What Happens When You Eat Six Small Meals?

Get Ready For Bariatric Surgery: Six Small Meals

Weight loss surgery is a great tool to help you to improve your health and take control of your quality of life. The time from the consultation with your surgeon at Barix Clinics to the time of surgery can vary from a few weeks to several months. Use this time to prepare for post-surgery life and put healthy habits in place.

After surgery, we recommend that you eat six small protein-rich meals throughout the day. You’ll find benefits to eating these mini meals prior to surgery too:

  • Keeps energy high and prevents mood swings by keeping blood sugar levels even throughout the day.
  • You’ll feel satisfied with smaller portions as appetite is kept in check.
  • You may even experience a little pre-surgical weight loss as your metabolism shifts into a higher gear.
  • You’ll minimize trips to the vending machine, stops at the gas station, runs through the drive-thru and other opportunities for not-so-good choices when you plan healthy snacks into the day
  • One more healthy habit that you’ll already have in place for your post-surgery lifestyle.

Avoid Pitfalls 
A six small meal pattern is not grazing all day and night. Eat your meal or snack and then put the food away until your next meal or snack about 2 ½ to 3 hours later. Choose healthy, unprocessed foods to nourish your body. Get in the habit of sipping on calorie-free beverages between meals, such as water, Crystal Light, Vitamin Water Zero, Mio, and many other options.

If you are struggling to eat just one or two healthy meals, you may wonder how you are going to get in six healthy meals. Follow the ideas below and you’ll be well on your way!

Start your day right with a good protein source at breakfast. Consider an egg white and veggie omelet, scrambled eggs, leftovers (why not?) or a low sugar yogurt. If you’re not much of a breakfast person, drink your breakfast as you commute—a fruit smoothie with protein powder, a ready-to-drink protein shake, or no-added-sugar Carnation Instant Breakfast.

Use light breads for sandwiches or go breadless by rolling up lean meat stuffed with veggies and a drizzle of Italian dressing. Soups are a satisfying option—you may want to add some extra chicken (canned, roasted, or leftover) to boost the protein. Top salads with lean protein options like turkey, tuna, chicken or salmon.

Build your meal on lean meat, fish or poultry and add in some crispy veggies. Slow cookers are a great way to go for busy nights–it’s ready when you walk in the door.

3 Healthy Snacks
The possibilities for healthy snacks are endless. Try light string cheese and apple slices, cottage cheese and fruit, crackers and peanut butter, a portion-controlled serving of almonds, half of a turkey sandwich, a lean ham and Swiss cheese roll-up, a tortilla with melted light cheese, or refried beans and baked chips. Make a list of your favorites so you remember to stock up when you go shopping.

Get Efficient
A little planning goes a long way. Be sure to stock up on healthy foods at the grocery store. Take healthy meals and snacks with you when you leave home–packing a lunch/snack bag in the evening really helps improve morning efficiency. 

If you plan it right, you can cook once for several meals. For example, bake chicken on Monday and have Chicken Marsala that night, Hot Chicken Salad the next night, Caesar Salad for lunch on Wednesday, and chop and freeze for Chicken Chili on Friday night.

Be Selective
The food you choose impacts your health and well-being. Choose healthy foods. Build your diet on lean sources of protein—think lean fish, poultry and meat; low fat dairy and legumes. Add in fresh vegetables and fruits. Balance with small amounts of whole grains. Move away from highly processed foods.

Armed with a plan and healthy foods on hand, you are well on your way to healthy eating. Implementing a six small meal plan will put one more healthy behavior firmly in place so you can approach surgery with confidence that you can easily handle the post-surgery lifestyle.

About Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.
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