Eating out at restaurants with friends and family is a popular way to socialize and enjoy the company of others. The good news is you can still find dishes at most restaurants that fit with your post-surgery diet! Caitlin McCullough, RD, LD, clinical dietitian with the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center, gives her top tips for ordering at restaurants after weight-loss surgery:
Preparation is key
Your best bet is to prepare ahead of time! Know where you plan to eat out and look up the restaurant’s menu online. Most menus now list ingredients and calorie counts for their dishes. Identify some good options that adhere to the restrictions of your post-surgery diet.
What are some good menu choices?
Your entrée should be comprised mostly of lean protein and non-starchy vegetables. Eat until you have satisfied your hunger, then box up the rest to bring home. A good tip is to ask for a box at the same time you order your dish, so you have an easy way to set aside the extra food. You can also split a healthier entrée with another person at your table if the dish is a larger portion than what you should eat.
If you don’t see a healthy entrée option, try ordering a side instead. For example, you can order a side of grilled salmon with a side of fresh seasonal vegetables. This allows more flexibility in how you put together your meal and prevents you from receiving foods you don’t want.
Many restaurants are happy to be flexible with menu swaps. If there’s an entree you want, but not the suggested side dish, request a healthier alternative, such as steamed asparagus instead of rice.
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About the author
Caitlin is a clinical dietitian with the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center in Willoughby. She meets with bariatric surgery patients before and after surgery, and conducts nutrition classes.
Caitlin's favorite way to spend her free time: Grocery shopping for new healthy foods and trying out new recipes!