8 Ways You Can Eat Out While Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

by Anthony Benjamin on Oct 12, 2022

8 Ways You Can Eat Out While Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

8 Ways You Can Eat Out While Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Creating and eating your meals at home is usually the healthiest choice for people who are watching their weight or those who have had bariatric surgery. But life happens. Sometimes you’re short on time, run into unexpected obstacles, or simply want a night off from cooking. Now more than ever, it’s essential that you take care of your health – but where does eating out fit into this? If you’re wondering how you can manage grabbing food to go while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, read on!

Is Eating Food From Restaurants Possible After Bariatric Surgery?

We have great news for you – you can absolutely order food from your favorite restaurants, even after having bariatric surgery! There are only a few rules you’ll need to abide by to make smart choices for your body:

  • Avoid eating out for the first several weeks following your gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. Follow your doctor’s liquid and soft food diet instructions closely during this time as your body adjusts to the changes!
  • While no foods are off-limits indefinitely, some may be harder to tolerate initially. Using good judgment and taking your time can make all the difference. Foods that are not considered to be high in protein should be eaten in moderation.
  • No matter what, you will need to ensure you meet your daily protein goals.
  • While protein is key, you will also need to make sure other nutrient-dense foods are on your plate. Eating plenty of vegetables is a low-calorie way that can fill you up and help you feel satisfied as you take your time enjoying your meal.
  • Remember the 30/30/30 rule. Stop drinking liquids 30 minutes prior to eating, don’t drink anything for 30 minutes after eating, and chew your food at least 30 times. Doing this will help your system break food down and absorb it more easily.

 How Can I Enjoy Food Out While Staying Healthy?

Once your doctor gives you the green light, you can enjoy eating out. Here are 8 smart tips you should keep in mind to help you maintain your diet while ordering food:

Plan Ahead

Before you do anything, check out the restaurant’s menus on their website or social media accounts. See if you can find the calorie counts, and try to find some options you can choose from. Knowing what to order ahead of time can help you avoid making any regrettable last-minute decisions and can help you plan out the rest of your day!

Skip Liquid Calories

As tempting as they might be, highly caloric drinks like soft drinks, juices, sweet tea, alcohol, and flavored coffees should be avoided. They add little to no nutrition to your diet, and sweet items can cause dumping syndrome. Your main beverage of choice should always be water.

Prioritize Your Protein

It’s essential for post-bariatric surgery patients to consume protein first during each meal. When you order out, choose sources high in lean protein like eggs, chicken, fish, beans, or tofu. Even enjoying a simple high-protein appetizer can make for a delicious, satisfying meal!

Familiarize Yourself with Key Cooking Terms

You’ll want to start reading menus more carefully if you hadn’t before. Choose menu items that are grilled, poached, baked, broiled, or steamed rather than anything that’s been fried, buttered, battered, or smothered in sauce.

Choose a Balanced Meal with Smaller Portions

It can be challenging to keep portion sizes in mind when eating out or ordering in food. Always shoot for a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and keep a close eye on your portions. You can always opt for a smaller size, make an appetizer your meal, share with others, order from the kids’ menu, or even save half of the meal for the next day!

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Substitutes

Thankfully, restaurants are often more than happy to accommodate their customers’ dietary needs. If you want to make any changes to a meal, ask if you can substitute fresh or steamed vegetables in place of rice or pasta, or ask for a salad instead of a sandwich.

Get Sauces on the Side

If your meal comes with dressings, sauces, or condiments, remember to ask for them on the side so you can control how much goes on your plate. Aim for condiments that are lower in calories like mustard, pickle relish, balsamic vinegar, or salsa, when applicable.

Always Remember the Two Main Pillars of Healthy Eating

When it comes to maintaining a healthy bariatric lifestyle, you need to keep in mind these two main ideas: it’s all about 1.) what you eat and 2.) how much you eat. As long as you watch your portions, enjoy food that has plenty of protein, and keep a healthy balance with your meal, you can absolutely enjoy ordering food from your favorite restaurants – guilt-free!

A Note About COVID-19

Eating a nutritional, balanced meal from a restaurant can be challenging even in the best of times, but the global pandemic has made it even more difficult. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to enjoy your meal while staying as safe as possible. If you can, order your food to go or ask about the restaurant’s curbside pickup policy, if they have one. Remember to wear a mask and maintain safe social distancing of at least 6 feet from others. Dining al fresco is safer than eating indoors, but if you must eat inside, remember to wear a mask whenever you’re not eating and only eat with those you live with. And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer before eating.

Food is meant to be savored. That enjoyment doesn’t have to diminish just because you had bariatric surgery! If you follow the tips above, you can still eat out while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Don’t forget to get all of the supplements you need every day with the help of ProCare Health! We can find the right products for you and your health needs. Call (877) 822-5808 to learn more or get started today!