Close up of vegan vegetarian take away food for sale

April 23, 2019 - by - in Nutrition

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The goal of any post-op diet for weight loss surgery is to provide the body with the wholesome nourishment it needs to fuel recovery while enhancing weight loss efforts. That usually means opting for healthy, unprocessed foods that pack tons of nutrition into small amounts your new stomach can handle.

But when life gets busy, or you don’t have enough time to prepare healthy snacks and meals at home, it’s important to have a few bariatric-friendly “grab and go” options on hand. With just a few tips and tricks in mind, there are plenty of fast food joints and take away restaurants you can enjoy in moderation. If you’ve recently undergone bariatric surgery, live in the Los Angeles area, and have received the all-clear from your doctor to consume solid foods, try these bariatric-friendly fast food options near you.

bodhi bowl logo

Bodhi Bowl

The Bodhi Bowl is a restaurant owned and operated by vegans, who focus on plant-based food options that feature grain bowls, salads, soups and sandwiches. See their menu on the Bodhi Bowl website.

What to Eat:

  • For protein, focus on black beans, tofu, avocado, and eggs.
  • There’s also a large selection of smoothies, and you can add protein powder and almond milk to increase your protein intake without adding volume.



california chicken cafe logo

California Chicken Café

Named the best rotisserie in Los Angeles by LA Weekly, the California Chicken Café focuses on fresh chicken that’s rotisserie-cooked for the perfect blend of juicy and savory. View the menu on their website.

What to Eat:

  • If you choose the rotisserie chicken, make sure you remove the crispy skin.
  • Other bariatric-friendly menu options include wraps and salads.
  • You can customize your dish with a wide variety of ingredients.



chick-fil-a logo


Not everything on the Chick-Fil-A menu is bariatric-friendly, but this popular drive-thru chicken joint has a few options for a healthy meal in a pinch. Chick-Fil-A’s menu is listed on their website.

What to Eat:

  • For breakfast, try their egg-white grill, fresh fruit cup, or a Greek yogurt parfait.
  • For lunch or dinner, opt for their grilled chicken sandwich, wrap, or grilled nuggets.
  • Try one of their three meal-sized salads, but you’ll need to substitute their high-calorie dressings for healthier options at home.



chipotle logo


Since Chipotle allows patrons to customize the ingredients that go into their meal, it’s a great option for a post-bariatric surgery diet. Just make sure you skip the tortilla and opt for their burrito bowl instead. Chipotle’s ingredients and entree options are listed on their website, along with robust nutritional information.

What to Eat:

  • Ask for a burrito bowl with a lettuce base rather than the standard white or brown rice.
  • Pair that with your choice of chicken or carnitas (tofu), both of which are protein-packed and bariatric friendly.
  • For toppings, you’ll want to skip the sour cream and stick with fresh pico de gallo instead.



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El Pollo Loco

Though not known for their healthy fare, El Pollo Loco dishes actually feature fresh chicken cooked over an open flame. The popular fast food chain also has a 500-calorie and under menu for smaller portion meals. Visit their menu on the El Pollo Loco website.

What to Eat:

  • The chicken black bean bowl, avocado tortilla wrap and chicken taco al carbon are all bariatric-friendly and featured on the low-calorie menu.
  • Swap out your side of beans for bariatric-friendly substitutes including mashed potatoes or a side salad.



everytable logo


This restaurant seeks to do with healthy food what McDonald’s did for the hamburger. Much of what is on the Everytable menu is wholesome, nutritious and bariatric-friendly. Check out the regularly-updated menu on the Everytable website.

What to Eat:

  • Try any one of Everytable’s salads that feature chicken, salmon, black beans, kale, roasted squash, quinoa, and peppers.
  • Grain bowls feature curry chicken, spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs, or teriyaki tofu.



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in n out burger logo

In-n-Out Burger

In-n-Out Burger is best known for their burgers and fries, but their extended “secret” menu features lots of healthier options that are bariatric friendly. See the In ‘n’ Out menu on their website.

What to Eat:

  • Try their protein-style cheeseburger, which has no bun and is wrapped in lettuce.
  • Just about any burger on the In-n-Out menu can come wrapped in lettuce if you ask.



jack in the box logo

Jack in the Box

The majority of the Jack in the Box menu is not bariatric-friendly, but a few recently added options are great protein-rich meals without the wait. Check out the Jack in the Box menu online.

