How to Handle Dining Out After Weight Loss Surgery

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Realistically, life after weight loss surgery isn’t going to be limited to eating your meals at home, nor should it be. It’s perfectly fine to grab a bite to eat for lunch when shopping with friends or enjoy a night out with your family that includes a visit to a favorite local restaurant. However, it’s still important to educate and prepare yourself for such experiences so you don’t hinder or undo your post-surgery results. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Check Calories First

If you know where you’ll be going ahead of time, take a moment to look at the menu online. Many restaurants include calorie counts within their listings. By checking out menus before you actually get there, you’ll be able to comfortably order without worrying about ruining your post-procedure diet. You can also use calorie counter websites and apps to get a better idea of how many calories you’ll have available when you dine out.

Avoid ‘Table Temptations’

It’s customary for some restaurants to come around to tables and offer complementary bread and butter or bring the dessert cart over when a meal is winding down. However, these things might be too much of a temptation if you’re adjusting to new eating habits. Before you sit down for your meal, ask that such extras aren’t offered at your table.

Ask How Meals Are Prepared

During the ordering process, ask how your preferred menu choices are prepared. Avoid anything that’s fried, breaded, or cooked in vegetable oil. Instead, choose or request foods that are boiled, baked, roasted, or grilled.

Opt for a Balanced Meal

Keep your meal as balanced as possible by including a lean protein as your main entree. This can include skinless chicken or turkey, fish, or even a soy entree like a spinach and feta bake or a shrimp salad with soybean oil. Round out your meal with a side that’s a complex carbohydrate, such as grilled or steamed veggies or whole wheat pasta.

Eat at a Slow, Controlled Pace

Make it easier to digest food as you dine out by slowly chewing everything until it gets close to a liquid consistency. You don’t have to count bites, but little tricks like placing down your utensils between bites as you chew can help you accomplish this goal.

The key to successfully incorporating some of the foods you love back into your life following weight loss surgery, including the ones likely to be enjoyed while dining out, is moderation. Also, avoid drinking liquids about 15 minutes before and after meals. Doing so can push food down in your pouch and allow you to unknowingly eat more than you should. Your doctor can provide more tips specific to the type of procedure you had and your individual needs.