Food shopping tips for weight loss surgery patients

5th February 2014

Food shopping tips for weight loss surgery patients

Buy one get one free; buy one get a second for half price; and LOOK! LESS THAN HALF PRICE! Do you ever notice just how grocery shopping is weighted towards us buying extra and thereby enticing us to eat more? Better deals on bigger quantities therefore often means more challenging shopping for smaller households, or for those who just don’t want or need to buy and cook more than is necessary.

Shopping trolley at a supermarket

So how can you as a WLS patient or single diner manage this journey along the food aisles, downsize your shopping and reduce your food waste on a budget? Here are a few food shopping tips for weight loss surgery patients:

  • Sounds obvious but it works … have a plan. Create a meal plan for the week or a few days at a time so that you can shop sensibly. At the very least this will prevent you from over-buying.
  • Within that plan do go ahead and purchase certain items in larger quantities. But when you do buy big, buy wisely. Items like frozen fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken pieces can be stored for months and dipped into when required. Likewise dried items like pasta, rice, pulses and some cereals can prove good investments … just ensure they can be resealed to preserve quality.
  • Take advantage of money-off coupons for those items you regularly buy but beware of those that just tempt you to over-indulge. If temptation does get the better of you just try and make sure they are an item that stores well.
  • Stock up on individually-portioned or single-serving packages. I know we all want to cut back on packaging but this may be the one time you will benefit from a little more. The physical barrier of having to open a second portioned packet of biscuits, crackers or nuts might help you scale back and prevent over indulgence. It will also cut back on food waste.
  • Many items on supermarket shelves are geared to larger households so a bunch of bananas might contain 8 fruits, a stem of tomatoes might contain 6, and a bunch of grapes might satisfy a family of 6. Feel obliged to take only what you need … divide the bananas, pull off a couple of tomatoes from their stem and halve or quarter the bunch of grapes. Obviously this is geared towards fruit and vegetables sold by weight not by package but you get the idea!
  • Shop the salad bar for salad or chopped fruit and vegetables taking just what you need for a salad, stir-fry or main meal recipe. No need to leave the excess quantity of such items to linger in the chiller drawer for days until they wilt and perish, then get thrown in the bin.
  • Likewise shop the meat, fish, bakery and deli counter rather than the food aisles. Ask for a single portion for a hamburger, fish dish or lunch time meal or request that larger quantities are divided and then wrapped individually for the freezer.
  • Cook items like rice, beans and grains well ahead and freeze. Use the whole, larger, better-value package then remove what you require for the immediate meal and freeze the remainder. All store well for up to 3 months and will save you time (and fuel) when cooking the next rice, bean or grain based meal.
  • Scan the discounted or yellow-ticket foods on sale. Many smaller sized items find their way to this shelf and won’t suit those buying for a family … a single, small fillet steak, a tiny salmon fillet or a few slices of cooked meat might mean that you score a big bargain or two!
  • Finally, cook from scratch. That way you know what you’re eating, can tailor quantities to cater for one or two servings and won’t waste the excess food on a ready-meal designed for 4 people or more. Most recipes can be scaled down to two or single size portion size.

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