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Tips for dining out following weight-loss surgery

After your body has healed completely following weight-loss surgery, you might experience any one of several emotions when you’re getting ready to dine out for the first time.

Updated: January 6, 2021
dining out post surgery
By MBL Featured Blogger: Karen Eisenbraun
Originally Posted: October 6, 2020

Dining Out Post Surgery

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Some patients may feel excited to venture outside of the house and go to a restaurant for the first time in weeks, whereas others may feel nervous, or even scared that they might end up eating too much or eating the wrong types of foods.

Either way, it’s important to plan ahead of time so that your dining experience is pleasant, fulfilling, and safe.

Here are several helpful tips you can follow when you’re ready to dine out following weight-loss surgery:

Split a meal with a friend or family member

Most restaurants serve portions that in all actuality, can serve up to two to three people. Team up with a friend or family member who shares your same taste in food and won’t mind sharing a meal with you.

Request a half-sized or smaller meal portion

Some restaurants are more than happy to cater to those who are health-conscious by downsizing meals, but if they don’t, request a to-go box at the time your meal is served. That way, you can immediately stow away the portion you won’t eat, and save it for later.

Order from the appetizer menu

While it’s true that some restaurants serve appetizers that are just as large as meals, most appetizers are relatively small in size. Just make sure you stick to salads and healthier menu items that contain vegetables and lean protein.

Substitute high-fat items and carbs with vegetables

If your meal comes with a side of biscuits or butter- and gravy-laden mashed potatoes, request that your server substitute the items with healthier alternatives, such as steamed or grilled vegetables.

Opt for meals that contain sources of lean protein

Fish, turkey, and chicken are all healthier alternatives to red meats and fatty meats such as sausages and brisket — the latter of which your bariatric surgeon may have warned you against eating following weight-loss surgery. 

Ask your server to omit sauces from your meal

Most gravies, cream sauces, and salad dressings are not advised for consumption following weight-loss surgery. Request that your server either hold certain fattening sauces from your food or at least serve them on the side. 

Order from the “low-carb,” “light,” or “a la carte” menu

Many restaurants now offer menus with smaller portion sizes and lighter options to accommodate health-conscious individuals who either follow strict diets, have had weight-loss surgery, or simply want to eat smaller portion sizes.

Before dining out for the first time after weight-loss surgery, review the post-op diet menu your bariatric surgeon provided you with at the time of surgery, or consult directly with your surgeon to verify the types of foods you can safely consume when eating at restaurants. Your surgeon may even have additional recommendations you can keep in mind when dining out.

If you are interested in weight loss surgery, check out MBL’s Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss surgery.

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Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.

Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.

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