Eating Out After Bariatric Surgery
Eventually this pandemic will be over and we all will feel comfortable eating out again. Food is a big part of life, and when you suddenly have to micromanage what you put in your mouth, it can become a bit overwhelming. One of the many lifestyle changes following bariatric surgery is to commit to eating a healthy diet. This goes beyond your own kitchen meals to what you eat at a restaurant.
Bariatric surgery changes how your stomach works, so a patient has to retrain their body to react to food appropriately. After surgery, a patient will have to follow a strict diet plan that reintroduces foods back into their life starting with liquids and moving on to pureed, soft, and eventually solid foods. Even after the initial diet plan following surgery, patients will have to rediscover their relationship with food considering that bariatric surgery drastically reduces the size of the stomach.
When a patient is preparing food for themselves, it is easy to avoid ingredients that their stomach does not react well to. This might not be the case when it comes to eating out or ordering take out. There are foods to avoid after bariatric surgery such as greasy or high fat foods, sugary foods, tough meats, and high fibrous fruits and veggies such as asparagus and celery. It is difficult to know what you’re going to get from a restaurant, so don’t be afraid to ask.
A person doesn’t have to stop their social life just because of their new, more restrictive diet. Going out to dinner with friends, family, and loved ones is a huge part of our culture. This activity does not have to stop entirely, but we have to tasker some precautions. It is be helpful to look at the menu beforehand and know what you’ll order before you sit down.
Nowadays, restaurants are usually good about being cautious of food allergies and sensitivities, so you can ask for the kitchen to alter your meal accordingly. Also, look out for portion sizes! It is easy to eat whatever is put in front of you. You should be aware of how much you should be eating and separate your food and take the rest home to enjoy for another meal.
When eating out, it is often tempting to splurge on alcohol. However, alcohol can irritate the stomach pouch, adds dozens if not hundreds of calories to the meal and acts as a diuretic, which flushes water out of the body. A few sips now and then may be fine, but overindulgence is counterproductive. Patients in their early post-op recovery must also remember that bariatric surgery, and especially the gastric bypass, may make them drunk more quickly and increases the risk of an accident.
Let’s talk about fast food. We aren’t fooling anyone to say that heading to your favorite burger joint after bariatric surgery is a great idea. A lot of fast food is high in fat, carbs, and sugar—all things that you must avoid. You have to be aware that your stomach is not the same and cannot handle things that you may have enjoyed in the past. This does not mean that you are forbidden from it forever but give your body a sufficient amount of time to recover and indulge very sparingly. Bariatric surgery is no small procedure, the recovery process takes time.
The Bottom Line
As you should be doing for all of your meals, your meal out should be well-balanced and contain appropriate amounts of protein, greens, and nutrients. Bariatric surgery is a commitment, and that includes the lifestyle changes that come after it. Eating out may look a little bit different than it did before, but that does not mean that it has to be any less fun or delicious.
If you are interested in learning more about what life is like after bariatric surgery, visit our website.