By Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri, Medical Director
Cooking healthier meals for you and your family is a powerful step toward a healthier lifestyle for everyone.
Reconnecting during family mealtime takes work in today’s hectic world.
After your bariatric surgery, you may think you can’t enjoy a meal with the family or that you have to eat something completely different. Not true.
Perhaps the bigger challenge is to lessen the importance of the food itself and focus more on improving family communication.
If your family is out of practice, don’t expect a complete 360 degree change the first time you all convene at the table again.
To encourage my own family members to share (yes, I have teenagers), I’ll casually throw out a question and ask each family member to respond:
What was the best part of your day?
If we could go anywhere for vacation, where would you choose?
What will you be doing 10 years from today?
Simplifying Family Mealtime Prep
Cooking two meals, one for you and one for your family, can be exhausting after a busy day.
With a few modifications and portion reduction, your meal plan can fit the needs of your entire family, while decreasing time spent tied to the kitchen.
And at least once a week, our family crockpot is simmering something home-cooked and delicious when my family arrives home (starving) after a long day.
(We also have something called an Instapot, which I haven’t figured out yet…)
Not so long ago, Americans sat down every night to a large portion of red meat with an overflowing side of potatoes or another starchy food. There was possibly a little pile of canned peas and a plate piled high with white bread.
But today, that slab of oversized meat is a rarity, more often than not. It has been replaced with healthier options–fish, chicken, pork or vegetarian–which comprise about 25% of the dinner plate. The starch portion is now fiber and grain-focused, covering another 25% percent of the plate.
Fresh fruit and vegetable options fill the remaining 50% of the plate.
Don’t forget to provide healthy fluids for your family. Soda and other sugar–laden beverages (including juice) are not healthy for anyone.
Water is always the healthiest option. The kids will love it ‘dressed up’ with a little mint, cucumber or a slice of citrus.
Dining Out is Still Family Mealtime
In today’s hectic world, family mealtime may be held in a restaurant.
Thankfully, you don’t have to look too far down the menu to find grilled protein, salads, fruits and soup options. Before you go, look up the restaurant’s menu online and ensure they have some healthy options that work for you.
If they don’t offer healthy dining options, they don’t deserve your business.
Ask Your Sterling Bariatric Dietitian for Guidance
If you are feeling overwhelmed by mealtime cooking, talk with our staff bariatric dietitian Lori Skurbe about your challenges and create a list of menu items and meals to fit your needs and satisfy your family’s nutritional needs as well.
Remember, part of the value of mealtime isn’t just about the food—it’s also about sharing, supporting and reconnecting with family and loved ones.
Adding healthy recipes to your family’s meal repertoire requires some patience.
Don’t be derailed by the initial complaints!
Changing your own nutritional lifestyle can be challenging, but sharing healthy eating habits with your family will inspire them to follow your lead–and very possibly help them to lose weight in the process.
Join the Sterling Surgicare Family
If you are seeking a uniquely supportive surgical practice that specializes in bariatric weight loss solutions, welcome! Our team offers unrivaled support from your first visit until you achieve goal weight. Call our office at (732) 217-3897 to learn more about the bariatric journey or attend our next seminar where I personally explain the process.