Surviving the Restaurant Experience After Weight Loss Surgery
March 18, 2016
Whether it’s for a celebration, date night, or just to have an evening free from cooking and washing dishes, we love to go out to restaurants. Just because you’ve had weight loss surgery doesn’t mean you’ll never enjoy a meal out again, but it does mean you will need to learn how to navigate the restaurant experience with your new restrictions. It may be a big change, but we’ve gathered some tips to help make your restaurant experience a breeze.
Choosing a Restaurant
Before even heading out the door, there are a few things you can do to help the process go smoothly from the start. You can begin by selecting a restaurant that you know offers healthier options. For many restaurants you can check out the menu online and some even list the nutrition information on their website. Feeling things out before even going to the restaurant can help you avoid places where you feel you might make poor choices and help you mentally prepare before going in. Also, remember that buffets could spell disaster for a bariatric patient. With unlimited amounts and so many options, it’s best to avoid these. In addition, it’s likely that you won’t get your money’s worth as you will be restricted in the amount you are able to consume, and you won’t be able to take anything to go.
Choosing Menu Items
If you are planning a restaurant trip, you are likely weeks or even months out from your procedure. This means you have had the time to try different foods and have started to figure out what you tolerate well and not so well. Choose foods you know you can eat without any problems. Now is not the time to experiment with new foods. Look for words like baked, roasted, grilled, broiled, poached, and steamed, and avoid items that use words such as fried, breaded, and cooked with butter or cream. When in doubt, ask how the menu items are prepared or served, and ask for customizations as needed. You may also consider asking someone else at the table to split a dish with you to help control portions.
Be the first to order when dining with others. This will help you avoid being swayed by the choices of the others at your table. Ask your server if half portions or smaller portions are available. This is not uncommon especially during lunch hours. Be sure to ask for sauces, salad dressing, and high-calorie extras to be served on the side, and substitute vegetables for carbohydrates. Don’t be afraid to be specific about how you would like your meal prepared.
As the food arrives to the table, skip the bread basket or chips, and don’t fill up on liquids while waiting for your meal. It may also be helpful to request a to-go container immediately when your food arrives so you can put half of your dish away before you start eating. As soon as you are finished, ask your server to take your plate away to avoid picking. As always, remember to eat slowly, put your fork down between bites, and chew every bite…Enjoy!