Smart Restaurant Eating with the Bariatric Menu Request Card

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Smart Restaurant Eating with the Bariatric Menu Request Card

Bariatric surgery changes your life, but it should not put an end to the good times, such as going out to eat with friends, family, or coworkers. You need a strategy going into those meals to avoid getting way more food than your small stomach can handle, and preferably to avoid paying a lot for food you cannot eat.

The Bariatric Menu Request Card offers help. This card lets wait staff know that you are a bariatric surgery patient and are medically forbidden from eating too much. Restaurants that accept the card may allow you to order smaller portions and pay less. This is how the card may work. 

Order Half a Meal

You can use the Bariatric Menu Request Card to order half of a meal. Some restaurant meals have 1,000 to 1,500 calories, so ordering half makes sense. More sensible yet, consider putting half of your half-meal away for later. If the regular meal has 1,200 calories, for example, ordering half and putting half of that away for later will leave you with a reasonable 300 calories. 

Order from the Children’s Menu

The Bariatric Menu Request Card may enable you to order The kid’s menu can include smaller portions of items, but be cautious about what you order. Common items on kid’s menus include unhealthy mains such as burgers, corn dogs, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, and chicken nuggets, sides such as French fries, sugar-sweetened flavored yogurt, and cookies, and drinks such as juice and chocolate milk. 

Many restaurants are improving the health of their options for children. Look for: 

  • Grilled chicken
  • Peanut butter (skip the jelly) on whole-grain bread
  • Turkey and/or cheese on whole-grain bread
  • Baby carrots
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Fresh fruit
  • Bottled water

Order from the Senior’s Menu

The Senior’s Menu, often reserved for adults over 55 years, usually offers smaller portions, at lower prices, than the regular menu. The menu items are often the same as those on the regular menu, so you still need to be choosy about what main course and sides you order. Look for...

  • Grilled or roasted chicken turkey, or fish
  • Chicken noodle or vegetable beef soup
  • Fresh fruit
  • Side salad or steamed vegetables
  • Water or hot tea or coffee

As usual, avoid breaded chicken and fish, pasta dishes, sides such as mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, rice, and onion rings, and soft drinks.

Get a Discount on Buffets

If you can only eat a few ounces of food at a time, why should you pay as much for an all-you-can-eat experience as someone who makes three trips through the buffet line and still has room for dessert? Buffet restaurants that honor the Bariatric Menu Request Card may offer you a discount. As you fill up your plate, watch for lean proteins and plain vegetables, while avoiding high-calorie choices such as:

  • Potato, pasta, and other mayo-based prepared salads
  • Bacon and other processed meats
  • Fried chicken and fish
  • Breads, baked goods, and desserts
  • Pasta, rice, and potato dishes
  • Casseroles
  • Stuffing 
  • Creamy soups
The Bariatric Menu Request Card can enable you to get bariatric-appropriate meals at restaurants without paying for extra food that you cannot eat. You can use the card not only to save money, but to motivate yourself to order right when you go out. Restaurants are part of life, and they can be part of your healthy post-op life.

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  • Alex Brecher
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