Eating out after gastric sleeve

Now that you’re eating out after gastric sleeve, and in a position where you stand there questioning yourself: “How can I choose the good option?”.  Let’s fast forward 3+ months and you’re back on your feet after surgery. Your stomach can handle solid foods now and you’re thinking about what to choose from a menu in a restaurant.

How to eat out after gastric sleeve: what you need to know!

You need to monitor yourself and know what you’re eating. That means what goes in your body is healthy, with no greasy oils or unhealthy fats. When you eat out, choose dishes that have a good amount of protein and greens. 

The most important thing you should be careful about is timing when you are drinking fluids. Setting 30 minutes before your meal would prevent any pain while eating your meal. Another point on the beverages is that your choice of drinks should lack fizzy, carbonated, and sugary substances. That also includes alcohol, be aware of what you put in your body.

eating out after gastric sleeve

Salad: yes, but dressing?

Eating salad is not a problem at all, in fact, it’s a good side dish next to your meal. Greens are always good but what about the dressings? This is a great question, there are low-calorie spices rather than dense creamy sauces like ranch. 

However, if your whole dish is a bowl of salad then stay away from ingredients that have a lot of fats like bacon; or carbs like toasted white bread. And stick to salads that have roasted chicken bits. A little protein in your dish is a good compliment.

You need to chew your fresh veggies or fruit salad thoroughly to ease digestion in the stomach. And try to eat in small bites and portions so that you will not feel bloated.

Choose your drink wisely

First of all, drinking shouldn’t be done while eating a meal. You can drink fluids after half an hour of eating. Then it comes to the choices. It is not like you are grounded like a toddler who is not allowed to play with his toys. You should be responsible for your choices, what you should avoid is beverages with artificial sugars and carbonated beverages.

Although you’re allowed to have soft drinks after 3 months, they may stretch your stomach again if it is consumed frequently.

What you can drink are tea, coffee, and milk (preferably lactose-free).

Think at least a hundred times before ordering an alcoholic beverage

Doctors disapprove of drinking alcohol after sleeve surgery. Do not let your guts win over your healthy thoughts and diets. It is like the devil whispering craving thoughts. There are millions of reasons not to drink alcoholic drinks. 

  • High calories, low nutrition: You’re already eating little. Do you really want to consume something so not-nutritious and fill your stomach? Alcohol also slows down your weight loss process. It may even come back to you as gaining weight regarding what type of alcoholic beverage you drink.
  • Rapid decrease in blood sugar level: Rapid decrease in your blood sugar level may make you feel dizzy and nauseous, and most certainly make you feel hungry asap.

However after any sort of bariatric surgery, your body needs nutritious foods and drinks, and booze is not one of them. 

What are the gastric sleeve friendly restaurants?

Your friendly restaurants won’t be fast food, that’s for sure. Whether you’re ordering online or locally, you need to take a look at the ingredients and the dishes. At this point, you should have a basic knowledge of what to avoid.

It would be a smart choice to go for restaurants that have grilled and cooked lean protein like grilled chicken rather than fried chicken. What does that tell you? You can have dishes that are low in fat and high in protein with lower calorie intake. And if there was a certain dish that is good but has some ingredients that wouldn’t be in your advance, just tell the waiter to remove or replace it with something else.

Tips to eat out

Here are the ABCs for you to follow once you want to eat out. It is not that complicated from the early stages when you have your own homemade diet. But it’s just you need to be more cautious when someone else fixes your dishes. Here are the tips for eating out:

  • Know the restaurant menu
  • Ask for the portion size of the foo
  • Carry your gastric sleeve card for restaurants
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for a takeaway package
  • Eat slowly

These health tips should be taken seriously to avoid health risks. Don’t build a bad habit, instead, maintain a good healthy diet.

Know the restaurant menu

The first thing you should look for is the restaurant menu of the restaurant. Check if they are serving healthy food. And if they do, you should look for the portions they sever and if there are any high-calorie seasonings on top.

Having the ability to swap or change some details from the main dish would be a great option. For example, if there are fries or bad calories, change it with something else, such as cooked veggies.

Ask for the portion size of the food

Every restaurant serves different portions. Ask for the portion size to know if it will be too much for you. If the portion sounds too big you either can ask for a smaller portion or a kids menu, or you can eat some of the normal portions and take the rest as a takeaway. 

Carry your gastric sleeve card to restaurants

Some doctors provide a special card that the patients can keep with them whenever they feel like eating out. This is for you to show it to the restaurant so they will understand that you have gone through weight loss surgery. In that case, they will serve your meals in smaller portions at a cheaper price.

Don't hesitate to ask for a takeaway package

If the policy of the restaurant doesn’t allow changing the portion of the food then just take the rest for takeaway. It is a win-win situation.

Do not try to finish the food if you’re full, that will trigger the stitches and you will feel bloated and most probably you’ll have stomach pain.

Eat slowly

The stomach after bariatric surgery is sensitive and should be taken care of like a baby. A bite should be like half of a tablespoon and should be chewed really well until it feels like pureed food. This eases the job on your stomach to handle the food intake and process it.

I'm craving something but I don't know if I can eat them

There is no harm in treating yourself with the stuff you like, but this game can be a two-edged sword. Keep the meal of your choice wisely, and make sure to have the specific food you want that doesn’t have ingredients that might be not in your favor.

You can always replace one ingredient with something healthier. Generally, be aware of what you put in your body, you are what you eat. Let’s scope on the details of what to avoid when we order.

What to order at Starbucks after gastric sleeve

Starbucks is known worldwide and almost everyone loves it for its variety of choices. And for that, it is to your advantage because they have choices for everyone.

