11 Ways to Beat Sugar and Snack Cravings After Bariatric Surgery

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

An exciting explainer video on why we would grab a pack of chips instead of a salad.

How to Reduce Junk Food Cravings

It is important to eat well to maintain good health and adopt a healthy lifestyle after weight loss surgery. Here are some tips to deal with junk food cravings.

  1. Never go to the grocery store hungry
  2. Avoid going to fast-food restaurants
  3. Don’t bring “trigger foods” like french fries into the house
  4. Replace desserts with fruits
  5. Chew food properly
  6. Maintain a food diary to keep a check on what you’re eating
  7. Use apps like MyFitnessPal to keep track of your food’s nutritional levels
  8. Don’t eat chips out of the bag or ice cream out of the container because it is uncontrollable
  9. Physically measure out a serving, whether it is ten potato chips or 1/2 cup of ice cream
  10. Use a smaller plate than the usual one
  11. Be mindful of what you’re eating and enjoy knowing that occasional treats are just fine when part of a balanced diet
Why to Avoid Distracted Eating

Bariatric Friendly Snacks

  • Add your unflavoured protein powder to your soups or dips
  • A stick of string cheese or a handful of almonds (15g protein)
  • Scrambled eggs + 1 tbsp. of  parmesan cheese (10g protein)
  • Try the 80-20 row criteria, 80% water, and 20% sugar-free liquids
  • One piece of Dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa)- 170 calories
  • 1 fruit-filled nonfat granola bar- 97 calories
  • Nuts work wonderfully
Healthy Snacks Options After WLS

Replacing Unhealthy Cravings with Good Food Choices

Our bariatric dietitian Katelyn Mock says:

It all depends on your cravings; and what foods you can use as a healthier substitution.

This is something I like people to spend a lot of time on and to think about those cravings and what foods they are.

Identify the Reason for Junk Food Addiction

Another important consideration is what is the source of these cravings. Is it concerning emotional or stress eating?

If it is, then diving into that topic more and working with a counselor who is familiar with emotional eating habits is going to be very valuable to a long-term solution.

Otherwise, you are just repeatedly putting a “small band-aid on a huge wound.”

Junk Food Addiction and Obesity
Avoid Junk Food Cravings Post Weight Loss Surgery

Tackling Simple Hunger Pangs

If your craving is just a simple craving, it can be much easier to find a healthier fix.

“I, for instance, am someone that gravitates to sweets over salty foods, so I rely on my 1 oz square of dark chocolate. By savoring that small serving and taking the time to enjoy the flavor of it, I can prevent myself from eating a handful of Oreos.” – Katelyn JM (US-RD Nutritionist)

When it comes to salty or savory foods, you can get air-popped popcorn and add your salt or flavoring.

Popcorn is a great alternative because you can control the salt and toppings on it compared to just buying something from the grocery store.

If you are less than two months out from surgery, you will want to hold off on the popcorn and other crunchy, dry foods.

With any craving, the key is moderation. I would suggest if you want to have a small amount of whatever you are craving, that is ok because it is mostly about planning and figuring out how to include all foods in moderate amounts.

In America, obese and overweight people have shown a greater addiction to food and consume larger portion sizes.[1]Carrie R Ferrario. “Food Addiction and Obesity” Neuropsychopharmacology 2017 Jan; 42(1): 361
View in Article
Many people find it a struggle to lose weight with conventional means — diet control and exercising — and may also suffer from co-morbidities of obesity.

They may consider having bariatric surgery, such as a gastric sleeve or bypass. This involves making changes to the gastric capacity of the stomach as well as to the way it digests food. The combined result of this is weight loss.


  1. Carrie R Ferrario. “Food Addiction and ObesityNeuropsychopharmacology 2017 Jan; 42(1): 361

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *