One of the questions we’re often asked is whether you can eat out after bariatric surgery. The answer is, “Yes, but use caution.” Eating out can be a source of an extra hundred, or even thousand calories at each and every meal. This is often due to large portion sizes and the way the items are prepared (butter, oils, saturated fats etc.) Since most restaurants do not release their nutritional stats, you may not know what you’re actually consuming. These unknowns make it all the more important that you choose your restaurants, and your foods, carefully. By doing so, you can avoid derailing your diet and continue to enjoy all of the progress that you’ve made since surgery.
At a restaurant, understanding portion size is critical. When eating proteins, a piece of meat about the size of a deck of cards is usually all that you need to get the nutritional balance necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Further, when ordering your food, ask the kitchen to prepare it in such a way that saturated fats and sodium is kept to a minimum. This may be by using less butter or oil, using less salt or holding off on the MSG in the meal.
Many restaurants today, especially national chains, have started introducing diet-friendly options on their menus. Read the nutritional elements of those items, and once again, choose carefully based on the caloric limitations that you and your surgeon set after surgery.
Of course, a great alternative to a meal at a restaurant is making a production out of your meal at home. Getting creative in the kitchen and setting an exciting scene for dinner — even making food at home, but eating it out (picnic, etc), can save you thousands upon thousands of calories over the course of the month. This is not to mention saving money and honing your cooking skills at the same time.
So, we encourage you to enjoy your food, but do so without sacrificing amazing progress you have made so far.