How to Enjoy An Effortlessly Healthy Thanksgiving After Bariatric Surgery

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

For recent post-op patients, there are strict dietary guidelines to follow. They are unable to consume solid foods. Hence, this post focuses on people who are six months or even a year into bariatric surgery and are adjusting to life as well as the foods they can tolerate post-weight loss surgery and are approaching Thanksgiving week.

Eating Smart for a Healthy Thanksgiving After Bariatric Surgery

  1. Focus on protein first.
  2. With turkey being a lower-fat protein choice, this is usually a good place to start. Remember dime-sized bites and avoid dry cuts of meat. The dark meat of the turkey is moister and more comfortable to swallow.
  3. If you need to, mix that turkey with a small amount of gravy to keep it moist.
  4. Sneak in vegetables. Have pre-chopped veggies like peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and celery ready to go with a light dip or hummus. It is a great way to get lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber between the many holiday gatherings.
  5. Choose soft-cooked vegetables as side dishes and keep the mashed/sweet potatoes to 1/4 cup servings or less to save room for the meat and vegetables.
  6. Items like cranberry relish, rolls, and stuffing can be difficult to tolerate if you are less than four months from your bariatric surgery date.
  7. Skip the crust on that pumpkin pie and eat the filling instead.
Thanksgiving Tips Post WLS
Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Some Helpful Thanksgiving Tricks from Our Nutritionist for Bariatric Patients

  1. Don’t skip breakfast or other meals/snacks. Plan slightly healthier meals and snacks to keep you fueled. This will stop you from overeating. Foods like oatmeal, banana, peanut butter, veggies and dip, and string cheese are all great options.
  2. Lighten up on ingredients in your food preparation. Use applesauce instead of butter or oil when baking, look for reduced-fat cream soups to mix into casseroles and use whole-grain options for dinner rolls, stuffing, etc.
  3. Stay active with a walk, hike, or trip to the local gym. I love having family around during the holidays, but I also love to escape for some alone time on a peaceful walk. Keep it quiet or put in your earbuds and listen to your favorite music or podcast.
  4. Use a salad plate at meals to keep portions in check while giving you the illusion of having more food.
  5. Remember, it is still important to eat slowly and pay attention to your body’s fullness cues.

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