Following bariatric surgery patients are able to enjoy dining out. Anyone who has undergone weight loss surgery can modify their dietary choices so they can enjoy a meal out with family and friends. Our surgical weight loss team list our top eight tips to enjoying an excellent eating quality of life after bariatric surgery:
1. Have a small meal card handy
Our team can provide you with a wallet-sized meal card that states you have undergone a procedure that has reduced your stomach capacity, advising that you’ll need a smaller meal. You can discreetly hand the card to your waiter without having to explain you have undergone bariatric surgery.
2. Eat protein portion first
Order a meal that is high in protein and consume the protein portion first, to ensure you are meeting your daily requirements. This could include meat (cooked medium rare), fish, or eggs. Add a serving of non-starchy vegetables like steamed greens or a side salad and you’ll have a tasty meal packed with nutrients.
3. Eat mindfully
It can be easy to overeat at restaurants, especially if it is buffet style or an all you can eat service. Try sharing a meal with your partner or friend, or choose a small starter or entrée meal. If you are at a buffet restaurant, fill an entrée size plate once and enjoy this over the course of the meal, enjoying each bite.
4. Sauce on the side
Remember that there are lots of hidden calories in condiments, so ask for your sauce or dressing on the side. This way, you can add a small, controlled amount if desired.
5. It’s ok to ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask for your meal to be prepared a certain way, to find out how a protein is cooked, or swap in or out different components of the dish. For example, ask for vegetables or salad instead of chips.
6. Be prepared
Check the restaurant’s menu online to help you choose an appropriate meal in advance or to check that the restaurant has a suitable, healthy option. By checking in advance, this gives you an opportunity to discuss a change of restaurant with family or friends.
7. Watch the ‘empty’ foods
Following weight loss surgery, you need to be mindful of nutrient poor foods, such as bread and butter, soft drinks, alcohol and desserts. As you have limited stomach capacity, it is important to eat nourishing foods first (for example, protein and vegetables) to ensure you don’t waste your valuable space on things that don’t improve your health.
8. Take your leftovers home
If your meal is too big, don’t feel pressured to eat it all. Eat mindfully, stop when you are satisfied and ask for the rest to be packaged to take home. Leftovers are a great lunch option for the following day.
Remember, weight loss surgery is a tool and the better you utilise the tool that you have, the more enjoyable your lifestyle will be. This will also result in greater weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. The team at The Surgical Weight Loss Centre will design a program to fit your lifestyle, making weight loss easier.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general education purposes only and does not replace the need to consult with a registered surgeon at The Surgical Weight Loss Centre.