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Sleeve Diet for those who don't cook



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I know that if I have the sleeve done I will be on a lifelong diet but one of my concerns is that I don't cook. I don't plan on it so wondering if I will be successful because I do eat all of my meals at restaurants, fast casual, or fast food. I obviously know I will need to make much healthier choices. Any advice? Not looking for advice on why I should cook because I am single and just don't enjoy cooking. I am also concerned about knowing what the correct portion size is because I know you typically can't eat but 1/2 cup to 1 cup of food and obviously you can't take a measuring cup with you to a restaurant.

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I've seen a lot of articles and YouTube videos about eating at restaurants after weight loss surgery. I would suggest googling something like "restaurants after weight loss surgery" for tips. Something to keep in mind, though, is that most of these articles are about going out to eat on rare occasions, not eating all of your meals from restaurants.

It's hard to lose weight if you're always eating at restaurants because (1) you don't really know what's in the food, so you can't track your intake accurately, and (2) the food is loaded with extra fat and sugar. In terms of tracking your intake, chain restaurants are probably easier because you can find the nutrition information online, and the food is usually pre-packaged and just heated up at the restaurant, so they're probably not adding a bunch of extra butter or anything. You can also find a lot of articles about the healthiest foods at various chain restaurants. Salads with grilled meat are usually a safe bet, but you have to watch the dressing. Always get dressing on the side, and maybe use your own light dressing instead. Trader Joe's has some amazing super-low-calorie dressings (green goddess and spicy cashew). A sandwich without the bun is another option (some places will even make you a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich). A lot of restaurants have dishes that are basically meat plus sides, and you can order veggies as the sides. Just watch out for the sauces (ask for sauces on the side to be safe).

Regarding portion size, why can't you take a measuring cup with you to a restaurant? It doesn't necessarily have to be a measuring cup, but you can carry a 4-ounce plastic container with a lid in your purse and use it to measure half a cup. Of course, once you get some practice, you will probably be able to eyeball the correct portion size pretty well. A lot of people recommend asking for a box when you get your meal and putting some of the food in the box to bring home so you don't over-eat (I've seen this recommended just for general dieting purposes, not just for WLS patients). You could measure out a potion to leave on your plate and put the rest in the box. Yeah, it might look weird, but I guarantee you won't be the first person who does that.

Finally, when you say you don't cook, are you open to heating up prepared foods? Like frozen meals? Unfortunately, most frozen meals aren't very bariatric-friendly because they usually have rice and Pasta, but there are some decent ones with cauliflower rice or just meat and veggies, or they have the rice in a separate compartment so you can leave it out. How about semi-homemade? It's not difficult to heat up some frozen veggies and pre-packaged meat. One of my go-to meals consists of frozen cauliflower rice + canned black Beans + salsa from a jar + chicken + shredded cheese (I usually make my own taco meat chicken in the Instant Pot, but frozen grilled chicken works, too). It only takes a couple of minutes to throw all that stuff in a bowl and stick it in the microwave. Another easy option is bagged salad mix + meat + light dressing from a bottle.

I'm 7 months post-op and I can count on one hand the number of times I've eaten restaurant food since my surgery. I've found that I don't really enjoy it anymore because I can't eat the foods that I used to order at restaurants, I can only eat tiny portions, and it seems like a waste to spend so much money on a restaurant meal when it's pretty much the same as what I would make for myself at home.

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8 minutes ago, BigSue said:

It's hard to lose weight if you're always eating at restaurants because (1) you don't really know what's in the food, so you can't track your intake accurately

This. Overwhelmingly.

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I know you say you don't want to hear this, but part of success with surgery involves a lifestyle change. I'm also single and don't like cooking. I travel a lot and end up eating a lot at restaurants. That hasn't allowed me to live a healthy life though so I've forced myself to change and eat more meals where I have control over what I'm eating.

Just because you don't cook doesn't mean you have to eat at a restaurant. There are tons of very easy, healthy meals to make. Lately for lunch I'm eating sliced mozzerella on top of bell peppers with some balsamic.

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Every time I buy groceries they go to waist. I will buy quick Snacks like lunchmeat, cheese, veggies, eggs etc. I even buy those precut veggie trays like you bring to parties, so I don’t have to cut up the vegetables. I end up eating it for the first day, maybe the second day and the rest usually gets thrown away. It just seems so less appetizing after it has been sitting in the refrigerator plus I crave variety. Right now, I have a freezer filled with Atkins and Lean Cuisine – which don’t get eaten either.

I really appreciate the advice and suggestions.

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1 hour ago, flgirl23 said:

Every time I buy groceries they go to waist (sic).

Some suggestions:

  • buy smaller amounts?
  • only buy food that you really want to eat?
  • pre-portion groceries into cute containers and freeze them? (same goes for already made food)?

IF you can muster the patience to maybe cook even just once a week, or every two weeks, you can whip up a sh*tload of food, portion and freeze. Then just take out what you need when you need it.

Also, regarding bringing measuring cups to restaurants....a long time ago a member posted these she used. These would probably be a little more portable than actual measuring cups....

https://store.bariatricpal.com/products/portionmate-meal-portion-control-rings-nutrition-tool

Good Luck! ❤️

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I'm 4 weeks out so I'm no expert but I'm also not a big/good cook. I've cooked twice since post-op. I started puree/soft foods 2 weeks ago and this is what I do...

