Bariatric Patients Learn How to Eat Healthy this Holiday Season

Medically Reviewed by Katelyn J. Mock, US-Registered Dietician (R.D.)

With the fall season, comes the rush of many festivities and holiday parties. After bariatric surgery, these gatherings can bring new awareness and even anxiety. Surviving the buffet line after bariatric surgery is a whole new situation to deal with.

“This time of year brings up all kinds of old emotions and memories. The foods we associate with this season are all part of that. There is definitely a reason why lots of people, not just those that have had surgery, struggle with eating healthy and weight gain this time of year. To stay true to our diet during the holiday season is possible with a little bit of motivation and dedication!” – Katelyn JM (US RD Nutritionist)

Holiday season means it’s travel time. Keep yourself insulated from bad eating habits and gluttony.


Video: Eating Behaviour During Holidays

Here are some ideas and tips to get you through this season of not so light eating. Most of this is geared towards after weight loss surgery, but many of the tips are things you can use now to help keep yourself on track during this time of the year.

  1. Avoid going to a party hungry. Eat a small healthy snack with some protein before you leave the house to curb those cravings. (Here’s a guide to eating what you can tolerate)
  2. Scan the food table at a party before you grab a plate. This lets you decide what items you want to choose, so you don’t overfill your plate.
  3. Try to pick a good protein source first. Shrimp, cubed cheese, sliced deli meat, and mixed nuts can be a good choice for those of you that are later post-op.
  4. If you are less than 6 months out from surgery, cubed cheese and deviled eggs are normally well tolerated.
  5. Next, go for some vegetables or fresh fruit to round out that protein and feel free to add a little dip.
  6. If it is offered, soup is almost always a good choice and easily tolerated at any stage.
  7. Sit far away from the food table/buffet to decrease the temptation to grab “extra” items.
  8. If you are going to a potluck, bring a healthy dish to share. This way you’ll know there’s at least one good item to add to your plate.
  9. Be cautious of the “snack bowls” at parties. These bowls are usually filled with candy, chocolate, Chex Mix, or crackers and they are typically empty calories that provide little protein, vitamins, minerals, or fiber and may fill you up before the “healthy” stuff makes it into that new pouch.
  10. If you want, do choose one “occasional” item to have so that you do not feel deprived. This may be a small cup of eggnog, a piece of fudge or peanut brittle, etc.
  11. Don’t be afraid to say “No Thanks” when the host asks if you want to take a plate of leftovers or cookies home at the end of a party.

At last, learn from the nutritionist on how to manage your craving this holiday season:


According to the UCLA Bariatric Surgery website, it helps to spend 20 minutes on meals. Take your time chewing each bite. You would consume less food. [1]“Holiday Eating Tips”, Nutrition Corner, UCLA Health, Yasmin Firouzman, RD
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Video: How to Cope with Emotional Eating During Holidays

Hope these bariatric tips for eating healthy in the holidays’ help! What are your holiday hacks? Tell us in the comments!

This Post Addresses

  • Holiday eating tips for bariatric patients
  • Thanksgiving after gastric sleeve
  • Holiday diet for bariatric patients
  1. Holiday Eating Tips“, Nutrition Corner, UCLA Health, Yasmin Firouzman, RD

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