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Breaking Up With Sugar – Bariatric Edition

 
Strategies to Curb Your Sweet Tooth

 

As bariatric patients, you all understand how wonderful it is to feel the freedom of not being chained to the fridge.  It truly is freedom, not to feel hungry all of the time.  You cruise along on the post-op pink cloud, the weight is coming off and one day it happens ….

 

We’ve all been there—vowing to cut back on sugar, only to find ourselves succumbing to its sweet temptations once again. Breaking free from the grip of sugar can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it’s entirely possible.

 

In this blog post, we’ll explore several effective ways to stop eating sugar and regain control over your cravings. And to make your journey even sweeter, I’ll share a few delicious sugar-free dessert recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your progress!!!

 

I want you to be able to have the tools you need so that when you go through a bad time, and find your hand back in the cookie jar, you know what to do to get back off the sugar again.

 

Understand the Impact of Sugar:

To successfully reduce your sugar intake, it’s important to comprehend how it affects your body. Sugar provides a quick burst of energy but can lead to energy crashes and weight gain. It can also contribute to various health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay. Educating yourself about these consequences can serve as a powerful motivator to break free from its grip.

 

Set Realistic Goals:

Instead of completely eliminating sugar overnight, set realistic goals that are achievable. Gradually reduce your intake by cutting out one source of sugar at a time, such as sugary beverages or processed snacks. This approach allows your taste buds to adjust and prevents overwhelming cravings that might lead to setbacks.

 

Read Labels and Choose Whole Foods:

Become a vigilant label reader. Many packaged foods contain hidden sugars under different names like fructose, sucrose, or corn syrup. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, as they are naturally low in added sugars. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are excellent choices that provide essential nutrients without the sugar overload.

 

Find Healthy Substitutes:

Discovering healthier alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth is key to breaking free from sugar’s grip. Natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit can be used in moderation. Additionally, incorporating naturally sweet foods like berries, or cinnamon can add flavor to your meals without resorting to refined sugar.

 

Manage Stress and Emotions:

Emotional eating is often associated with sugary treats. Identifying and managing your triggers can help you find healthier ways to cope. Engage in activities that reduce stress, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature. Reach out to friends and family for support or consider seeking guidance from a therapist or support group.

 

Breaking up with sugar is a journey that requires determination, patience, and mindful choices. By understanding the impact of sugar, setting realistic goals, reading labels, finding healthy substitutes, and managing stress, you can regain control over your cravings and embrace a healthier, sugar-free lifestyle.

 

Now for the fun part!  Recipes – Enjoy!

 

Here’s a recipe for Chocolate Avocado Sugar-Free Mousse:

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons sugar-free sweetener (e.g., stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional toppings: chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or fresh berries

Instructions:

  1. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop out the flesh into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, sugar-free sweetener, vanilla extract, almond milk, and salt to the blender with the avocado.
  3. Blend the mixture until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed to ensure everything is well incorporated. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a little more almond milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
  4. Taste the mousse and adjust the sweetness if necessary by adding more sweetener.
  5. Once the mousse is smooth and sweetened to your liking, transfer it to serving bowls or glasses.
  6. Place the mousse in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes to allow it to set and firm up.
  7. Before serving, you can garnish the mousse with chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or fresh berries for added texture and flavor.

Enjoy your rich and creamy Chocolate Avocado Sugar-Free Mousse guilt-free!

Note: This recipe serves as a guideline, and you can adjust the ingredients and measurements according to your taste preferences. Remember to use sugar-free sweeteners of your choice, and feel free to experiment with different toppings and flavor variations.

 

Here’s a recipe for Sugar-Free Berry Chia Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar-free sweetener (e.g., stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (e.g., strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the almond milk, chia seeds, sugar-free sweetener, and vanilla extract. Stir well to ensure that the chia seeds are evenly distributed.
  2. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, then give it another stir to prevent clumping. Allow it to sit for another 5 minutes.
  3. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to set. Let it chill for at least 2-3 hours or overnight. During this time, the chia seeds will absorb the liquid and create a pudding-like consistency.
  4. After the chia pudding has set, give it a good stir to break up any clumps and evenly distribute the seeds.
  5. Divide the chia pudding into serving glasses or bowls.
  6. Top the chia pudding with your choice of mixed berries or any other fresh fruits you prefer. You can slice the strawberries or leave them whole, and sprinkle the blueberries and raspberries over the top.
  7. Serve chilled and enjoy the refreshing and nutritious sugar-free Berry Chia Pudding!

Note: You can customize this recipe by adding a pinch of cinnamon, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut to enhance the flavor. Feel free to adjust the sweetness and toppings to suit your taste preferences.

Remember to use sugar-free sweeteners of your choice, and feel free to experiment with different combinations of berries and other fruits

 

Here’s a recipe for Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Energy Balls:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (sugar-free and unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free sweetener (e.g., stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Optional Additions:

  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, or cashews)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar-free chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, shredded coconut, sugar-free sweetener, chia seeds, almond milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  2. If desired, you can add any optional additions at this point, such as chopped nuts, cocoa powder, or sugar-free chocolate chips. Stir until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  3. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes. This will allow the mixture to firm up slightly, making it easier to roll into balls.
  4. After chilling, remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Take small portions of the mixture and roll them into bite-sized balls between the palms of your hands. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  5. Place the energy balls on a tray or plate lined with parchment paper. If desired, you can roll them in additional shredded coconut or chopped nuts for added texture and decoration.
  6. Once all the balls are formed, return them to the refrigerator and let them chill for at least 30 minutes to firm up further.
  7. Once firm, the Peanut Butter Energy Balls are ready to enjoy! Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

These Peanut Butter Energy Balls make a delicious and satisfying snack for a quick energy boost. They are packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber, making them a nutritious option for curbing cravings and providing sustained energy throughout the day.

Note: Feel free to customize this recipe by adding other ingredients like dried fruits, seeds, or spices to suit your taste preferences. Remember to use sugar-free sweeteners and check the labels of your chosen ingredients to ensure they are free of added sugars.

Healthy Hugs,

 

Sheri Burke

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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