Summer brings not only warmer weather and longer days, but also a myriad of often challenging social events ALL centered around food!
BBQs, lively backyard parties, ice cream in town, picnics at the park, drawn out happy hours, pitchers of sangria, popsicles on the front porch, smores around a campfire, beer on the terrace and the list goes on…
Our bariatric/weight loss surgery patients often tell us that they find the summer season one of the most challenging times of the year, coming second only to the Christmas holiday season.
- Schedules and meal times tend to be more lenient.
- The kids are off school and in full on vacation mode.
- The social calendar is fuller than ever. Even weeknights are no longer off limits.
- Nostalgic summer foods and refreshing drinks seem to be everywhere and oh so tempting!
We want you to enjoy summer just like everyone else, but if your goal is weight maintenance or if you are still within 1 year postop, it is important to stay mindful.
Here are some of our TOP TIPS...
BBQs & BACKYARD PARTIES! - Hamburgers, hot dogs and ribs, oh my!
If you’re the host, prepare marinated chicken and vegetable skewers. Skewers make perfect postop portions, but at the same time are an appropriate option for your other guests.
Have you recently had surgery? There is a high likelihood that overcooked barbecue meats may be difficult for you to tolerate (i.e. causing a “stuck” feeling along with a lot of discomfort). Untoasted buns and bread may do the same. If this is the case, prepare a ‘safe food’ for the event. This means bringing a food that you know you tolerate well. Don’t just wing it! There is nothing worse than feeling sick or vomiting at a party.
Examples of safe foods for those of you who are recently postop:
- Legume/bean salad
- Barbecue ready aluminum foil packets filled with marinated fish or chicken and vegetables. Encasing your foods in foil packets traps in the moisture making your foods tenderer.
- Tuna or egg salad served with crackers
- Hard shell tacos
- Skewers of watermelon + bocconcini cheese + basil or mint leaves, drizzled with balsamic vinegar
- Homemade smoothie popsicles (great option if you are only days postop!)
ICE CREAM! - Tis the season!
We are often asked by our patients “How often can I have ice cream?” and “How much ice cream can I have?”
Remember that all foods fit after surgery. Ice cream is no different. We recommend our patients simply be mindful of their portions and indulge every now and then as opposed to daily.
Sugar is addictive. The more you have, the more you want. If you had difficulty limiting sweets before surgery, consider limiting sweets after surgery to avoid falling back into the old habits. For example, instead of having a whole tub of ice cream in your freezer (which may be too tempting), allow yourself to have a child-sized cone once a week in town with friends.
Another important consideration is: Did you have a gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y)?
If yes, you are at risk of experiencing dumping syndrome with sweet foods like ice cream. Limit your portions of ice cream to simply tastings (ex. ¼ cup portions) or try these lower sugar options…
- Opt for fresh seasonal fruits + a spoonful of CoolWhip
- Invest in a homemade ice cream maker (Ex. https://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca/store/product/cuisinart-reg-ice-cream-frozen-yogurt-maker-in-white/3251572 ). For an instant cool treat, add in 1 full-sized container of vanilla yogurt + fresh seasonal fruit. Delicious!
- Try one of the many savory balsamic strawberry recipes on the internet for something different. Ex - https://www.acouplecooks.com/video-strawberries-with-balsamic-greek-yogurt-and-mint/
Alcohol is absorbed much faster into your bloodstream after surgery. For this reason, the effects can be intense. It is often said that 1 drink after surgery is equivalent to the feeling of 4-6 drinks before surgery! Patients often laugh about this statistic, but it is no joke.
We recommend our patients limit themselves to one standard drink per evening and to serve it in ½ portions (Ex. ½ glass of wine + ice cubes).
Never drive after drinking, regardless of the amount! Even one standard drink can raise your blood alcohol concentration above the legal driving limit.
Remember that beer is also carbonated. Carbonated drinks (Ex. soda and fizzy water) are generally discouraged after surgery because it is suspected that they can stretch out your stomach with regular consumption. Whether or not this is actually the case has yet to be proven, but carbonation aside, beer and carbonated mixed drinks contain calories, and a lot of them!
Patients often ask, “But what the heck am I supposed to drink this summer if I can’t have soda, beer, mixed drinks, fizzy water or more than 1 glass of wine!”
This is a valid question. We admit that the alternatives are not super exciting.
- Fruit-infused water
- Flavoured ice cubes (Ex. http://www.marthastewart.com/356419/flavored-ice-cube-ideas )
- Homemade iced tea – Apparently Davids Tea’s ‘La vie en Rosé’ is refreshingly close to a true rosé wine! Similarly, Teavana has a fun mixology theme to their summer ice teas this year. Flavours include Beach Bellini, Strawberry Daiquiri, Mandarin Mimosa and Pina Colada!
What are your favourite summer tips? Post below in the comments!
Wishing you all a great start to your summer!
- Lisa & Monica