Eating at Restaurants After Bariatric Surgery
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Registered Dietitian Donna Simon shares advice on eating in restaurants after bariatric surgery. Donna Simon is Bariatric Coordinator and a Nutrition Specialist at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Arizona.


Eating at Restaurants After Bariatric Surgery The way to handle social eating after bariatric surgery is learn your rules of eating -- follow your rules, eat slowly and know the food you are allowed to have. Any stage of the surgery, you can eat in a restaurant, whether you are on a clear liquid diet. You ask for the consummate, you ask for the broth. If it’s an Italian restaurant and you ask for minestrone soup, just ask for the broth of the minestrone soup. Full liquid, you ask for the cream soups, just ask them to strain it. You’ve got to remember you are the customer. As long as you are not asking them for something that’s a crazy food item, they will prepare it for you. Puree, right? Refried beans is a great thing but a lot of restaurants which I found through my patients are telling me they will mesh it up for them. They have blenders back there or food processor. They haven’t had any problems in most restaurants. We also here at Banner Gateway give away, give a card out that states they have had bariatric surgery, and we tell them if they have an issue, ask to speak to the manager. But one of the good things is what we suggest is sharing food items, sharing a plate with someone, asking for the to-go box once the meal is served. Ordering from the appetizer list as long as there is a protein source. Order from the children’s menu. Those portions are usually found to be smaller, or even the senior citizen portions you will see smaller. So I mean there’s so many different ways of going to a restaurant and there is not one restaurant that you really can’t eat in, okay? I try to tell them stay away from buffets because you tend to overeat because it’s all there. But I mean, if you stick with the basics of broiled piece of fish with no toppings, just lemon on the side, or steamed vegetables without butter or dressing and then you just ask for a small side salad. Put salad dressing on the side, and I encourage my patients to stick with the regular salad dressing. The low fat ones are usually higher in sugar and there’s a possibility you can have a dumping syndrome from that. And a dumping syndrome is, to remind you, is when concentrated sugars enter your bloodstream or enter your intestines too quickly and fluids rush in, which can cause the sweating, the heart palpitations, could be nauseousness, diarrhea, vomiting and they could last a long time. You don’t want something like that to happen in a restaurant.