What to Eat:

  • Try the grilled chicken club or the chicken club sandwich, just nix the bacon and go easy on the bread.
  • Try either of their two two salads that feature grilled chicken as the primary protein.
  • Some locations even offer grilled chicken strips.



lemonade logo


Lemonade emphasizes seasonal ingredients in a casual environment, and there’s a huge selection here: salads, bowls, entrees, sandwiches, and “hot dishes,” their homestyle offerings of the day. If you’re vegetarian, good news — Lemonade has plenty of meat-free options, too. Find Lemonade’s seasonal menu online.

What to Eat:

  • Try one of their salad options, which feature rotating ingredients like snap peas, edamame, cauliflower rice, quinoa, fuji apples and farro.
  • Bowls can include salmon, chicken, or ahi tuna — just watch the sauces.
  • Their seasonal menu changes regularly, so don’t be afraid to ask about what new menu options include if you haven’t tried them yet.



mcdonald's logo


The fast food staple isn’t entirely bariatric-friendly, but recently added options feature healthier ingredients and a focus on wholesome nutrition. See McDonald’s full menu on their website.

What to Eat:

  • Try their Southwest grilled chicken salad with cheese (350 calories) or without (290 calories).
  • Their artisan grilled chicken sandwich is tasty and protein-packed, too — just make sure to ask for it without mayo.



subway logo


To better serve customers on selective diets, Subway now offers salads along with their popular sandwich options. You can also select each ingredient you want in your meal, making substitutions much easier. See Subway’s full menu online.

What to Eat:

  • Try the roast beef chopped salad for lots of protein — just make sure to chew thoroughly.
  • The chopped salad features a light and healthy dressing.



sweetgreen logo


Popular LA-based Sweetgreen prioritizes fresh ingredients from growers they know. With a rotating seasonal menu, you’ll always have something new to try. See their current menu online.

What to Eat:

  • Bariatric-friendly bowls include roasted chicken, chickpeas, kale, wild rice, tofu, goat cheese, quinoa, and shredded vegetables.
  • Salads may also include hummus or sesame tofu.



taco bell logo

Taco Bell

Taco Bell certainly shouldn’t be a regular haunt for post-op bariatric patients, but it can be a good option when you’re in a hurry. Their “fresco” menu features plenty of healthier, lighter options for selective diets. See their entire menu online.

What to Eat:

  • Their chicken soft taco is just 170 calories, and includes three simple ingredients: shredded chicken, lettuce and cheese.
  • Add black beans or pico de gallo for an extra kick.
  • On their fresco menu, a chicken soft taco is just 140 calories, a crunchy taco is 140 calories, and a regular soft taco is 160. Just make sure to ask for it “fresco style”.



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Tender Greens

This California-based, chef-led kitchen features seasonal ingredients with a focus on locally-sourced produce. Check out their full downtown LA menu online.  

What to Eat:

  • Try the chef’s special at Tender Greens, which lets you pick one protein (three kinds of chicken, steak, salmon or tuna), one green (baby greens, kale, baby arugula, butter lettuce, romaine hearts and baby spinach), and a side (mashed potatoes or seasonal veggies).
  • All of Tender Green’s salads, sandwiches, bowls and sides are customizable — just ask the waiter.



veggie grill logo

Veggie Grill

As the name suggests, California-based Veggie Grill uses a wide selection of fresh vegetables in their fare. Fresh, lean protein options make for the perfect bariatric-friendly quick eat. With seasonal bowls, salads and sandwiches, you have the ultimate in flexibility here. Check out their full menu online.

What to Eat:

  • For protein, try a grilled chicken sandwich with avocado, a spring farm salad with rosemary chicken and baby kale — just skip the bread.
  • Try the Mediterranean supergreens salad with hummus and falafel.
  • The whole-earth bowl that features lentils, quinoa, grilled tofu, and roasted and grilled veggies, with a ginger miso dressing.



Get Help With Your Weight Loss

Your post-operative diet is an important part of your overall weight loss journey. Check out our weight loss resource center for more tips about what types of fast food you can eat after your weight loss procedure. If you have a question about bariatric surgery or our post-operative support, or would like to schedule a consultation, contact Soma Weight Loss.

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Marisol Avendano

Marisol Avendano is a Registered Nurse (RN) at Soma Weight Loss, where she has worked closely with bariatric surgery patients for over two years. Marisol received her B.S. in Nursing and Public Health from West Coast University in Irvine, California.