summer_food.jpegSummer is a season filled with indulgent treats and delicious meals. However, for those who have undergone bariatric surgery, it can be a challenging time to navigate social gatherings without derailing their weight loss journey. But, with mindful planning, you can create delicious and healthy meals that fit within a bariatric-friendly lifestyle.

Take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle and learn how to enjoy your favorite summer meals while staying on track after bariatric surgery. Schedule a consultation with Atlanta Bariatrics today for personalized meal planning and expert guidance. Let us help you create a nutritious and satisfying menu that aligns with your post-surgery needs.

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Whether you've undergone gastric bypass surgery or another one of the  bariatric surgery procedures offered by our team, there are certain guidelines and recommendations to keep in mind when planning your summer meals. Here is a guide to help you prepare tasty and bariatric-friendly dishes that will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished all summer long.

Understanding Bariatric-Friendly Nutrition

Healthy eating after metabolic and bariatric surgery is crucial to ensure long-term success. Post-surgery, your body undergoes significant changes that require careful attention to your nutritional intake. Adhering to a bariatric-friendly diet can help you lose weight, prevent nutritional deficiencies, and support healing.

Individuals who have undergone weight loss surgery require a tailored nutrition plan to meet their unique needs. This type of surgery drastically alters the digestive system, which can impact how the body absorbs nutrients. Since bariatric surgery is often performed on individuals with severe obesity, obesity-related medical condition(s), and/or a high body mass index (BMI), ensuring adequate nutrition can help with both weight loss and overall health.

One primary concern is the risk of nutrient deficiencies due to reduced food intake and changes in digestion. Essential vitamins and minerals may not be sufficiently absorbed. To address this, patients are generally advised to take supplements and follow a balanced diet rich in protein, low in fats and sugars, and full of nutrient-dense foods.

By adhering to these specific nutritional guidelines, individuals can enhance their weight loss outcomes and support their long-term health after obesity surgery.

Staying Hydrated in the Heat

Staying hydrated is especially crucial during the hot summer months, particularly for those recovering from bariatric surgery. Proper hydration aids digestion, supports metabolic processes, helps regulate body temperature, and promotes weight loss.

Here are some tips for keeping hydrated and enhancing your water intake:

  • Carry a Water Bottle: Always have a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink regularly throughout the day. This can help you avoid dehydration and make it easier to track your fluid intake.
  • Set Reminders: Use the  Baritastic app for reminders to drink water throughout the day! This can ensure you stay hydrated without having to constantly think about it.
  • Infuse Your Water: Enhance the flavor of your water with natural, low-calorie infusions. Adding slices of fruits such as lemon, lime, berries, or cucumber can add a refreshing twist to your water without adding extra calories. Fresh herbs like mint or basil can also add a burst of flavor.
  • Eat Hydrating Foods: Incorporate fruits and vegetables with high water content into your meals and snacks. Watermelon, oranges, cucumbers, and strawberries are excellent choices that can help keep you hydrated while also providing essential nutrients.

With these tips, you can maintain proper hydration levels, shed excess weight, and enjoy a healthier, more energized summer.

Selecting Lean Proteins for the Grill

Grilling is a popular summertime cooking method, and fortunately, it can easily fit into a bariatric-friendly diet. Here are some of the best types of lean meats for grilling that are both delicious and nutritious:

  • Chicken Breast: A classic choice, skinless chicken breast is low in fat and high in protein. Marinate it with herbs, lemon juice, and a splash of olive oil before grilling to keep it moist and flavorful.
  • Turkey Breast: Turkey breast is another excellent option for grilling. It is leaner than darker cuts of turkey and can be seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs to enhance its taste.
  • White Fish: Fish like cod, haddock, and tilapia are perfect for a light and healthy dinner. These white fish varieties are low in fat and can be grilled quickly with a touch of lemon and dill for added flavor.
  • Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is not only heart-healthy but also bariatric-friendly. Opt for wild-caught salmon if possible and grill it with a simple rub of garlic, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Shrimp: Shrimp is a low-calorie, high-protein option that grills quickly. Marinade it with a bit of garlic and lemon, or create skewers with various vegetables for a delightful meal.
  • Plant-Based Proteins: Tofu and tempeh are excellent plant-based protein options that can be seasoned and grilled. Marinate tofu or tempeh in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil for a flavorful twist.