Do not order drinks with sugary syrups, they provide flavored sugar-free kind. And you should build a barrier for yourself from day 1 until day 360, to order decaf only. It won’t trigger any acid refluxes and keep you in good shape. And stay away from teas, they are all caffeinated, you can have them 1-year post-op. 

Can I eat a burger after gastric sleeve?

Generally, people think burgers are fatty and a source of bad fat, think otherwise, it is in fact pact with goodies. You can tell a good burger place if the ingredients they put include veggies on top of the patty of lean meat. That is a good deal of protein and it won’t be a problem to eat a burger once every while.

But again, you should stay away from 2 things:

  • White bread: White flower bread is not your best friend, it is just a beautiful lie where it lies many unneeded calories in your body.
  • Chain burger restaurants: These types of burgers have processed meat and not healthy substances whether for gastric patients or anyone else. Stay away from that chain of problems.

Chicken wings after gastric sleeve

Chicken wings are actually a good source of protein. As a bariatric patient, you might be able to eat about three wings and feel full already. Stay away from fried foods and instead have basic seasoned wings with no creamy thick sauces. Baked or grilled chicken wings after gastric sleeve could be a safe choice. Also, make sure you peel the chicken skin, it is basically a source of bad fat, so high in calories, and also increases the cholesterol level.

The main or side dishes in restaurants are in larger portions and you won’t be able to finish them, also they serve with creamy high-calorie sauces. Instead, you can either ask for undressed calories or, just the spicy ones that won’t hurt your stomach. Just make sure to order the exact amount you think you can eat. 

Can I eat thin crust pizza after gastric sleeve?

Can you eat pizza after gastric sleeve? Eating dough after gastric sleeve is not recommended but some people try to stretch their diet. In fact, you can handle bread after 6 months with no health concerns. However, if it hasn’t been 6 months and you insist on eating thin-crust pizza, at least chose the toppings wisely. Veggies and lean meat would not be a bad choice. 

But try to keep refined flour (aka white bread) outside your diet plan. Refined flour rapidly increases your blood sugar level and rapidly decreases it. Which means you will feel very much hungry very quickly. Which means eating more and more often. This loop creates insulin resistance at the end. I don’t recommend taking this step but if you really crave it, thin crust with not-processed toppings will do.

Tacos after gastric sleeve

Yes, you can eat tacos after gastric sleeve, but without the tortilla shell. It can be covered with a green shell. Use lettuce as the holder of the goodies and “VOILA”. Enjoy your low-cabs and high-protein tacos with no weight concerns or you can choose a low-calorie tortilla like corn tortillas. Although keep in mind that many people are intolerant to corn and corn-based products. If you are one of these people, eating corn tortillas after gastric sleeve will only give you gas, gas pain, and constipation.

Can you eat hot dogs after gastric sleeve?

Have you ever watched how hotdogs are processed in big factories? It is not a good source of nutrition or protein even though nutrition facts say so. Some supermarkets provide low-fat sausages but it doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest meal you can pick. If you’re going to eat out, go for something else rather than a hot dog. If you crave one, you can do it at home. However, there are two things that you can do:

1. Replace the white bun with a whole-grain bun.

2. Buy the sausage from an actual butcher.

Sushi after gastric sleeve

If you’ve passed stage 4 after the surgery, then it is safe to say you can eat sushi. There is no harm in that, but since we are staying away from hot stuff, do not get anywhere close to wasabi.

Speaking of Asian cuisine, some people really like the companionship of ramen with sushi. If you are one of them you may also ask “can I eat ramen noodles after gastric sleeve?”. Well, the answer is yes and no. First of all, you won’t be able to finish them all. Secondly, there is rice in sushi and rice is carbs. Ramen noodles are also carbs. Eating too much carb for one meal is not actually a good idea. You can maybe eat half portion of each or just consume them separately. 

Can I eat mac and cheese after gastric sleeve?

To save you from trouble, no you shouldn’t eat mac and cheese. Just because it is soft food and easy to consume after gastric sleeve surgery, doesn’t mean it is nutritious. Mac and cheese are high in calories and sodium in very short portions. Mac itself is a type of pasta, which means carbs. Cheese consists of protein and mostly fat. But when you eat a portion of make and cheese, you consume carbs and fat more and a little bit of protein. This is the exact opposite of the balanced diet we’re aiming for.

Can I eat crab legs after gastric sleeve?

Crab legs are an interesting choice to maintain a good diet after weight loss surgery. Also, it is very much recommended for the keto diet too. You can even go for king crab legs, they are high in protein and omega 3. It has fatty acids that are healthy for bariatric patients. As a protein-rich meal, you can most definitely have boiled crab legs.

How can I keep on track if I cannot find anything to eat?

There is always something to find to eat. Since you’re on solid food with 3 meals a day, your goal is to have protein and healthy fats. Do not think of it as a diet plan, just look for nutritious food.

Aiming for lean protein (meat, or chicken) preferably with no heavy sauces and not fried will be a good idea. For instance, a plate of cooked chicken breast with a small portion of veggies or salad with a good amount of protein is a good safe choice.

When you look at the main menu, stay away from unhealthy fats and greasy oils. Maintain a healthy amount of calories (1200-1400 per day) and don’t forget to get hydrated from time to time. 50 oz-67 oz water per day will limit your thoughts about what to eat. 


Bettini S, Belligoli A, Fabris R, Busetto L. Diet approach before and after bariatric surgery [published correction appears in Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2020 Aug 17;:]. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2020;21(3):297-306. doi:10.1007/s11154-020-09571-8 Link

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