For Breakfast and/or lunch, I eat yogurt or have a Protein Shake. My nutritionist said I can have turkey bacon so sometimes I throw some in the microwave and have that.

For dinner: I've been eating canned salmon (not big on tuna) and canned chicken. They last a pretty long time and there are some really simple recipes for them. I don't consider that cooking because mostly I saute them with frozen onion and peppers, season it and I'm done in 10 mins. If I want more flair, I'll add a small amount of teriyaki sauce or oriental sauce.

As far as fast food, I've also had rotisserie chicken from the Peruvian restaurant by my house. It went down better than the canned meat! Right now for the most part I just eat meat so it's pretty easy to track. I have a digital scale and I just measure out 3-4 oz.

The 2 meals I cooked were 2 different types of chili. Both of which only had like 5 ingredients. I had leftovers for a few days.

I haven't been to a restaurant yet but I like all the advice that BigSue gave on this. I'll def keep them in mind!

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Thinking about the time and energy it would take to accurately figure out how many calories I'm eating at restaurants at every meal, how to measure my protien, etc...

Oye. That seems like much more effort than cooking and eating simple things at home. I genuinely hate tracking every freaking calorie...but it's a necessary evil.

I understand not wanting to deal with food any more than you have to...I get that totally. But you DO need to learn to accurately keep track of every calorie and make sure you're getting enough protien...and that's gonna be hard eating out.

My advice....Stick to the chain restaurants with published nutritional information. Cut those meals down to reasonable portions. Hit your protien and calorie goals.

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On 3/6/2021 at 10:12 AM, flgirl23 said:

I know that if I have the sleeve done I will be on a lifelong diet but one of my concerns is that I don't cook. I don't plan on it so wondering if I will be successful because I do eat all of my meals at restaurants, fast casual, or fast food. I obviously know I will need to make much healthier choices. Any advice? Not looking for advice on why I should cook because I am single and just don't enjoy cooking. I am also concerned about knowing what the correct portion size is because I know you typically can't eat but 1/2 cup to 1 cup of food and obviously you can't take a measuring cup with you to a restaurant.

I don’t eat at restaurants very often but I got a card on Amazon for after surgery that asks the restaurant to allow you to order off the children’s menu or to purchase a half portion. It’s called a medical alert special menu request. Maybe that will help a little.

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I don’t cook either. Haven’t had surgery yet, but planning on appetizers or kids meals minus the carbs. Thinking shrimp cocktail without the sauce or kids grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables.

Chain restaurants post calories so I look in advance and avoid anywhere tempting. Pre liquid diet I had Chipotle (lettuce, pico, steak, fajita veggies). Also, Panda Express bowl (green veggies (90 calories) and broccoli beef (150 calories). After surgery maybe it’ll be more than one meal for me.

From the supermarket I get crab legs (protein), and cooked shrimp.

Looking forward to other peoples’ ideas.

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I have a big family, but I stopped cooking after my surgery [emoji23]. I think I've only cook soft tofu as ground meat with a bit of marinara sauce to pour over zucchini Pasta (frozen small bag Green Giant). The left overs from the tofu I used them to stuff a small Creppini (egg crepes from Sam's) and 3 slices of small pepperoni. I always keep cheese, tofu, refried Beans, canned tuna, canned chicken, cottage and eggs handy. And different sauces, Buffalo, marinara, Korean BBQ. I mix and match depending on what I feel eating. Today I got sushi grade salmon (2-3 oz, full with half) and seaweed, and pretend I'm eating sushi. I'm only texture food phase. My baby stomach feels better with smushy food.
Boyfriend loves to eat outside, I always have left overs that last for days. Thai tofu tom yum Soup. Vietnamese Pho, substitute the noddles with bean sprouts. 20210309_160605.jpg 20210303_132602.jpg

Sent from my SM-F707U1 using BariatricPal mobile app

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I feel you... I travel for work (at least until COVID) so once COVID is over I will have no choice but to eat out 5 days a week. I will not be able to cook at home. I haven't had surgery yet, but here are the strategies I'm planning: ordering plain grilled meat and fish with a side of steamed or roasted veggies (most nicer restaurants will let you order this way and I will bring a mini food scale that is about the size of a deck of cards with me - I already have it, or a measuring cup. I don't care who thinks I'm weird). For fast food, I will order a grilled chicken sandwich or egg, ham, and cheese breakfast sandwich and not eat the bread. I have heard a lot of people talking about P3 packs and I've eaten them before. I can just eat the cheese and nuts and skip the raisins or craisins. I can buy cheese sticks and packs of deli meat at grocery stores in most cities where I have access to a grocery store and a fridge in my hotel room.

I am not saying I will be perfect, but I know what the options are. You can eat healthy at restaurants. No, you don't know exactly what is in your food, but you can ask them not to add the butter/oil to your grilled meat or fish, you can say no to the bread, potatoes, rice, etc. And unless you're staying at a hotel with no fridge or microwave, you can take the food home for your next meal.

You got this! You may or may not be able to turn yourself into a gourmet cook, but either way, it is possible. My nutritionist felt like I could go back on the road after surgery and be successful, so I think you can too!

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