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Dr. David Kim Kim Bariatric Institute

Tips for Eating Right

After you have had bariatric surgery, eating out can sometimes seem overwhelming. When you are presented with a slew of tasty looking options on the menu, we sometimes convince ourselves that because we can only eat a small amount, ordering the fried chicken tenders with cream gravy won’t be that bad. The trick to eating out is to plan ahead what you will order by going to the restaurant’s website to find the healthiest options on the menu. If that isn’t an option, I have listed some ways to hopefully help you make healthier choices when dining out.

Remind yourself that you chose to adopt and live a healthier lifestyle. While I know it is a struggle (believe me), this means giving up your old eating habits and beginning to work on a healthier relationship with food. My personal mantra in times of struggle is “Food is fuel”. I myself am an emotional eater and tend to want to eat my emotions at times. It is an on-going internal battle but as long as I stay aware of when, what and why I am eating it helps me to make better choices. After doing this for 6 years, I can honestly say that meal planning is a big key to staying successful!

Make careful menu selections by paying attention to the descriptions on the menu

  • Deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin or in a cream sauce = high in calories, unhealthy fats and sodium

“Undress” your food

  • Be aware of calorie- and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream
  • Ask for a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayo

Don’t be afraid to special order

  • Ask for steamed veggies or a side salad instead of an unhealthy side and make sure to ask they be served without the sauces
  • If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, request to have it grilled, broiled or steamed

Watch portion size – share or bring a portion home

  • When possible, order from the kids menu
  • Remember you are looking for your entire meal to be around 1 cup in size (which looks like about the size of a tennis ball)

Avoid beverages with calories

  • Drink water with lemon or unsweetened iced tea
  • Stop drinking 30 minutes prior to eating and up to 30 minutes after your meals. If you drink with your meals you are “washing” your food down and not allowing yourself to feel full causing you to eat more.

Eat mindfully

  • Pay attention to what you are eating and savor each bite. Make sure to chew 1 bite per minute for 20 minutes
  • Be mindful when you are almost feeling full and lay down your fork

As a general rule of thumb, I try to avoid any kind of bread products. This includes buns, thick pizza crust, white bread, flour tortillas to name a few. If you do eat bread choose either sprouted or whole-grain. Make sure to take the top slice/bun off. Remember the terms you want to look for on a menu are grilled, low-fat, steamed, roasted, and baked and don’t forget to avoid sauces! When choosing a salad try to go for the vinaigrettes, oil and vinegar or low-fat dressings. Try and avoid creamy dressings or those high in sugar like honey mustard. Remember the big picture! Moderation is the key, but planning ahead can help you relax and enjoy your dining out experience without sacrificing good nutrition or diet control.

Until next month,

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