In a perfect world, bariatric patients would have an endless amount of time to devote to meal planning aimed at supporting their weight loss goals. However, in the real world, time is limited. This can make compliance a particular challenge. And yet it’s critically important. After all, adhering to the post-bariatric diet can make or break a patient’s success.
Bariatric lunch meals, in particular, can be a stumbling point for many post-op patients, but they don't have to be. Here’s an overview of what all weight loss patients should know about bariatric food options and meal planning, along with 25 bariatric lunch food ideas to help them get started.
There are a few critical things for weight loss patients to keep in mind when planning on-the-go bariatric lunch meals. For starters, as with all bariatric meals, a high protein, low fat, and low sugar diet is essential.
Patients can ensure that they meet their protein requirements of 65 to 75 grams a day by eating proteins first, then fruits and vegetables, and finally carbs. Patients should shoot for three meals a day with smaller snacks, as hunger dictates. However, patients are cautioned against relying on snacks, as regular “grazing” can add up to extra calories. Drinking plenty of water between (but not with) meals is also important.
However, it’s not just about what patients eat, but also how they eat. Eating and chewing slowly can help patients savor the experience of eating while simultaneously allowing them to recognize feelings of satiety sooner.
While bariatric patients must begin with a liquid diet, they’ll eventually progress to solid foods. Making the right choices when they reach this stage of their weight loss journey is instrumental to their ultimate success. Convenience is the key to compliance in today’s busy world. These 25 bariatric lunch meals are all about easy.
Note that while some of these bariatric lunch options are truly “grab and go” in functionality, others require some advance preparation. Reinforcing the importance of portion size when preparing meals is critical. For many patients, preparing regular-sized meals and then dividing and storing them in surgery-sized portions is a useful enterprise. By freezing these meals, meanwhile, patients can have a healthy, ready-made meal in mere minutes.
However, there will also be times when this is simply not possible. By advising your bariatric patients to stock up on healthy, readily available shelf-stable bariatric products (such as Achieve) for when they find themselves in a pinch, you can help them avoid making poor choices that might end up derailing their weight loss goals.
Ultimately, the more tools bariatric patients have at their fingertips, the better equipped they'll be to truly embrace the post-surgery lifestyle and all of the weight loss benefits that go along with it. In sharing useful, actionable tips and information, such as the 25 bariatric lunch ideas provided here, dietitians are uniquely positioned to support their weight loss patients.