Tips for BBQ Season after Weight Loss Surgery
It is springtime! That means that soon, many of us are going to fish the tongs from the back of the cupboard, stock up on briquettes or propane, and drag the barbecue out of the shed.
But after bariatric surgery, backyard barbecues can appear full of pitfalls and potential traps. We love to hear about all the great celebrations our patients have, so rather than decline invitations, we'd like to suggest ways to plan ahead. If you plan, you can have fun and keep your nutrition balanced.
If you're invited to someone's house, that person is likely aware that burgers and chips and potato salad aren't on your menu. Even so, it's a good idea to let your hosts know about your dietary needs well in advance. If it's for medical reasons — and bariatric surgery certainly counts — people are almost always supportive, but it’s good etiquette for guests to give notice in advance.
Let Your Hosts Know about Your Dietary Needs
If you'd rather not bring up weight loss or surgery, or you don’t feel comfortable asking your host to modify the menu, you can offer to contribute a healthy option to share, turning the barbecue into a bit of a potluck: "Barbecue? Great! I'll bring the chicken. Who's got the fruit salad for dessert?" (People bring wine to dinner parties; why not carrot sticks to a barbecue?)
If it's you doing the cooking, you're in the driver's seat. If you must serve burgers, hot dogs, and the like, and you're not sure of your ability to resist temptation, you can delegate the grilling responsibility to a trusted member of your support network. However, lots of people would love a heart-healthy and weight-wise twist on the traditional backyard barbecue! You might serve:
- Chicken or turkey breast, in portions about the size of your palm, marinated in fat-free, no-sugar-added marinade (this is a great place to go homemade — make a list of possible ingredients and go wild!)
- Vegetable skewers with eggplant, peppers, onion, and zucchini; eggplant slices grilled as "steaks"; corn on the cob (hold the butter)
- Turkey dogs wrapped in either whole-wheat buns or lettuce leaves (to further cut
- Vegetarian meat substitutes such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, and prepackaged veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and veggie cold cuts. They're often surprisingly realistic and very tasty. (WARNING: Some of these products are great, but some can be surprisingly high in fat, sodium, and other things you should avoid. Check the labels to ensure the nutritional content is acceptable!)
Despite careful planning, sometimes people yield to temptation. If you cheat once, forgive yourself and get right back on the plan. But be honest with yourself about whether it's really a one-time thing or your eating habits have slowly slipped.