There’s no doubt that eating is an integral part of our culture. We enjoy a great meal, especially when celebrating a special occasion. We hold job interviews over meals. When friends and family get together, the first question usually is, “Where are we going to eat?” Whether you notice or not, when dining at a restaurant, you tend to eat more food – especially more fatty, fried foods – than you would at home.
This is especially important to note because bariatric surgery patients must change eating habits and pay close attention to what they eat after having surgery. Bariatric surgery reduces the size of the stomach, which means you must eat smaller portions. Fatty and difficult-to-digest foods are not good for bariatric patients. So, how do you eat at your favorite restaurant after weight loss surgery?
Where to Eat
Before going out, check your favorite restaurants’ menus online. Keep in mind that a high-protein appetizer is enough for a meal for bariatric patients. You also can order a full-size meal with the intent of taking leftovers home for future meals. It’s even better if the restaurant allows you to substitute items. For example, if the meal comes with potatoes, order a salad or vegetables instead.
What to Eat
Every meal needs to include proteins, dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Lean meats (eggs, seafood, baked fish, grilled chicken) and tofu are great options. Salads and steamed vegetables are good side dishes. Order the salad dressing on the side so you can control how much dressing you eat. Vinegar or mustard-based dressings are preferred over creamy dressings.
How to Eat
After bariatric surgery, patients must follow a specific diet of liquids, then soft foods for the first couple of months. You’ll want to live by these lifelong rules:
- Eat smaller portions
- Eat as slowly as possible
- Chew well
- When you feel full, stop eating immediately
- Make sure your meal is always 2/3rds protein
You’ll eventually be able to eat at most restaurants as long as you do your research and make well-informed decisions. Here are some ways to create a nutritious weight loss surgery diet menu.