Bariatric-Friendly Grocery Shopping during COVID

By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD, FASMBS, Medical Director


bariatric friendly grocery shopping during covid-19

Losing weight is difficult. Adding a global pandemic to the journey makes it even more challenging.

For people who have undergone weight loss surgery or are maintaining weight loss, having healthy foods on hand is essential—and admittedly challenging.

The past three months here in New Jersey during COVID_19 have been tumultuous, with stay-at-home orders and ongoing food shortages.

Thankfully, the local food supply chain seems to be finally catching up.

As a bariatric warrior, your goal is to step up to the challenge and strategize how to have the healthy foods and drinks you need to have on hand when you need them.

Whether you choose to shop at the market, use a shop-at-home service or have groceries delivered, your list of bariatric staples should always be on your grocery list.

If you are fortunate to have an extra freezer or refrigerator, use that space and stock up on those essentials you need have on hand.

When buying fresh produce, consider that apples, oranges and pineapples will last longer than grapes and bananas.

Eat the foods that expire more quickly to avoid waste.

Water, protein drinks and other calorie-free beverages that you enjoy should be incorporated into your shopping list as well.

I apologize for my pessimism, but shop with future food shortages in mind–but only if you can maintain freshness so that you aren’t wasting money on spoiled food.

Stock up on pantry staples that have a long shelf life.

If you aren’t big on cooking or feel overwhelmed with grocery shopping, choose items from these three categories, when available, and you’ll be able to follow your nutrition plan with ease:

Meats and Fish


Ground Turkey, Lean Beef (90/10 or leaner), and Pork

Fresh and Frozen Fish

Frozen Cooked, Peeled Shrimp

Tuna (packed in water)

Canned Chicken (packed in water)

Cold Cuts (look for meats with less than 3 grams of fat per oz.)

Eggs and Dairy


Greek Yogurt (less than 14 grams of sugar per serving)

Cottage Cheese (low-fat or fat-free varieties)

Low-Fat Cheeses (Mozzarella, Cheddar, Provolone, and any other favorites)

Milk (skim or 1%) or Soy Milk (“lite” varieties)

Fruits & Veggies

If you must buy canned fruit, choose “No Sugar Added” or “100% juice.” Frozen fruit will also keep longer, but watch for hidden sugar in the ingredients. Shop the sales items first, then fill-in with other essential items:

Onions, Garlic

Peppers, Mushrooms, Tomatoes

Squash, Zucchini

Baby spinach, Carrots, Cukes, Celery, Cabbage

Broccoli, Cauliflower

Apples, Bananas, Summer Fruits

Berries of all kinds and colors

Cherries, Grapes, Melons

Frozen Fruit (Berries, Peaches, Mangoes)

Each of us is facing the challenges of the coronavirus differently. While we cannot control the virus, we can control what we eat, how much water we drink daily and how often we exercise.

With that said, first and foremost, focus on keeping the foods on this list at home when you need them. No matter what challenges you may face, you’ll know your bariatric nutrition is under control.

Stay safe and always feel free to reach out to me at 732-217-3897.