6 Bariatric-Friendly Fast-Food Takeout Options

Between the isolation, stress, and COVID-19 fatigue, diet planning during a pandemic is challenging. Staying well-stocked on healthy staples is critical to staying on track with your bariatric diet. Having healthy proteins and sides on hand can help you avoid making unhealthy meal choices when you’re short on time and ideas.

Some good options include frozen veggie burgers, tuna, canned beans, precooked chicken, and hard-boiled eggs. Frozen veggies and canned fruit are good, quick side options when you don’t have the motivation to make complicated meals. Prepping food ahead and batch cooking can also give you dinner options throughout the week.

However, some nights don’t always go according to plan. Work may run late, or you may be tired of your typical menu items. While most fast-food meals aren’t bariatric friendly, many of these restaurants are offering healthier options. If you’re short on time, ideas, or motivation to make a healthy meal, the following fast-food options won’t break your diet.

Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A’s grilled chicken nuggets come with a whopping 25g of protein per serving while only having 140 calories and 3.5g of fat. Compared to the original nuggets with 260 calories and 12g of fat, the grilled option is a much friendlier choice for bariatric patients. The grilled nuggets also have half the sodium of the original nuggets. Adding on a superfood side salad is great for filling your Vitamin C needs as well.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s power veggie bowl is a great choice for bariatric patients so long as they forego the rice. This brings the meal to 310 calories, 11g of protein, and 12g of fiber. Taco Bell also offers a “Fresco Style” option, which swaps out mayo, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole with pico de gallo. This brings down the fat content of meals by up to 25%.

McDonald’s

McDonald’s has a couple of options that are bariatric friendly for breakfast and dinner. The egg white delight packs 18g of protein into the breakfast sandwich. If you swap out the eggs for egg whites and the bacon for Canadian ham, this sandwich comes in just under 300 calories.

The grilled chicken snack wrap is great for lunch or dinner on the go. At 300 calories and 21g of protein, it’s a good option for bariatric patients. If you nix the ranch dressing, you cut out 50 calories and 110mg of sodium.

Burger King

If you’re craving a burger, Burger King’s veggie burger with no mayo is a good option. At just 310 calories and 2.5g of saturated fat, this burger provides 21g of protein. This meatless burger is also a healthier option for your heart while tasting like an indulgence.

Wendy’s

If you’re craving savory comfort food, Wendy’s large black bean chili is a great option. This menu item is high in protein and fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer. This chili comes in at 250 calories, 23g of protein, 5g of fiber, and a fifth of your daily iron needs.

Chipotle

You can build a bariatric-friendly burrito bowl by choosing barbacoa beef, black beans, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, Monterey jack cheese, and romaine. You can divide this bowl in half to have leftovers for later and have a bariatric-friendly takeout meal. Half of the bowl provides 19.5g of protein with 8g of fat and 230 calories.

If you prefer chicken, another option is a burrito bowl with chicken, black beans, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, and Monterey jack cheese. For half the bowl, this meal comes in around 235 calories, 23.5g of protein, and 8g of fat.

Helpful Tip

When browsing a fast-food menu, look at the descriptor for the proteins. Grilled, steamed, or roasted are usually leaner meats. Items listed as breaded, crispy, crunchy, or fried usually have extra fat, carbs, and calories. Contact us to learn more about life after bariatric surgery and how it can improve your health.

 

6 Tips to Avoid Pandemic Weight Gain During the Winter

As COVID-19 continues to keep people at home, you may start to notice your weight creeping up on the scale. Several factors contribute to this including stress eating, leading more sedentary lives (i.e. telecommuting), and accessibility. Many people stormed the grocery stores when the pandemic first made waves in the United States, buying up staple foods, exotic ingredients, and everything in between. With more stress, less mobility, and stockpiles of food, it’s harder than ever for bariatric patients to stick to their diet. The holidays aren’t helping matters either, as food often plays an integral role.

The following are several tips to help you avoid gaining weight during the pandemic this winter:

  1. Establish a new routine. Many complained of cabin fever over the spring and summer months, but it’s likely to get worse as cold weather eliminates the outdoors as an option. If you’ve become reliant on daily outdoor activities, now is the time to establish a new routine. Swap out your morning walk with yoga, meditation, or a quiet cup of coffee. Join an online workout class if you prefer lively engagement. Be sure to incorporate self-care into your routine as well to help yourself unwind at the end of the day. The last thing you want is for all the days to begin to blur together or for your entire schedule to revolve around food.
  2. Make a mini-bucket list. People set out to complete lofty goals at the start of the pandemic. Some wanted to learn another language, while others wanted to write a novel. Many soon discovered those things aren’t so easy to achieve. This is because we are overstressed, which stunts creativity, learning, and more. However, that isn’t to say you can’t set and achieve more realistic goals. With more time on our hands and less to do with it, it’s best to find ways to keep busy. Draw up a list of short-term goals or desires you haven’t been able to achieve and start working through them. Some examples include reading more books, catching up on your favorite shows, or finishing up a craft project that’s been sitting half-finished for too long.
  3. Get serious about food prep. Your family is going to be home with you a lot more than usual. You’re going to be home a lot more than usual as well. This is much more time spent around food. The temptation to eat when you’re not hungry will be high because of stress, fear, and boredom. If you make dishes and snacks ahead of time, you’ll find it’s much easier to stick to your diet. When you go to reach for a snack, you’ll know you’re making a smart choice.
  4. Stay active. This will be harder during the winter months. Create a workout space in your home. If you’re tight on space, focus on clearing a small area that is simple to put back together after exercise. For example, moving an ottoman or coffee table to the side of the room can clear enough floor space to allow you to exercise. Exercise can help keep your mind off food, and it releases hormones to help improve your mood. Regardless of whether you were an avid exercise enthusiast prior to COVID or not, you’re moving less now than you did before the pandemic. You will need to find ways to incorporate more moving into your day to combat the increase in sedentary behavior.
  5. Manage your stress. Stress can lead to overeating, mindless grazing, or eating for comfort. Stress hormones trigger the desire to eat, increase belly fat, and slow the metabolism. However, reducing stress during a pandemic is a tall order. Thankfully, you can download one of many free apps that focus on managing stress. Some examples include Headspace, Breathe, and Calm. Other techniques for reducing stress include meditation, yoga, and practicing mindfulness.
  6. Set a sleep schedule. Sleeping too much is just as bad for your health as not sleeping enough. Both contribute to increased appetite, weight gain, and poor blood sugar control. You should aim to go to bed and rise around the same time every day for optimum health. If you find yourself wide awake at night but exhausted in the morning, you may need to reexamine your routine. B vitamins can boost your energy levels, so it’s best to take those earlier in the day. Blue lights from phones, tablets, and televisions can also disrupt sleep cycles. Invest in blue light reducing glasses, turn your devices onto night mode, or unplug from electronics an hour or so before bed. Making these changes can improve your sleep cycle.

