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After individuals have had weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, they can feel down about foods. From a behavioral perspective, it is important to make food fun and enjoyable whether someone has had bariatric surgery or not.

The purpose of making food fun and enjoyable is to make healthy foods enticing and engaging. Many overweight and obese individuals seek out pleasurable foods that are also low in nutrition. However, food can be both nutritious and enjoyable, it just takes a bit of creativity.

Following weight loss surgery, there are dietary restrictions that may give people the impression that they will only eat plain chicken again.

This is in fact not true, and it is really about being more creative and having fun with one’s food. Just about anything can be re-created into a healthier option for bariatric needs.




When focusing on health first, this helps to shift one’s mindset around food. Previously it may have been about fulfilling an emotional need such as reflected in someone asking this question ‘what do I want to eat today?’ versus the new question which needs to be ‘what does my body need to function best today?’.

This is a key difference in a mindset shift that needs to occur following bariatric surgery in order for there to be long-term behavioral change. While food can and will still be a pleasurable experience, if someone focuses only on pleasure and ease, there may be more issues to overcome.

Fast-food is much different from healthy food fast. There are many healthy meals that can be whipped up quickly. However, the focus on health needs to be the biggest shift for making food fun so that people can make healthy meals quickly.

The old patterns of ‘fast’ can get in the way if the focus is not on health first. Therefore, by shifting one’s mindset around food to what is ‘pouch worthy’ or ‘stomach worthy’, this can help post-bariatric patients eat for their wellbeing, while seeking out tasty options.




Remember that having bariatric surgery is about lifestyle change, not dieting! This is why creativity is essential. Who said you can’t play with your food?

Of course you can!

There can be many ways to get creative with food. Now that we have the whole internet at our finger tips there are many things one can do to spice things up. Clearly, the focus is on bringing your imagination into this and you might be surprised, if you’ve had a fattening version, there is likely a “skinny” version available. When checking on blogs and sites, be sure to check the carbohydrate content and look for bariatric friendly options.

Looking on Pinterest or blogs can give people many ideas about how to stay low-carb and on plan all while trying out new recipes. There are many websites that can be found on Pinterest that help people get more creative with their food and eat healthier meals.

Think outside the box when it comes to creativity. While people think they can no longer eat pizza or breads, this may be true in the traditional sense, but once you get creative with your food, you’ll see you can eat just about anything once modified.

Modifying your food is essential after bariatric surgery so that you can get the highest nutritional impact for your new stomach. This process clearly is about getting creative because you want to enjoy your food without experiencing deprivation, which is totally possible!




Many people after bariatric surgery tend to get stuck on very specific things such as no bread, no rice, no pasta, etc. These are typical requirements because foods high in carbohydrates typically get stored as fat if not burned by the body. This is why bariatric patients are put on a low-carbohydrate diet following surgery. The goal is to maximize weight loss while also feeling full and satisfied.

Foods high in carbohydrates are typically a ‘no-no’ but that doesn’t mean you cannot still get creative with these recipes. There are tons of recipes available that change the ingredients of dishes such as stuffing, rice, and other seasonal favorites that help people stay on their plan all while enjoying delicious foods.

Instead of regular stuffing, try cauliflower stuffing.

Instead of bread, look for low-carb tortillas or low-carb flat breads. There are also cauliflower crust pizzas and cheese or chicken crust pizzas that can be just as tantalizing.

Instead of regular rice, there are other paleo friendly foods such as cauliflower fried rice, etc.

Instead of fried chicken wings, you can make baked buffalo tenders.

Instead of pasta, there are zucchini noodles, known as ‘zoodles’. Lasagna can even be made with thin sliced zucchini instead of the pasta, or without a noodle at all and is called a ‘ricotta bake’.
Instead of sandwiches, take out the protein filled interior and eat it with a fork and knife.
One of my favorite recipes to make is a philly cheesesteak skillet (sans-bread). It’s filling and delicious. It has all the fixings of a philly cheesesteak, but is low in carbohydrates.

There are so many more options as well. Having fun with food is something that can help every bariatric patient be successful after surgery because while there is a shift in the types of foods, there are so many modifications available that it can be fun to try new things.

This is why being creative and opening one’s mind to food options is essential for the post-bariatric patient. Anything the mind can conceive in low-carb, can and probably will be created!
Get your forks ready!




When it comes to living the bariatric lifestyle after having weight loss surgery, it’s important to remember to keep an open mind regarding food choices. When checking out various food options, keeping an open mind is essential. This is a new way of life and so thinking outside the box and keeping options open can make life so much easier.
This is also a time to explore with new foods or making foods in a new way. There are many options and recipes available that teach people how to eat healthier while keeping the carbohydrates down.

Just about any food that someone made or ate prior to surgery can be reproduced in a ‘bari-friendly’ way or in a low-carbohydrate option as noted above, so don’t turn your nose up just yet. Give yourself an opportunity to try the bari-friendly version. Many of my clients rave about ricotta bakes and zoodles.

This is a great opportunity to enjoy your food and often most people don’t even miss the heavy carb loaded recipes!
Even burgers can be made without the bun. Instead of French fries, steamed veggies are a good option for keeping the crunch without all the added fat.
Be open to trying new things at least once so you can test out new foods. Check them out and see if you like them. If you do not, at least you know you won’t be making that dish again.

(Give it a TWO-FORKS up if it is good, and a TW0-FORKS down if you’ll never make it again!)

However, if you do like it, then you will be able to add that recipe to your approved ‘bari-friendly’ and tasty food list so that you can make it over and over.
Having a list of options will help you stay on top of nutritious food choices and will help you stay away from trigger foods.




When changing your lifestyle, meal planning is essential. This is how you can make food fun. Prior to surgery many people ended up going through the drive through to get food which is both healthy and cost concerning.

Having a meal plan can help people to stay on track with both their weight and their budget.

However, shifting one’s mindset around the time commitment is important. Yes, cooking will take more time and more planning, yet in the long-run the reward for this time investment is priceless.

Eating a fast-food lifestyle is what packed the weight on to begin with and taking the time to prepare your food will help both your health and the health of your family as well.

The modified versions help people use the ‘bari-friendly’ options to keep food healthy, fun, and tasty.

Each week take out a sheet of paper and spend 20-30 minutes planning out your meals for the week.

Look at your favorite websites or type in “bari-friendly” or “bariatric” or “WLS” keywords into Pinterest.


Having foods that are both delicious and nutritious are important. Foods that you can make at home that are both cost effective and quick are also vital. When creating your meal plans, focus on these four areas to feel fully satisfied.
● Quick to make
● Cost Effective
● Delicious
● Nutritious
Being on top of your food plans and ensuring that your food fits into these categories can make food fun after bariatric surgery!

With love,
Kristin Lloyd



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