HO HO HO Merry Christmas. These words elicit so much joy for some and so much fear for others! The people I care for after weight loss surgery are one such group who can suffer the latter. With so many emotions tied into eating habits it’s not hard to see why, as Christmas approaches, I notice the anxiety levels of my clients starting to rise. Regardless of whether you are on a pre-op, fluid, puree, soft moist or normal diet, Christmas day meals can be enjoyed. Here are some tips to help you out.
PLAN- this first thing to do is to plan, especially if other people are preparing your meals on the day. Ask them what meals they plan on serving and offer to bring something along to ease the burden. Simply make the meal you take suitable to your needs so you know you will have something to eat.
SUPPORT PERSON- Being open and honest with those nearest and dearest to you is the best way to manage food intake however, I appreciate this isn’t always an option. You may not feel comfortable discussing your surgery with your 2nd Uncle’s neighbour but having someone supporting you on the day will be a great help.
Can your support person share a meal with you? Can they gather extra serves of texturally appropriate food and swap them for other foods you know you won’t tolerate? If those around you are not aware of your surgery, having a support person means you won’t feel so lonely and they can provide some distraction.
FOCUS ON THE CONCEPT OF SHARING- One of the best parts of eating food is enjoying the process of meal sharing with others. Even though your portions will be small and may not be your usual Christmas meal, focus on the process of eating. Cooking for others, sharing food across a table, eating slowly savouring the flavours and sharing recipes. How does the food feel in your mouth? What flavours can you taste and on what part of your tongue? Are you enjoying the food (No? in which case stop eating and we will leave this concept for another day!)?
FISH- Freshly steamed/grilled/poached fish can be a fantastic option for Christmas day. High in protein, moist enough to be enjoyed for those on a textured modified diet and generally well-tolerated, so it won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable on Christmas Day.
FLUIDS BETWEEN MEALS- I’m not going to lie. THIS. IS. TRICKY. On arrival start with a non-alcoholic drink, SIP SIP SIP. By the time the meal is served 30mins is likely to have lapsed. Having your fluids on arrival will also make it easier to avoid filling up on non-nutritious, low protein snacks. To reduce the risk of drinking and eating at the same time, avoid taking a glass to the table and if one is already set for you, move it away from your place setting. When you’ve finished your meal, check in with the time and make a mental note to re-start fluids in 30mins time. Fluids to avoid include anything carbonated, fruit juice, mocktails and cocktails and do not drink with a straw. Again, plan ahead and take along a drink you can consume and focus on enjoying the social aspect of sharing a drink with others.
There are so many other elements we could cover off, but I hope this can help you out during this holiday and festive season.
Remember, take a deep breath, you’ve got this!
Thanks for reading
A little bit about me
I am an experienced bariatric dietitian and owner of Simply Nutrition Dietitians. I am privileged to be part of Dr James Askew’s weight loss surgery team based out of the Sunshine Coast. As a team, we pride ourselves on creating a safe space for our clients to speak and be heard. We walk alongside you throughout your weight loss journey and guide your post-op care through routine nutritional screens, regular follow-ups, psychology input, helping you to manage your diet throughout the journey and advising on suitable vitamin and mineral supplements. Once you join our team, we are friends for life!
I am passionate about:
Disclaimer: This information is intended as general advice for people who have or intend to under-go weight loss surgery. This information does not replace the individual advice provided by a client’s medical, surgical, psychology or dietetic health care team. If you are requiring individual advice from a dietitian (such as advice on textural upgrades, pathology or vitamin and mineral supplementation), please book in with a dietitian or reach out to us to book an in-person, phone or online consultation.