Having a plan in place can help you stay on track with your bariatric diet during the winter months. The situation may not be ideal, but you can still experience weight loss success. Contact us to learn more about achieving long-term weight loss with bariatric surgery.

 

3 Bariatric Dessert Recipes You Need to Try

Meal planning is a huge factor for successful weight loss after bariatric surgery. However, researching healthy meals that work with your new diet can be challenging. It’s even harder to find options to indulge your sweet tooth. While it’s true that your diet will look significantly different after bariatric surgery, you won’t succeed if you don’t enjoy the food you eat. If you limit yourself to a strict, bland diet every day, it’s not likely to last. To ensure long term success, you need a variety of healthy food options that are also flavorful to keep you satisfied.

Many people are afraid to incorporate desserts into their bariatric diet out of fear that they will derail their progress. However, planning for a dessert every now and then can give you something to look forward to and help you stick to your meal planning. In addition, dessert doesn’t always have to mean unhealthy. The following details several bariatric-diet-friendly desserts:

Slow Cooker Triple Berry Cobbler

With the fall season well underway, a satisfying berry cobbler is the perfect seasonal treat. This is a great way to enjoy Thanksgiving dessert with your family without overindulging. While most cobbler recipes call for buckets of butter and sugar, this version uses healthier substitutes. This recipe also takes all the work out of making cobbler by letting your slow cooker handle the task.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 21 oz can blueberry pie filling
  • 14 oz bag of frozen berry mix
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 oz blueberry muffin mix
  • 1/3 C water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Spray the interior of the slow cooker with the nonstick spray and set it aside.
  2. Combine the berries, pie filling, and sugar inside the slow cooker.
  3. Cover the cobbler and cook it on low heat for three hours. After the time is up, combine the muffin mix, water, and oil in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well to combine all the ingredients and spoon the mixture over the berries in the slow cooker.
  4. Turn the heat up to high on the slow cooker, cover, and cook for an additional hour or until you can insert a wooden toothpick and pull it out clean from the muffin mixture.
  5. Turn off the cooker and allow the cobbler to cool uncovered for 30-45 minutes.

Nutrition Information

This cobbler recipe yields 12 servings. The nutrition information below is for one serving.

 

Calories: 162

Total fat: 4g

Saturated fat: 1g

Sodium: 116mg

Carbs: 31g

Fiber: 3g

Sugar: 14g

Protein: 1g

 

Skinny Brownie in a Mug

The challenge with many desserts after bariatric surgery is that most recipes leave a lot of leftovers. Baking an entire pan of brownies for just one brownie puts even the strongest of wills to the test. It’s also wasteful if no one else is around to eat them. Having the option to make a single brownie eliminates both of those issues. As an added bonus, this recipe only requires four ingredients and is ready in under two minutes!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 packets of Truvia or any other sugar substitute
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour*
  • 3 tbsp almond milk, regular milk, or yogurt

*Can substitute with almond flour

Directions

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a microwave-safe mug and mix with a fork or small whisk.
  2. Microwave on high for one minute

Nutrition Information

 

Calories: 96.6

Total fat: 2.2g

Saturated fat: 1g

Sodium: 33.8mg

Carbs: 9.2g

Fiber: 2.2g

Sugar: 0g

Protein: 1.2

 

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

These cheesecake-stuffed strawberries provide all the decadence of cheesecake without the caloric punch. With less than 17 calories per strawberry, you can savor the sweetness without breaking your diet. These sweet treats only require five ingredients, which is convenient for pulling together a quick and simple dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 graham cracker (low-fat), crushed in a small bowl
  • 3 tsp Truvia/sugar substitute
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese (fat-free), softened to room temperature
  • 12 strawberries

Directions

  1. Cut the tops off the strawberries. Using a sharp knife, cut an X into the top of the strawberries taking care not to cut through them. Gently remove the centers.
  2. Mix the cream cheese, Truvia, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
  3. Fill a pastry bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off with the mixture. Pipe the filling into the strawberries taking care to distribute it evenly.
  4. Roll the tops of the strawberries and exposed filling in the graham cracker crumbs

Nutrition Information

This recipe creates six servings. Each serving (two strawberries) contains the following:

 

Calories: 34

Fat: 0g

Sodium: 22mg

Carbs: 8g

Fiber: 0g

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 1g

 

Adjusting to a bariatric diet is challenging for many people, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you eat! The goal of bariatric surgery is to improve your health so you can enjoy life to the fullest—this includes great-tasting food. Using recipes like the above can help you stay committed to your bariatric diet while enjoying delicious food. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery.