Bariatric Friendly Restaurants Tips

Written by Philip Duncan and medically reviewed by Dr. Stephen Boyce, MD

Just because you’ve had bariatric surgery does not mean you can’t go out to eat. This article is full of tips you can use to healthily eat out at restaurants of all kinds.

This article will help layout some tips and tricks to use when going out to eat.

Yes, it’s true that your eating habits will have to change following your bariatric surgery but this does not mean that you can’t go out and enjoy good food. It seems like there are endless restaurants and food options out there which can be both good and bad.

First, it can be bad because there will be lots of options that look and probably taste really good but don’t fit your new bariatric friendly diet. You will need to put your old food choices under a microscope and the chances are they won’t be in line with your new and improved lifestyle.

Then the good. Since there are so many options, it means that there are bound to be healthy choices that you can choose from that will be both delicious and bariatric friendly. Just because you can’t order that pizza or hamburger and fries does not mean there aren’t choices that will keep you on track and be enjoyable.

Here are some tips to be mindful of when going out:

These will apply no matter where you eat!

  1. Try sharing a meal with someone
  2. Know your calorie budget going in
  3. Ask for a to-go box right away
  4. Order a half portion or lunch portion
  5. Avoid soups as they are high in fat and low in protein
  6. If you are getting dressings or sauces, ask for them on the side
  7. Always look for the low fat and/or heart-healthy options
  8. Know what you are going to order ahead of time
  9. Ask for a veggie as your side
  10. Try and avoid alcohol or limit how much
  11. Try and drink only water or unsweet tea as they are zero calorie
  12. Limit going out to eat 1-2 times per week
  13. Avoid foods that have unhealthy or fattening descriptions (fried, alfredo sauce, butter sauce, etc…)

As you can see above, there are many ways to approach your dining out experience that will undoubtedly help you stay on track!

Now let’s dive into some specific food types to help you no matter where you go to eat!

Fast Food Restaurants Tips

Junk food Dining Out Tips

We all know that fast food is typically cheap and convenient which is why it’s so easy to get in trouble and fall off track quickly with just one quick trip through the Drive-through!

Here are some mindful tips to keep handy if you find yourself needing a quick pick up for lunch or dinner:

Tips for bariatric patients eating at fast food restaurants

We know it can be really easy to go back to what you use to eat but we can assure you that if you can use the tips listed above you will be thanking yourself later!

Italian Restaurants Tips

Italian Food Dining Out TIps

I think for most people the first thing that comes to mind here is Olive Garden. We all love those endless breadsticks and countless pasta dishes to choose from, but the calories will add up faster than you can count if you don’t go in with a plan.

Here are some tips to use when going out to your favorite Italian restaurant:

Tips for bariatric patients eating at italian restaurants

Mexican Restaurants Tips

Mexican Food Restaurant Tips

It seems like there is a Mexican restaurant on every corner no matter where you go! This can make it really hard to avoid especially if you love Mexican food. The good news is that you can still go to your favorite Mexican restaurant while sticking to your diet.

Here are some helpful tips that will help you make smarter food choices:

Tips for bariatric patients eating at mexican food restaurants

Just because you can’t order your usual doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your meal while keeping your calories in check. Use these tips and enjoy!

Asian Restaurants Tips

Asian Food Restaurant Tips

Asian food can be packed with tons of flavor which means there are probably a lot of options that aren’t very bariatric friendly! Luckily, just a few modifications or changes to your choices can make a world of difference without having to sacrifice all of the flavor.

Here are some really useful tips to use:

Tips for bariatric patients eating at asian food restaurants

Asian food can oftentimes have drive-through restaurants so please be mindful of this and use the above tips as well as the fast-food tips if you find yourself in this situation!

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Yes, you can still eat out after bariatric surgery but this doesn’t mean it should become a habit. If before surgery you found yourself constantly eating out then this could be a hard behavioral change, but you can do it!

Just because you had surgery doesn’t mean you are free and clear to do as you please and go back to eating how you want. Surgery is only part of the equation and your long term success is determined by you and you alone.

Please use this article as a guide and you will undoubtedly be successful!


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What are your tips and tricks to post-bariatric success?

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