Healthy Holiday Eating: Tips for Bariatric Patients

Healthy Holiday Eating: Tips for Bariatric Patients
Healthy Holiday Eating: Tips for Bariatric Patients

You’re not alone if you start to get anxious at the mere thought of how you will stay on track with healthy living this holiday season. Most festivities tend to be associated with all sorts of delicious foods, and many people fear that they will lose the progress they’ve made throughout the year. It’s important to remember that eating healthy is not about perfection. Healthy living is a journey, and it’s critical that you learn how to navigate through the different seasons of life. Here are a few tips for bariatric patients this holiday season:

  1. Prioritize protein: Protein will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full. Always put protein on your plate first and then build around it. Make sure you are well aware of the foods that contain protein.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. People often think they are hungry, when they are actually dehydrated.
  3. Plan ahead: If you know you are attending an event where there will be food, eat something small before you go. A protein shake or a Greek yogurt with some berries is a great example.
  4. Bring something healthy to share: If you are bringing food to an event, make sure it’s something healthy that you can eat.
  5. Practice moderation: If you are at the point in your weight loss journey where you can enjoy a small treat, make sure you keep it in moderation. You know how you will feel if you overindulge.
  6. Don’t skip meals: Contrary to what you may think, skipping meals does not help your progress. Allowing yourself to go too long without food only sabotages you. Eating consistently every 3 hours is a great way to help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you from feeling ravenous and eating the first thing you can get your hands on.
  7. Know yourself: There are people who can have the occasional treat without getting them off track and there are those who taste it once and revert back to a former, unhealthy lifestyle. Don’t allow yourself to give in to certain foods if you know they will derail you.
  8. Make exercise a priority: Generally speaking, we all eat a few more calories during the holidays, so why not add a few more steps to your day? Exercise burns calories and can be quite beneficial to avoiding a few extra pounds this holiday season.
  9. Avoid/limit alcohol: When you consume alcohol, your body’s main focus is to get rid of the alcohol (toxin) from your system. Digestion of your food is somewhat halted during this time. It is more likely for the food you eat to be stored as fat. If you choose not to avoid alcohol, limit it to a couple of drinks no more than once a week.
  10. Enjoy yourself: Holiday gatherings are meant to be enjoyed. It’s okay to enjoy some not-so-healthy treats. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat foods that aren’t ideal. Get back on track for the next meal. Remember to focus on progress rather than perfection.

Always keep in mind that it’s not really what you do at the occasional get-together, but what you do every other day of the week. Small habits lead to big changes over time. If you attend a party and over-indulge, get back on track the next morning. Enjoy yourself this holiday season!

Dr. Rajeev Vohra is a board-certified Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He specializes in laparoscopic and bariatric procedures and has successfully performed more than 10,000 surgeries over his 30+ year career. Dr. Vohra has dedicated his career to providing patients in New York with the highest quality and most compassionate care.

  • American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery
  • The American Board of Surgery
  • American Medical Association