Sweet Snack Alternatives to Satisfy the Whole Family
Finding the right snacks can be paramount for those who have undergone bariatric surgery. Sometimes whipping up something yourself can be the best option, in terms of creativity and nutrition benefits.
While you’re doing this, why not get your kids involved? Cheri Leahy, RDN, CSOWM, lead bariatric dietitian at Jefferson Health – New Jersey, encourages patients not only to share their new eating habits with their entire family, but to remove the stigma from snacking!
The kitchen isn’t just a place to dine and dash, says Cheri. “It’s a place to learn, try new things, communicate, grow together, and nourish your bodies together.”
Snacking doesn’t have to be a bad habit or something you’re afraid to admit.
It’s perfectly healthy for a bariatric patient to have 1-2 snacks per day; however, their three main meals should be prioritized, explains Cheri. “Each time we eat, we fill up our ‘gas tank.’ As we burn energy, our fuel gauge will gradually go down. It’s important to let the body go through its natural digestive process for about 3-4 hours after a meal and focus only on hydration during that time.”
You can allow your children to snack a bit more: around 2-3 times per day. Their stomachs are smaller, and they thrive on having 5-6 smaller mealtimes, meaning their meals and snacks can be similar in size. Children also have an amazing ability to listen to their body’s natural hormones and signals for hunger and fullness, adds Cheri.
Getting your children involved in making snacks may be easier than you think. Junk food can seem attractive because of the “fun” way it is marketed. If you make healthy food fun, they will be more likely to try it, says Cheri. “Not to mention, they’re often interested in helping out in the kitchen; there’s a sense of personal fulfillment in making their own food.”
You can find countless healthy snack recipes online to try out. One habit you should avoid when snacking, however, is grabbing anything – because you’re in a rush or you’re overly hungry. Try to make healthier choices accessible everywhere: your car, your purse, and the front of the fridge or pantry.
Below are just a few treats that Cheri and her children enjoy making together:
Homemade Granola – If you’re craving a crunch!
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup coconut chips or flakes
- 2 coconut + almond butter + chocolate chips MacroBar
- 2 tbsp almond butter, or nut/seed butter of choice
- 2 tbsp liquid sweetener
- 1/2 cup applesauce
In a food processor, blend the almond butter, sweetener, applesauce, and MacroBars, until the bars have broken into small pieces. Stir in the oats and coconut. Once combined, spread the mixture evenly onto the baking tray. Bake for around 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring at the halfway mark. Let cool before serving.
Banana Sushi – If you’re craving something sweet!
- medium banana
- 1 tablespoon nut butter of your choice
- optional toppings: chopped nuts, chia seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, sesame seeds
Peel banana and then spread on 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Sprinkle on optional toppings and press them lightly into the nut butter to ensure they will stick. Using a sharp knife, evenly slice banana into “sushi” pieces. Enjoy right away or transfer onto a baking sheet and freeze for later!
Nice Cream – If you’re in the mood for a simple, guilt-free dessert!
- 1 cup frozen strawberries (or berries of your choice)
- 1 cup frozen banana (optional)
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
If using a tall blender, place berries in first and banana in last. Blend slowly on low until a thick, creamy consistency. Enjoy!
To learn more about Bariatric Surgery services offered at Jefferson Health New Jersey, click HERE.