Bari Life knows that for most people eating out is a common everyday occurrence and has become as much of a social outing as a convenience in our busy society.
Post bariatric surgery patients often struggle with how to balance socializing with family and friends while still following a healthy diet. After bariatric surgery it is important to make sure you are tolerating solid foods well before heading out to your favorite restaurant. With a little planning and thoughtful ordering, it is very possible to eat out and maintain your post bariatric surgery meal plan.
Follow these tips to eating out in your post bariatric surgery world:
- Plan Plan Plan! Most restaurants have menus online and some even have a healthy meal section. Make sure you plan where to eat, check their online menu and decide on a few healthy options that fit your calorie budget.
- Don’t skip meals or snacks before going to a restaurant as you do not want to be excessively hungry and risk overeating and making poor food choices.
- Skip the bread or chips and even request that neither is brought to the table pre-meal.
- Don’t order a beverage. If water is brought to your table put it aside to avoid reaching for a sip out of habit.
- Order your meal before everyone else. Other people can influence our decisions without us really noticing. In social situations, people tend to mimic each other subconsciously and dining out is no exception. People’s menu choices and eating behaviors can be highly influenced by the choices of other people at the table. If you’re eating with a group that is likely to order something that doesn’t fit into your healthy eating plan, make sure you order first. You might be surprised how many people follow in your healthy footsteps too!
- Order a balanced meal that includes a lean protein, starch and vegetables. Remember protein is your priority.
- Choose foods with lower fat options including baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, and steamed.
- Avoid the foods that are batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, and breaded.
- Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets. People are notoriously bad at estimating portion sizes. So when you are faced with an unlimited supply of food at a buffet, eating the right amount can be challenging. If you’re stuck with a buffet as your only choice, using a smaller plate might help you eat less. Another effective trick is to use a normal-sized plate and fill half of it with salad or vegetables.
- Make special requests! Most restaurants are happy to accommodate any special diet needs.
- If you decide on a sandwich, choose lean roast beef, ham, turkey or chicken on whole grain bread.
- Ask for condiments such as mustard, ketchup, salsa or a low fat spread, on the side.
- Monitor portion sizes! If the dish is really large ask for a to-go box when ordering your meal so that you can immediately portion off your appropriate serving size before you eat and save the rest for later! This way you are not nearly as tempted to overeat.
- Split an entrée with a friend.
- Consider ordering an appetizer for your main meal as it generally is a smaller portion. Remember to still choose the lower fat options. Just because the appetizer is smaller doesn’t mean it’s the better option if they only have pretzels and beer cheese or fried green tomatoes, etc. (these are not the nutritious choices).
- Eat slowly, take small bites and thoroughly chew your food.
Dining out has become a way of life for most Americans. It is as much a time to get together and socialize with friends as it is a time to eat. As a post bariatric surgery patient, you must make sure to continue your healthy eating habits. By planning ahead and making conscientious food choices, you will be able to enjoy eating out with family and friends and maintain your new healthy living style.
To your health!
The Bari Life Team
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What are your tips and tricks to post-bariatric success?