Restaurant portions, particularly here in Oklahoma City, have doubled to even tripled over the last few decades. Not only do large portions pack on the calories and weight, they also distort our perception of what is a “normal” amount of food.
Food in Oklahoma is already rich and high-calorie. In fact, our official state cuisine is fried okra, squash, barbecue pork, cornbread, chicken fried steak, grits, corn, biscuits and gravy, strawberries, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas.(1)
In the first few weeks following Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, you will be on a liquid diet, introducing slightly more solid foods step-by-step. (One of our dietitians will be working with you directly, and will tailor a plan specific to your body and nutritional needs.)
Approximately one month after the procedure, you will likely be back to eating solid foods. While exciting, it also means that, at restaurants, you will be have you will have a greater selection from the menu at your disposal.
Tips from a Bariatric Surgeon in Oklahoma
After bariatric surgery, about 2/3rds of patients experience what is known as dumping syndrome at one point or another. Eating smaller portion sizes, as well as choosing foods low in fat and sugar will help—the issue is that what we view as “smaller” may still be too much.
Ways to Control Portion Size When Eating Out
If you eat out frequently, find a few restaurants that are more conducive to limiting the size of your meal. It could be that their portions are smaller on average (think tapas!) or because the staff is very friendly and happy to accommodate any special requests. Here are some ways you can avoid overeating at any restaurant:
- Save some for later: When you place an order, ask for a container. Remove temptation by boxing part of your meal before you begin eating. Leave on your plate only the food you plan to eat while in the restaurant.
- Share with a companion: Save money and calories by splitting an entrée and asking your server for an extra plate. Some restaurants charge a small amount for splitting a meal.
- Pass on the extras: When a restaurant provides free chips or bread, it’s easy to quickly consume a meal’s worth of calories before the main course. If your server brings you bread, you can politely decline, or pass the basket over to your companion. The key is to not have it right in front of you!
- Order just an appetizer: Particularly with Oklahoma cuisine, an appetizer may have just as many calories as a full meal. Sometimes a hearty appetizer is all you need!
- Order sides: If you are not finding anything conducive to a medical weight loss diet on the entrée list, consider ordering a couple of sides. You may choose a few lighter items, such as a cheese plate or chicken skewers.
- Take your time: It takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal of being full.
- While you are chewing your food, pause for a moment to savor each taste. If you’re dining with a friend, allow yourself to linger over your food while you visit.
- If you find yourself still rushing through eating, you can even try eating with chopsticks! It will slow you down and force you to take smaller bites.
We recognize the challenge in maintaining small portion size, particularly when faced with an ginormous restaurant plate, and we hope you find these tips useful.
Do you have any hacks or special techniques that help you with portion control at restaurants? Please feel free to share in the comments!