
To help maximize restriction and balance blood sugars after surgery, here are some of my favorite bariatric snacks.
Bariatric Snack Ideas
Choosing the perfect bariatric snack involves opting for high-protein, minimally processed foods that don’t cause a drastic blood sugar spike. This helps tame your appetite and leaves you satisfied from one meal to the next.
Here are some examples of protein-forward, low-carb snack options:
- Bell peppers with hummus
- Carrots with guacamole
- Celery sticks with protein peanut butter
- Cheese sticks, cubes, or cheese curds
- Chia protein pudding
- Collagen chocolate milk or collagen hot chocolate
- Cottage cheese with chopped tomatoes & fresh cracked pepper
- Greek yogurt or skyr with blueberries & walnuts
- Hard-boiled or deviled eggs
- Meat & cheese or pickle roll-ups
- Tuna packet with cucumber or bell pepper slices
- Smoked salmon with cream cheese on cucumber slices
- Bariatric-friendly bento snack box (cheese, meat, olives, vegetables, berries, nuts)
Bariatric Snacks On-the-Go
Staying healthy can be difficult when you’re always on-the-go. Keeping portable, bariatric-friendly snacks on-hand can make all the difference when staying on track with your weight loss goals.
Travel-friendly bariatric snacks come in a variety of forms and flavors. Pre-portioned or shelf-stable snacks like those listed here can be easily thrown in a purse, gym bag, or pocket for when hunger pangs strike.
- Bada Bean Bada Boom snack packs
- Beef jerky or meat sticks
- Homemade snack mix with cheese crisps, nuts & roasted chickpeas
- Kodiak Cakes blueberry muffins
- Mixed nuts
- Pork rinds
- Protein bar or shake
- Protein granola with dark chocolate chips
- Roasted edamame
- Quest protein chips
- Add collagen packets to coffee, electrolytes, or other beverages
Remember that even if a food is marketed as “high protein,” “low carb,” or “organic,” it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy.
Some of the high-protein snacks above, like Quest chips for instance, are slider foods and might not keep you full for very long (consider the experiment mentioned previously!).
Use your best judgment to select the healthy, minimally-processed foods most of the time, and if you’re in a pinch or don’t have many bariatric-friendly snacks at your disposal, then be mindful of your portions.
Bariatric Snack Containers
To help plan ahead, here are several meal prep and snack containers to help keep your snacks fresh and portions in check!
A stackable storage container is perfect for pre-portioning bulk items. This twist-and-lock system allows you to mix-and-match then grab-and-go!
Spice up your snack routine with these bariatric-friendly bento snack boxes. Each compartment is 1/2 cup, so you can plan a whole day’s worth of snacks or use them to make your very own adult lunchables!
Baby food containers make for the perfect post-op portions! These containers are 1/2 cup or 4 oz each and microwave and freezer-safe.
Save waste with reuseable food storage bags. This variety pack includes a variety of snack, sandwich, and gallon bags for all your food storage needs.
However you choose to get your snack on, remember there is no “right” way to eat after bariatric surgery. While it’s important to address emotional versus physical hunger, finding a nutrition routine takes trial and error to see what suits you best.
If you’re struggling to find a solid post-op nutrition plan, let’s connect! I help women after weight loss surgery improve their relationship with food and lose weight with CGM. See for yourself how correcting blood sugar imbalance helps you feel your best – inside and out.
For more bariatric-friendly snack ideas, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I share more nutrition tips for navigating life after weight loss surgery!
Founder of LIFe – Lose It Forever
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