Posted - July 5, 2024

DOs and DONTs of Eating Out After Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery has helped so many patients find their freedom from obesity. But it's not magic. It takes work and discipline to be successful long-term. One of the biggest challenges is eating properly and eating out at restaurants can be especially difficult. Check out these tips to help you navigate your next restaurant outing.

Food. It’s necessary for your survival, but if you’ve battled obesity, the thought of food can trigger all kinds of thoughts, reactions and emotions. For post-weight loss-surgery patients, food can no longer be used as a way to deal with stress or emotions, instead, it requires a disciplined and intentional approach to ensure you’re consuming the right amounts of the right kind of food. This is most easily accomplished through cooking your own meals, but let’s be real – it’s nice to take a break and let someone else do the cooking every now and then! Let’s take a look at how to successfully navigate the times when you aren’t eating at home.

Eating out at restaurants after weight loss surgery requires careful planning and mindful choices to ensure you adhere to your dietary guidelines and maintain your weight loss progress. Here are some tips for successful dining out post-surgery:

Before You Go

  1. Research the Menu: Many restaurants have their menus available online. Look for healthy, protein-rich options and avoid dishes high in sugar and fat.
  2. Call Ahead: Don’t hesitate to call the restaurant and ask about their ability to accommodate your dietary needs.
  3. Plan Your Meal: Decide what you will order before you arrive to avoid impulse decisions.

At the Restaurant

  1. Ask Questions: Inquire about how the food is prepared. Opt for grilled, baked, or steamed dishes rather than fried or sautéed.
  2. Portion Control: Weight loss surgery significantly reduces the size of your stomach. Consider ordering a small portion, sharing a meal, or asking for a to-go box immediately and portioning out your meal before you start eating.
  3. Focus on Protein: Choose dishes that are rich in lean protein, such as chicken, fish, tofu, or beans, as protein is crucial for your recovery and ongoing health.
  4. Avoid Carbs and Sugary Drinks: Steer clear of bread, pasta, rice, and sugary drinks. Opt for water, herbal tea, or a low-calorie beverage instead.
  5. Mindful Eating: Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and stop eating as soon as you feel full to avoid discomfort or complications.

Sample Choices

– Appetizers: Shrimp cocktail, small salads (ask for dressing on the side), broth-based soups.

– Main Courses: Grilled fish or chicken, steak (request a small portion), tofu stir-fry (ask for light oil), omelets.

– Sides: Steamed vegetables, small salad, fruit cup, or cottage cheese.

Additional Tips

– Communicate: Inform the waiter about your dietary needs due to medical reasons; most establishments will be accommodating. At Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas we provide our patients with convenient cards that can be used to order smaller portions from children’s menus

– Be Mindful of Sauces and Dressings: Ask for these on the side to control how much you use.

– Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, but avoid drinking large amounts during meals as it can cause discomfort.

After Your Meal

– Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels after eating. Avoid overeating to prevent discomfort or potential stretching of your stomach pouch.

– Follow Up: Keep track of how different foods and dining experiences affect you to make better choices in the future.

By planning ahead and making mindful choices, you can enjoy dining out while staying on track with your weight loss goals and dietary restrictions post-surgery. As a patient of Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas, we’ll even provide convenient cards that you can use at restaurants to request that you be able to order for the children’s menu (smaller portions). 

When You’re Ready

Weight loss surgery isn’t a one-time fix; rather, it requires you to embrace lifestyle changes necessary for long-term success. If you’re thinking about surgery as an option we invite you to book a consultation – we’re here to help and as always, we are committed to compassionate care without blame and without shame. You’ve got this. We’ve got you.


ATTENTION patients of Dr. Al-Kalla

Dr. Al-Kalla will be leaving Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas at the end of July. If you would like continue as his patient, please let us know and we can assist in getting your medical records transferred.

You may also choose to stay with Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas and we’ll gladly transfer your care to another provider on staff.

Thank you.