Dining Choices after Weight Loss Surgery
The average American dines out four or five times every week. In addition to the traditional dinner out, this tally includes quick stops for breakfast on the way to work, business lunches, and take-out for dinner. After weight loss surgery, every one of these dining situations may become challenging.
Dietary Needs after Surgery
Following weight loss surgery, you will require maximum nutrient intake in fewer calories. Reduced stomach capacity will make overeating uncomfortable, and your body will require certain levels of nutrient intake to function optimally.
Every meal you eat should meet the following criteria:
- High in protein
- Low in fat
- Small portion size
Meals that are heavy in carbohydrates are often especially problematic after weight loss surgery, as they will cause you to grow full quickly. If you fill-up on foods that lack nutritional value, you may develop a nutritional deficiency.
When you dine out, you sacrifice control over the foods you eat. Someone else determines the portion you are served, the ingredients that are used and the ways the food is prepared.
In general, dining out is discouraged in the early stages of the post-operative diet. As you heal from your operation, you may find yourself invited to dine out with friends or family. Knowing how to navigate the menu and how to order a meal that meets your dietary needs can help you stay healthy and on track with your weight loss efforts.
Tips for Dining Out
Before you make plans to dine out, do your research as to where you plan to eat. Try choosing a restaurant that has a lot of choices. The more choices there are, the more likely there will be something you can enjoy.
Here are a few strategies to help you have a healthy dining out experience:
- Order a lean protein dish, such as chicken or fish
- Ask for steamed vegetables as a side
- When your server takes your order, politely ask that he or she takes your glass so you don’t accidently drink with your meal
- Ask for a box right away and package half of your meal before you start to eat
If you can manage, try to call ahead. Calling before peak hours will give you an opportunity to talk with the wait staff and even the chef before they are busy. Ask how the foods you are interested in eating are prepared to help you figure out exactly what you can order—and any substitutions you may need to specially request. Most restaurants are happy to provide insight into their menu when you call ahead.