Here’s your chance to go post op bariatric grocery shopping with your RHN – Registered Holistic Nutritionist Sheri.
Let’s go grocery shopping together ! We will first shop like we are “one year post op bariatric surgery” and then we will do a 2nd spin around the supermarket pretending that we are getting ready for our pre.op/ post op guidelines. I am going to keep it simple and if you have questions, please reach out to me by responding to this email or commenting below. Sure, we could get super complicated and really dive deep into nutrition but this isn’t about going to nutritionist college – this is about giving simple guidelines to people who are just starting to read labels and make sense of all this nutrition jargon…. let’s do it !
Grocery shopping while following a pre op diet, or post op guidelines can be super difficult but let’s make it fun. In your local grocery store is a whole new world of flavours that adhere to your new way of life. It is not something that comes naturally and it’s something you need to work a bit for. You can’t believe that you are going to get out of the operating room just instinctively knowing how you are supposed to eat. You need to read and research and learn and try to make sense of all the nutritional information that’s out there. Keep an open mind when learning the bariatric ropes. Reach out to me when you have questions. That’s why I am here – to support you while you are on this journey and this journey is a lifelong one. Let’s become “foodie friends for life”.
Whether shopping for your pre.op nutritional plan or post op guidelines, print and bring the list along with you to the grocery store. Please make sure that you eat something and drink something prior to entering the grocery store. It will make shopping a whole lot easier and more comfortable for you. Armed with a full tummy and your pre.op or post op list, let’s start at the produce department. That’s the best place to begin. You aren’t feeling rushed or tired yet and this is where all the vitamins and nutrients live in green and red and orange colours. Because I am shopping for pre.op and post op foods, I am going to get some carrots and broccoli, onions, garlic, cauliflower and kale which I am going to use in a big pot of vegetable soup which I will eat during my pre.op diet. If I am recently post op, I can also use this same recipe for a big pot of vegetable soup and depending on the stage I am at, I can blend it or puree it to the correct consistency. You can add all kinds of low starch vegetables to your soup depending on what your likes are.
Next we are moving to the deli counter which has some good options and a lot of really bad options. Please do say “yes” to minimally processed meats and cheeses and please say “no” to the pre-made macaroni salads and coleslaw filled with mayonnaise and sugar. Here there are a lot of sugars and refined carbohydrates and very empty calories.
Let’s take our shopping cart to the meat department now. Purchase your lean meats, fish and seafood and you can even request that your butcher cut your purchases into five ounce portions so it’s even easier to prep when you get home. It’s a super idea to have lots of protein options available at home. You pick a protein/ defrost it and then prepare it with a nice fresh or frozen green vegetable. Your lunch or dinner is ready to serve !
Let’s try to stay on the outside of the supermarket as best we can because we all know that the sugars and carbs and refined “carbage” is awaiting all of us in the supermarket aisles. As tempting as it may be – almost nothing that you need will be on the inside of the supermarket aisles. Go down them only if there is something that you need on your grocery list such as coffee or peanut butter or coconut oil or stevia. If you don’t need something that is down the aisles, then skip them.
So now that we have skipped the inner aisles of the grocery store, we can now proceed to the dairy section where we can get ourselves some eggs, whole milk (no skimmed milk please) or almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk or any one of the many milk or milk substitutes available to us today (with zero sugars added). We are also going to choose some high quality greek yogurt with zero sugar added and some high quality cottage cheese (not the low fat kind). If we want a sweeter yogurt, we can add some frozen berries and stevia to it.
In my supermarket, the last wall is the freezer department and stocking up with low carb frozen vegetables and low sugar berries are always an excellent idea. They are versatile and easy to use when fresh is not available.
So to recap – looking down into my shopping cart, on this trip I have purchased low carb fresh veggies and low sugar berries, some minimally processed deli meat, cheese, chicken, fish, shrimp, almond milk, greek yogurt, cottage cheese and some frozen blueberries. Now it’s time to go home and food prep for the week to come. I have my bariatric protein powders at home so I can add that to the blender with some berries, almond milk and greek yogurt and mix myself up a shake each morning. If I want another option, I can have a scrambled egg with some spinach. For lunch I will prepare a big vegetable soup and bring that along with me to work and for dinners I will have a portion of protein with some baked vegetables. For snacks I can have yogurt with blueberries or cottage cheese with raspberries.
What an empowering feeling to be able to check out at the grocery store and know that the foods in my shopping cart will promote excellent health and are in line with my weight loss goals !
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Nutritionist and Bariatric Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery patients for 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric patients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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