You’ve had bariatric surgery, and you’re ready to take charge of your health. However, upcoming summer BBQs may feel like they’re threatening to derail your progress and goals.

BBQ season doesn’t have to interfere with your weight loss journey. Instead, follow this guide from Dr. Mark Colquitt of Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons in Knoxville, TN, to surviving summer BBQs after surgery (without having to skip a single gathering).

Come to the BBQ Prepared
Don’t show up to the BBQ on an empty stomach; you’ll be starving and less likely to make healthy choices.
Instead, have a snack before you go that’s suited to your post-surgery phase, like veggies and dip, a small portion of meat, or a protein shake, so that your appetite isn’t raging.

Try to squeeze in an exercise session before the BBQ. Exercise tends to put people in a healthier frame of mind and encourage them to make nutritious choices.

Before the BBQ, drink plenty of water to help you feel full. This will also prevent you from mistaking thirst for hunger.

Know What Foods Belong on Your Plate (and What Things to Avoid)
The best food selections will depend on what phase you’re in after your surgery. If you’re in phase 2, you’ll likely want to avoid most foods at the BBQ and bring your pureed food with you. Fruits that you can mash and mashed cottage cheese are likely okay to eat.

If you’re in phase 3 or phase 4, you have more options for your plate, including:
· Fish
· Chicken breast or turkey breast
· Low-fat lunch meat
· Low-fat cheese
· Baked potatoes
· Boiled pasta
· Fresh fruit (skip the skin)
· Grilled vegetables

When in phase 3, stay away from raw fibrous veggies, like broccoli and cabbage. Try to choose lean sources of protein (like chicken) over fattier options (such as hot dogs and hamburgers).

If you’re in phase 3 or 4 and have concerns that there won’t be a lot of food you can eat, bring a dish that includes items that are suited to your needs.

Stay away from most desserts; if you want something sweet, grilled fruit is a terrific alternative that gives your body the nutrients it needs.

Stick with calorie-free liquids, like water and diet beverages. Avoid alcoholic beverages; not only are they full of empty calories, but your stomach will struggle to process the carbs and sugar.

Life after bariatric surgery can be difficult to navigate. The team at Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is here to help you every step of the way.

If you’re considering weight loss surgery, watch our free online informational session on our Get Started webpage. For additional questions about life after bariatric surgery, contact our team at (865) 984-3413.

Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics in Knoxville, Tennessee. Foothills is affiliated with the Fort Sanders Regional Center for Bariatric Surgery, part of Covenant Health Bariatric Services.