Guide for Dining Out After Bariatric Surgery
By Andrea Hanson, MS, RDN, LN, Avera Bariatric Dietitian
Dining out is meant to be a stress-free time for friends, family, fun and conversation.
After bariatric surgery, it can be a time filled with stress and anxiety. The post-surgery lifestyle can make it difficult to order, but don’t just quit. Dining out doesn’t have to be this way! You can still enjoy the celebration using these ideas:
- Avoid skipping a meal before dining out. You might think this will make you hungrier so you can eat more. Trust me, it doesn’t work. In fact, skipping meals in preparation for a big meal makes your body less able to regulate blood sugars, and it can cause you to go out so hungry, your risk of over-eating goes way up.
- Ask the waitress for a take-out box when your food is served. Almost all restaurants serve excessively large portions, so pack (at least) half of it into a to-go box before you start to dig in. That way, you don’t feel pressured to eat the whole plate of food and you have leftovers to enjoy the next day.
- Try choosing more sensible sides. Instead of fries or potato chips, get the side salad or steamed vegetables. Many restaurants have these options; you just have to ask.
- Pick smaller portions. Because bariatric surgery significantly decreases the amount of food you can eat, consider an appetizer or something from the children’s menu. It could be a “great fit” for your appetite.
- Know how your food is prepared. Avoid fried dishes; choose grilled, baked, roasted, broiled, steamed or stir-fried choices. Poached items are another good option. If the preparation method isn’t mentioned, ask your server how they make it.
No matter where you go out for a meal, always remember to enjoy your food mindfully, eat it slowly and engage yourself with the sights, smells and texture of your dish as you enjoy it.