Shopping while adhering to the bariatric lifestyle can be challenging, yet fun. There is a whole new world of flavors that work for your new life, but it does not come naturally. People fighting morbid obesity don’t step off the operating table knowing how to eat right, it takes patience, an open mind, and putting in the time on our website learning the ropes.  – Alison Garcia, Admin BE Facebook Support Group & 5 year LapBand, at goal!


A few simple guidelines: take a copy of The BE Grocery List – Well Stocked Bariatric Pantry with you, don’t go shopping while hungry or thirsty and you can be sure to leave with the right balance of items in your cart.

Post-op Grocery Shop with Allison!

Always begin in the produce department, so you are making wise decisions while you are just beginning to shop. That way you aren’t feeling rushed or tired at the end of the trip, which can either cause you to skip the produce altogether, or make split decisions that may not be the best option.


On this trip I have picked up ingredients for salads, baby kale, baby spinach, grape tomatoes and cucumbers. I can roast the cauliflower or grate it into ‘rice’ for stir fry. I have asparagus to roast on the same tray as the protein I’ll shop for next, yellow squash and zucchini for ‘noodles’, broccoli to chop, baby sweet peppers to scoop up yogurt dip and mushrooms, scallions, garlic and parsley to add flavor and color. I can’t wait to cook these. I never used to eat vegetables, but bariatric surgery has changed my tastes as I’ve changed my life.


The deli counter has some wonderful options and some not so great choices. Say yes to minimally processed meats and cheeses, say no to creamy mayonnaise filled pasta salads and desserts, that have a ton of empty calories, sugar, and carbs.

Today I say yes to 1/2 pound of deli ham!

The meat department is next. Stock up on lean meats and seafood. If you ask, your friendly meat cutter may cut your steak or chicken into six ounce portions for ease of preparation. Already weighed for you and ready to cook. It’s wonderful to have a variety of protein available in your refrigerator and freezer. Choose a meat and defrost in the fridge to later pan sauté with a green vegetable….voilà! Dinner is served.


On this trip, I’ve chosen three kinds of chicken: boneless breasts, tenders and a really flavorful marinated breast. I have a small sirloin filet, salmon and shrimp.

Try to stay to the outside perimeter of the store, as processed foods full of carbs and sugar tend to hang out in the inner aisles. Make it a point to only go down an aisle if there is something in particular needed, to avoid the siren call of junk food that lies in wait.

Let’s look at a few items you may encounter during your visit. They initially look good, but look again!


Coffee, right? Sounds delicious for Autumn, until you turn over the box and notice the SUGAR, calories, carbs in this. All packed into a Kcup, who knew? Traditional brewed coffee has 2 calories, stick with the sugar free syrups to perk up your beverage. Or even better, mix Inspire protein powder into your coffee for a creamy latte with a great protein boost.


Next up on the Trick List is imitation crabmeat. Granted, the calories are low, but the carbs and sugar in this can be attributed to the fillers and binders they use. Plus, a lot of fat free items have sugar added to them. Spend a few more dollars for a can of the real deal next to the tuna.


Ah, here we have the famous Birds Eye Protein Blends. So many people see the word PROTEIN, their eyes light up and into the cart it goes. The food companies know this too! The Nutrition Facts Labels give the true story of this product. Its so loaded with carbs, it’s not worth the protein you would get from it. There is a hidden sauce that raises the carbs beyond just the good veggie carbs. Grill a piece of chicken in your Foreman Grill with some asparagus! No need to wait for a bag of carbs to puff in your microwave.

A quick run through the Dairy case for my Unsweetened Almond Milk, Coconut Milk coffee creamer, Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt.


This is representative of what should be what’s in your cart. Protein, fresh produce, protein rich items and quality dairy.

You’ll feel amazing, strong and empowered as you check out, secure in the knowledge that you wisely selected items that will help you meet your goals. Plus you be eating really delicious food that’s also healthier for the ones you love.

Try to park as far away from the entrance of the store as possible (provided it is daytime and the lot is safe). Every step counts in being active!


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6 thoughts on “Learn to Post Op Grocery Shop with Alison!

  1. Lisa Medina says:

    Fantastic article! 7 years post-op, struggling with some weight gain. This is a great reminder of what works for successful maintenance!

  2. Shirley Muller says:

    Can you mail to me something that will help me put together a list or a set example of what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks to eat and when I should eat them. I really am having a difficult time with my whole diet planning. Thank you very much. Also I had a gastric bypass done at least 5 years ago. And they tell me I am insulin resistant that confuses me even more. Please help me if possible.

  3. RaeAnn says:

    I track my food daily and am concerned about not getting very much fiber since I am usually full after eating my protein (my doctor wants me to get between 60-70 grams of protein a day, preferably from chicken, fish and lean meats) to get many vegetables in. I am wondering if Thinables crackers are a good choice. A 1 oz packet has 70 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. I am concerned since everything I read advises to stay away from crackers. I am 8 months post op from having gastric bypass surgery. I have lost 125 lbs and want to get in the best habits possible to avoid problems in the future. I appreciate your help!

  4. Angie says:

    These choices are all amazing but… Is this grocery cart just for yourself? Do you have kids? Could someone do a post for bariatric grocery shopping for a larger family with kids? I have to buy way more food than this and I always get them some snacks… I try to pick stuff I don’t eat as well but granola bars etc for school snacks when we run out of fruit are a must… Family of 5 (2 teenage boys and a girl? Would love a larger family geared one 😉

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