How Is Eating Out After Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric patients should not assume their post-op life is like torture. Many of my patients ask about eating out after bariatric surgery and whether they can do it or not. The direct answer is, yes you can. But you need to bear in mind one major rule: choose meals that are high in protein and low in carbs and fat. There are ways you can do this better like checking the menus before going out and choosing the dishes that tick these boxes. You can also ask for half a normal-sized portion or share your food with someone else. Keep reading this article to get the necessary information in detail.
Tips on Eating out After Bariatric Surgery
Eating out is not just about food, but more about socializing with your friends and family. As you learn some solutions to eat out more healthily, share your information with them too so that they can help you experience a better time as well. Let’s check out some of these tips.
Some General, Handy Eating out Tips
As I’ve mentioned in the introduction, when it comes to eating out, the rule of thumb is to eat protein and avoid fats and carbs as much as you can. It might seem easy, but it takes some time for you to get used to the new situation, enjoy eating out after bariatric surgery, yet at the same time do not harm your health.
To do it all more efficiently, there are some tips I’m sure you’ll find effective. I recommend them to all my patients, and almost none of them has ever had a problem with eating at restaurants.
1- Choose the restaurant, check the menu items beforehand, and know what you are going to order.
2- Share your food with someone else. Almost all the time portion sizes are big for the stomach of bariatric patients. You don’t want to force anything on your stomach and then deal with discomfort and guilt.
3- You will need a to-go box. Don’t hesitate to ask for one as it’s better either not to throw the rest of your food or try eating it while you’re satiated.
4- Avoid alcohol after surgery. You can still have alcohol after weight loss surgery, but not as much as you could before.
5- Ask for the accurate size of the food portion and if it’s too much, order half a portion.
6- Avoid soups. Most people think soups are healthy but the fact is because they are low in protein and high in fat, soups are not good choices for bariatric surgery patients.
7- Order veggies as your side.
8- If you need drinks, avoid sweet beverages. Instead, you can drink water or unsweet tea.
9- You are allowed to eat out, but try to limit it to once or twice a week.
10- Avoid these: fried, butter, butter sauce, alfredo sauce, etc …)
11- Avoid dressings, especially creamy sauces. You can have tomato-based sauces and even that, ask it on the side, not covering your entire meal.
Can I have one of the world’s cuisines?
When you think about eating out after bariatric surgery, you might just want to go for a cuisine instead of a specific food. It’s very common to hear “let’s go out and eat Chinese” or “should we go for Italian?” The world’s cuisine is very rich in food and there are many options to fulfill your cravings. Let’s check them one by one and see the best option for every cuisine.
1- Italian food
Your meal should mostly contain protein with almost no fat like grilled chicken. It is better to avoid creamy sauces and order tomato-based sauces instead. You should also avoid carbs such as pasta, pizza, and garlic bread. Here’s an idea of what you can choose from the menu:
|Grilled calamari||Whole wheat noodles||Grilled or steamed vegetables|
|Steamed mussels||Grilled fish||Lemon juice|
|Minestrone soup||Marina sauce||Marina|
2- Mexican food
Mexican food generally includes carbs such as chips, tortillas, and rice. You can especially ask the waiter not to bring chips. Here’s more or less what you can eat at a Mexican restaurant:
|What You Can Eat||Entrees||Sides|
|Ceviche, chicken tortilla soup, seafood soup||Fajitas||Black or pinto beans|
|Taco salad (minus the shell), churrasco, black beans, salsa, burrito bowls without the rice||Pico de gallo|
|Pescado veracruzano, siete mares|
3- Chinese & Japanese food
Generally, Asian food is best known for noodles/ramen and good hot spices. However, they also have a lot of good options for protein-rich and nutritious foods. Here is what you can have at a Chinese restaurant:
|Appetizer Foods||Entrees||What to Avoid|
|Egg drop||Steamed entrees||Fried egg rolls|
|Wonton soup||Sauce on the side||Lo mein|
|Hot and sour soup||Chicken or shrimp||Sweet and sour meals|
|Mixed vegetables with tofu||Steamed vegetables||Rice|
Here’s what you can go for at a Japanese restaurant:
|Appetizers||Entrees||Sides||What to Avoid|
|Cucumber salad||Nigiri||Low-sodium soy sauce||Dynamite|
|Rolls with mayo|
Be Alert for These on the Menu!
If you see any of these words on the menu, just skip to the next option:
- Cheese sauce
- Butter-wine sauce
- Baked or cooked in butter
- Cream sauce
- Fried with cheese
This means you MUST avoid:
Alfredo, escalloped, parmigiana, sautéed, Tempura, Hollandaise, and béarnaise.