Making Healthy Food Substitutions after Weight Loss Surgery
Approximately six weeks following weight loss surgery you’ll start making the gradual transition back to a whole-foods diet. This is an exciting period for many people. After weeks of gaining sustenance through liquids and soft foods, being able to enjoy a regular meal is something to look forward to.
However, the return to a more traditional diet isn’t the same thing as a return to your former eating habits. There are new rules to keep in mind, and there are certain strategies that can help you more easily stick to those rules.
What’s a Food Substitution?
A food substitution is the practice of cutting out a particular food or ingredient from a meal to replace it with another. There are all sorts of reasons to practice substituting ingredients, including personal preference and allergies. After weight loss surgery, cutting out unhealthy foods and replacing them with low-calorie, nutrient dense substitutes can help you make the most out of your diet plan.
For example, consider the following substitutions you can make to favorite dishes:
- In baked goods, replace butter with applesauce to reduce the fat content
- Use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise or sour cream
- Replace croutons with nuts, apple chips or radishes
- Swap out pasta for ribbons of sautéed squash
Benefits of Healthy Substitutions
Improving the health of your food choices will help you reach your weight loss goals after bariatric surgery, but there are other benefits of cooking healthier.
Healthy food swaps can bring a lot of benefits to your plate:
- Reduce the number of calories in a dish
- Cut level of fat and sugar in an item
- Improve nutrient value of a certain food
Many of us cook for more than just ourselves. When you create a healthy meal for your whole family to enjoy, you are helping to improve their health while keeping to your post-surgery diet plan. Researchers from Stanford University found that weight loss surgery has a sort of “halo effect,” meaning those who live with or closely associate with the person who had surgery will often lose weight too. Improved eating habits throughout the household are one of the reasons this is true.
Be creative with your cooking. Explore different substitutions and think about different flavors you may want to bring into a dish. While the amount of food you’ll eat will be reduced after weight loss surgery, the level of flavor you get to enjoy doesn’t have to be cut in the least.