To Snack or Not to Snack After Weight Loss Surgery

Have you been told not to snack following weight loss surgery? It is likely some of you have. But does snacking slow weight loss? Is snacking really a problem?

Eating when you are not hungry (‘non hungry eating’) and grazing can slow and even limit your weight loss. If you are tuned in to your hunger signals and making smart snack choices, snacking may be fine.

So when is it okay to snack?

  • It is not healthy to snack just because:
  • You are bored, tired, happy, angry, sad, etc.
  • It is morning or afternoon tea time
  • Other people are eating
  • You are finishing snacks the children haven’t eaten
  • Your partner likes to snack
  • You are in a particular situation eg. you always have to get an ice cream at the beach, popcorn at the movies, lollies on long car trips, chips watching the TV.

It is fine to have a small snack between meals if you are genuinely, physically hungry. It may be that your body needs more food than the basic three meals per day. Or it may be that you can only eat very small meals and need some small snacks to meet your nutritional needs. However, in some cases it may be that your food choices at meals are not satisfying you.

If you find you need to snack, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you eating regular meals?
  • Are your meals made up of solid foods or are they sloppy food or liquids that may not be satisfying you?
  • Are you actually thirsty, rather than hungry?
  • Are you eating enough protein containing food at each meal?
  • Are you choosing low GI foods (low glycemic index foods)?

If you are physically hungry, a small, healthy snack is acceptable. Focus on nutritious snacks – when you are eating small amounts, try to make every mouthful count. Take the opportunity between meals to eat the food items that you are missing out on at meal times due to your smaller stomach capacity.

The most satisfying snacks are those containing some protein and low GI carbohydrate. Some snacks will contain both and these are the best choice. Some will only offer one of these and are a good choice.

Snacks containing protein and low GI carbohydrate:

  • Roasted fava beans or chick peas eg. Happy Snack Co
  • Slice of toasted or plain raisin bread or fruit loaf topped with ricotta cheese or Philadelphia® Extra Light (trim crusts if needed)
  • Yoghurt, particularly the higher protein options
  • Yoghurt with a sprinkle of diced fruit, nuts, seeds or granola
  • Low fat flavoured milk eg. Feel Good® (for those in South Australia)
  • Cappuccino, latte or flat white
  • Wholemeal/wholegrain crackers eg. Ryvita or Vita-Weat with cottage cheese, grated cheese, tuna or salmon, hommus, tzatziki or avocado smash (avocado, feta, lemon and cracked pepper)
  • Mini can of baked beans
  • Single serve nut, seed and dried fruit pack
  • Protein ball
  • Dates filled with nut paste
  • Home made smoothies with added protein powder/high protein milk/yoghurt.

Snacks containing protein only:

  • Hard boiled egg
  • Small tin of tuna/salmon
  • Slice of cheese
  • Single serve of nuts
  • Celery or carrot sticks with nut paste.

Snacks containing low GI carbohydrate only:

  • Slice of toasted or plain raisin bread or fruit loaf
  • Piece of fruit eg. apple, pear, banana, apricots, plum, peach
  • Frozen fruit cut into pieces eg. oranges, bananas, pineapple
  • Homemade ice block made with pureed fruit
  • Tinned fruit in natural juice
  • Small handful of Mini-wheats or Fruity Bix cereal
  • Ryvita or Vita-Weat with sliced tomato/avocado.

If you need more help with finding an eating pattern that is right for you, check out our support options.

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