Whether you favor meat, fish, or plant-based options, there's something here to satisfy every palate while keeping your diet on track.

Fun Ways to Prep Veggies

Incorporating more vegetables into your summer meals is an excellent way to boost your fiber intake and ensure a well-rounded diet. Here are some creative and tasty methods to make veggies the star of your plate while keeping it bariatric-friendly:

Grilled Vegetable Salads

Grilling vegetables can add a wonderful depth of flavor to your salads. Try grilling slices of eggplant, asparagus, or even corn on the cob. Once grilled, chop the vegetables and toss them with fresh greens like arugula or spinach. Drizzle with a light vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, and your favorite herbs. Add a sprinkle of feta cheese or some toasted nuts for added texture and flavor.

Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles, or 'zoodles,' are a popular low-carb alternative to traditional pasta. Using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, create thin strips of zucchini and sauté them in a pan with some olive oil until they are tender. Serve them as you would regular pasta, with your choice of sauce and protein. 

If it’s your first time using zoodles, or if you’re hesitant to only use zoodles, try using a combination of half zoodles and half regular noodles. It’s a great way to add more veggies to your meal without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction!


Vegetable kabobs are an easy and visually appealing way to enjoy a variety of veggies. Simply chop your vegetables into bite-sized pieces and skewer them together. Some great veggies for kabobs include bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and red onions. For extra flavor, try seasoning or marinating your kabobs with:

  • Herb Marinade: Combine fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Let your vegetables soak in this marinade for at least an hour before grilling or roasting.
  • Citrus Splash: Use a blend of orange, lemon, or lime juice mixed with a touch of olive oil, a dash of cumin, and chopped cilantro. This bright, zesty marinade works well with bell peppers, zucchini, and squash.
  • Spicy Kick: For a bit of heat, try mixing olive oil with chili powder, smoked paprika, and a squeeze of lime juice. This combo is ideal for adding some zing to corn on the cob or portobello mushrooms.

Other Healthy Cookout Strategies

When enjoying a summer cookout, it’s easy to indulge in the delicious array of foods available. However, employing some planning strategies can help you avoid overeating while staying on track with your goals of losing weight and maintaining a balanced diet. Here are some effective methods:

Portion Control

Being mindful of portion sizes is crucial for maintaining a balanced diet, especially during social gatherings where food is abundant. Using smaller plates can help limit portions naturally. Additionally, begin by filling two-thirds of your plate with vegetables and lean proteins, leaving less room for higher-calorie side dishes.

Focus on Protein & Fiber

When making your plate, start with protein and fiber-rich foods like grilled chicken or fish, leafy greens, beans, and vegetables. These nutrient-dense options will keep you feeling satisfied without overindulging in less nutritious options. When eating, start with the protein, then fiber, before moving on to smaller portions of other foods.

Listen to Your Body

Be mindful of how you feel while eating and stop when you feel satisfied. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register feelings of fullness, so pause halfway through your meal and assess if you truly need more food. If not, save the rest for another meal or enjoy a small portion as a treat.

Take a Post-Dinner Walk

Taking a leisurely walk after dinner is a great way to support your health goals. Not only does it aid digestion, but it also helps regulate blood sugar levels after a meal. Consistent post-dinner walks can add up over time and contribute to overall weight management.

When considering how much weight you want to lose or how to maintain your weight loss, it’s important to balance both diet and exercise. While making healthier food choices and controlling portions are crucial, incorporating regular physical activity can amplify your results.

Talk To Your Atlanta Bariatrics Dietitian

As you navigate the enjoyable and sometimes tempting arena of summer cookouts, it's crucial to remember the importance of sticking to a bariatric-friendly diet. Staying committed to healthy summer recipes allows you to enjoy the experience without compromising your health goals.

At Atlanta Bariatrics, we understand the challenges you may face on your bariatric journey, and we're here to support you every step of the way. Reach out to your Atlanta Bariatrics dietitian for more tips, support, and personalized nutritional advice. Let us help you make your summer both enjoyable and healthy.

Ready to feel happier and healthier? Call (770) 232-9252 today to schedule your first consultation with the weight loss surgeons and specialists at  Atlanta Bariatrics. We can’t wait to help you take the first step!

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