Even after you feel like you’ve mastered this whole new way of eating after bariatric surgery, those old food cravings can creep back up every now and then. It is important for long-term weight management to keep junk food to a minimum. These foods do not keep you full (aka “slider foods”), are usually high in added sugars/fat/salt, do not contain much fiber and do not contain enough protein to meet your needs.

Now, is it realistic to say you will never have some fun treats every now and then? Not at all. But for some patients, as they get farther out from surgery and life happens, they may feel like their cravings rear their heads much more often than before. This is where it is important to have a plan and identify healthier alternatives that can still satisfy those cravings.

Below are a few healthy swaps to help tackle your sweet (or salty) tooth:

  • Swap potato chips for Kale chips or protein chips. Raw veggies with low-calories dips like light ranch or hummus are another option.
  • Bake veggie fries or air fry crispy veggies versus frying potatoes.
  • Choose sugar-free or low-sugar ice cream versus full sugar options.
  • No bake protein energy bites versus doughnuts or pastries.
  • Low-sugar dark chocolate nuts versus candy bars. High protein, low-sugar protein bars are also great to have on hand when that sweet tooth kicks in!
  • Experiment with fun, new protein shake recipes in place of milkshakes.
  • Frozen grapes or frozen bananas versus your favorite fruity-flavored candy.
  • Swap regular pasta for spaghetti squash, zoodles or even veggie pasta like chickpea pasta.
  • Try a protein mug cake in place of traditional high-calorie cakes.

After surgery, it is all about things in moderation once you are past the initial healing and weight loss stages. It is best to keep the majority of your intake to fresh, whole food sources to fuel your body. But when the time comes and those cravings hit, you can have a plan in place to stay on track to your goals!