An old high school classmate and one of his friends recently started a new adventure to open their own restaurant. Yesterday was the grand opening and like any good friend, I decided to go and have lunch there to support them.
I ordered a cup of soup (broccoli and cheddar) and the toasted ham and cheese sandwich.
As I was leaving with half my sandwich in a to-go container, I made the comment to my lunch companion that since my surgery, this was what eating out looked like.
The truth is, if you have had weight loss surgery, your dining out experience changes pretty drastically. Especially in the beginning.
Because, let’s face it, in the beginning and for a very long time to follow, you just can’t stroll into your favorite date night restaurant, order your usually and eat it all. It’s going home with you in one of these containers.
Or you’re leaving half your meal on the table for the wait staff to clean up and wonder if you just didn’t like it enough to finish eating.
Despite the growing numbers of people getting WLS, there really aren’t very many options for us as restaurant goers. I don’t know if its because we don’t factor into an algorithm for profits (we shouldn’t) or because most people don’t expect WLS patients to eat out. But there you have it. Few options.
One – as I’ve already mentioned – is the To-Go box, where you may take home a good meal to eat for days later, should you wish. Or feed to your dog… or in my case, the chickens.
Two – you may get a Restaurant Card to present when you eat out. A Restaurant Card (click links to see two different versions) are printable cards which will allow you to eat off the child or seniors menus at participating restaurants.
You print it up, take it to your surgeon to sign and (if you’re smart) laminate it, so it can’t be damaged over time. When you eat out, you present the card before you order and hope for the best.
There are two… no, really three issues with the cards.
- Not a lot of restaurants actually honor them. The list, according to Google, is very small.
- Even if they say they honor them, individual chains or establishments are not actually obligated to honor them.
- The children’s menu often contains very bad for you, breaded, friend objects, or pouch-filling pasta and carbs.
So… it, like the To-Go box, is a mixed option.
Three – if you’re lucky enough to have a spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/family member who has similar taste in foods, you could order one meal and split it.
I am not. My husband’s tastes run to spicy, no veggies and lots of cheese. It’s very rare that we like the same items on any menu.
Which really means that, for me, the best option is the To-Go box. I can take it home,maybe eat some the next day at lunch. Maybe feed it to the chickens.
Is it a bit annoying to have to do that every time? Yes. Is it a waste of money to buy a meal I can’t eat? Yes. BUT – how many people, how many normal, non-WLS people, go to a restaurant and don’t come home with a doggie bag of some kind?
Between appetizers (which I encourage my family to order now, believe it or not, because if the drinks come first, then appetizers, I can take a few sips of water right away and STILL get a good 15-20 minutes at a sit-down restaurant before the meal comes), the huge portions for the meals, and a dessert… that’s a LOT of food. Most people fill up on the appetizers and can’t eat all their meal any way. Right?
Here I am at the opening of my friend’s restaurant. It was totally worth the doggie bag!
No matter which route you choose in handling your dining out experience, make the best of it. I brought half my sandwich home to share with my parents. And they enjoyed it, too.