Posted - November 16, 2012

Restaurant Relief

Restaurant Relief

Restaurant ReliefHow to have a carefree dining experience after bariatric surgery

Imagine this scenario: Your bariatric surgery is a few months behind you, and you find yourself adjusting well to your new lifestyle. Now that your body has recovered from surgery, you’ve started easing into an exercise routine, strengthening your body for the challenges ahead. Every night, you’ve been cooking meals that meet the requirements of your bariatric diet, making sure to provide your body with the nutrition it needs.

Then one night, a close friend calls you with an invitation to your favorite restaurant. All your buddies will be going, but you know that eating out will put pressure on your diet, tempting you to indulge in something unhealthy. What do you do?

This is an incredibly common dilemma after bariatric surgery. Dallas is full of excellent restaurants, but none of them cater exclusively to the needs of your new lifestyle. Though you may choose to avoid restaurants for weeks or months after surgery, social events or work requirements will inevitably lead you back through their doors, and it’s important to know how to enjoy a dining experience despite your dietary restrictions.

These tips will help you prepare for the challenges of eating out after bariatric surgery:

Keep portions under control.

Many restaurant menu choices would be healthier if served in smaller portions. With the gargantuan portion sizes of today’s restaurants, we should all pay attention to the amount of food we’re served, but the practice is especially important after bariatric surgery—your stomach can only hold a certain amount of food now, and going beyond that limit is a bad idea.

Remember that there’s no need to wipe your plate clean, or even order a massive meal. Many restaurants offer reduced portion sizes on request or will allow you to split a meal with another diner. You can also order a healthy meal, eat half (or less) and save the rest for another couple of meals. These strategies can not only save you from overeating, but they can also save you money.

Browse the menu before you go.

Many restaurant menus are available online, making it easier to find a restaurant that will meet the demands of your diet. If your friends have already decided on a restaurant, take a look at their website to figure out the healthiest option available, this will reduce the stress and pressure of ordering when out with your friends.

Even if a restaurant doesn’t have an entrée on the menu that meets your needs, there may be other options that will give you a quality meal without going overboard. Look at soups, salads, healthy appetizers and sides—they may not make much of a meal alone, but can be plenty satisfying in combination.

Ask questions.

Never feel shy or nervous about asking your server questions about the menu. Your server’s job is to make sure you have a good meal, and he or she will know if healthy options or substitutions are available. Remember: your server (probably) won’t bite and you’ll rarely get answers to your questions without asking them.

Dining out is a frequent source of stress after bariatric surgery, but this doesn’t have to be the case. By staying prepared and vigilant, you can enjoy the world-class restaurants of Dallas without worry.

What are some of the most bariatric-surgery-friendly restaurants in Dallas? Share your favorites in the comments below.