Holiday meals after bariatric surgery present themselves with a unique set of challenges. Do I still strive for my protein and fluid goals? Should I avoid alcohol? Can I have my favorite foods? Trying to navigate nutrition during the holiday season can be confusing. Here are a few tips to get you through.
Protein and fluids are still important to prioritize. Staying focused on the basics will help you get through the day by keeping you full and preventing overeating.
Portion sizes are still crucial. Regardless of what you are eating, too much food does not end well after surgery. Are you worried about finishing your small portion of food before everyone else finishes their large plate(s)? Take small bites, chew thoroughly, put the utensil down and pause between each bite. Chances are that if you are pacing yourself, you will finish at the same time as everyone else.
For patients after gastric bypass surgery: remember, dumping syndrome does not take holidays! Making sure you have (and stick to) foods that are low fat, low sugar is important to get you through the day.
Alcohol does not have to be completely avoided, but it is important to still be mindful. Alcohol contributes liquid calories, which add up quickly. After weight loss surgery, alcohol is typically absorbed faster and will stay in the bloodstream longer, so limiting consumption is advised.
Favorite foods are allowed! Remember, surgery is a tool you have that helps limit portions, so make sure that you continue to use it, even on holidays. Eat protein first, and then enjoy a few bites of the other foods at the top of your list. Taking small bites, chewing well, and eating slowly, you will find the same enjoyment out of it compared to mindlessly eating a larger portion.