Posted Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Miriam Hospital experts offer tips to help bariatric patients survive the holidays
For many of us, the holiday season is synonymous with food, making it a tempting time of year for those trying to watch their weight. The holidays can be especially challenging for patients who have had bariatric (or weight loss) surgery and are trying to maintain their success and follow a strict post-operative diet and lifestyle regimen. But experts with the Center for Bariatric Surgery at The Miriam Hospital say it is possible to enjoy the delicious tastes of the season and keep your weight loss goals on track.
“Holiday eating can result in an extra pound – or five or ten – so over time, that can really add up,” said Kimberly S. Maloomian, RD, LDN, lead dietitian at the Center for Bariatric Surgery at The Miriam Hospital. “However, it’s not inevitable. You can celebrate with your favorite holiday treats and maintain your weight by following a few simple rules that really are applicable to anyone, not just those who have had bariatric surgery.”
Maloomian offers the following holiday survival tips:
Planning ahead is key. Everyone has their holiday food triggers; determine what yours are ahead of time and come up with a strategy to control them. Call your host or hostess and ask what will be served so there aren’t any surprises, or ask what you can bring or contribute – that way you’ll know there will be at least one bariatric-friendly dish available.
Make sure your family and friends know that this may be a difficult time of year for you in terms of your weight loss goals. Having the support of loved ones can make all the difference.
Meat and fish are usually the ‘safest’ items at the holiday dinner table because they’re unlikely to be prepared with any added sugar. Olive oil used in preparation is OK.
Mashed vegetables are tricky as usually they contain butter, cream, brown sugar and/or maple syrup, which are all laden with fat and calories. If you’re not sure if there will be an appropriate vegetable for you to eat, volunteer to bring a dish, such as roasted vegetables or a mashed vegetable made with milk, cheese, lemon and garlic.
Appetizers can also be challenging. If you eat too many treats before dinner, you might not be able to eat at dinnertime, given how small your stomach is post-surgery. So it’s important to gauge how long you will be at a holiday event and also how long it will be before the main meal is served. If you are hanging out for more than two hours watching football or chatting before you eat dinner, go ahead and have a bit of cheese, raw oyster (just remember to chew) or vegetables with yogurt dip. The same rules apply for dessert.
In lieu of pie, you could make a trifle with fresh fruit, sugar-free pudding and sponge cake (just remember to eat around the sponge cake) or enjoy a glass of wine as your dessert!
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