After gastric bypass, gastric banding or gastric sleeve weight loss surgery we know we must follow a healthy high protein diet in order to lose weight and maintain weight loss. In these difficult economic times it is natural to be concerned about the cost of a specialized diet. Follow these helpful tips to sustain your weight loss surgery diet without breaking the bank. By making a special effort when planning, shopping and preparing meals it is painless to save money and follow a nutritional program to benefit our health today and in the future.
- Make a weekly menu of dinner meals. Focus on protein dishes that can be repurposed as lunches. Side dishes should be fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits or frozen vegetables requiring minimal preparation.
- Plan two or three “routine” breakfast selections. Most WLS patients have a lower tolerance for food upon waking and eventually find a few things that consistently settle well on their stomach pouch first thing in the morning. Have these routine selections on hand at all times to avoid starting the day off with a grumpy pouch.
- Follow the weekly grocery sale adds and take advantage of specials and coupons. Use grocery store loyalty cards for added savings. Avoid sales for processed simple carbohydrates (junk food) because these foods are referred to as “slider foods” and they often cause weight gain in WLS patients. Remember, a slider food on sale is still a slider food.
- Purchase items that can be used in multiple recipes and for different meals such as canned beans, eggs and flash frozen poultry and fish pieces. Stock up on sale items and repackage bulk purchases for single meals or single serving sizes and freeze to avoid waste.
- When shopping, follow the “Protein First” rule and make protein selections first. Look for fresh lean meat, pork and lamb in the meat department. Add poultry and fish from the meat department or frozen meat section. Shop for low-fat dairy protein and select low-fat cottage cheese and yogurt as well as eggs. Add vegetable based protein to your diet with canned beans, dried beans and legumes, and tofu products.
- Take advantage of locally grown produce available seasonally at roadside stands and farmers markets. For an exercise bonus gather your produce at “pick-your-own” farms and orchards to save money and burn calories.
- Eliminate pricey beverages from your diet in favor of filtered tap water. It is less expensive and better for the environment. Flavor water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or fresh ginger. Add frozen berries for a refreshing treat. Make sun tea with tea bags instead of buying manufactured tea beverages. You will get a purer beverage and save money too.
- Prepare your meals at home rather than eating out. You can control the ingredients and avoid things that interfere with your healthy dietary goals following weight loss surgery.
- Build on your experience each week to become a health savvy and budget wise shopper so that you can enjoy your healthy life following surgical weight loss.