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Bariatric survival guide to Adelaide eateries

News | Adelaide Bariatric Centre

4 Sep 2013 2:34 PM

Adelaide restaurents

by Dietitian Nick Wray

The hardest thing about eating well is the social aspect of food. It’s easy to stick to a healthy lifestyle by yourself, but what happens when you have a lunch date or when your friends are all going out for dessert?

Don’t despair: you don’t have to rely on the old faithful plate of salad every time. Even fast food places have delicious options that won’t hurt your progress.

The key is to avoid carb-heavy breads, rice and potato products that fill you with empty carbs and keep you hungry for more. If a meal comes with toast, chips or rice, you should always ask the waiter to swap them for extra veggies.

Most importantly, remember that when eating out, servings are usually far too large for the average person, let alone someone who has had weight loss surgery. If entree sizes are available, choose them, but if not, plan to leave enough on your plate so that you could reasonably take it home for lunch the next day.

Chinatown food court

Asian food can be extremely high in carbs because of the huge servings of rice and wheat-based noodles that tend to accompany dishes. And the fried options are, of course, very high in fat. But if you can learn to set the rice aside, or only eat a small amount, then the huge variety of vegetables used in Asian cooking can be both delicious and nutritious. Remember that Asian restaurants often have extremely large servings, so try sharing or asking for a half size.

  • Clear broths with plenty of vegetables are usually a safe option

  • Avoid too much rice, and choose steamed rather than fried

  • Ask for dumplings steamed, not fried

  • Avoid sugar-filled bubble tea and other sweet drinks like soft drinks and juices

  • Avoid deep-fried options like salt and pepper squid, lemon chicken and crispy skin chicken.

Cafe de Vili’s

It might not seem like a bariatric-friendly venue, but the Vili’s cafe has plenty of healthy items to choose if you can say no to their pastries and pies.

  • Warm chicken salad

  • Marinated chicken

  • Plate of salad

  • Scrambled eggs served without toast (tomato, salmon, mushrooms or baked beans are good alternatives to toast for breakfast meals)


Most of the items in Cibo’s fridge are loaded with empty carbohydrates, even though their sandwiches may seem innocuous. Step away from the sandwiches and pastries and choose the following options to go with your (no sugar added) coffee. You should also remember these rules when visiting breakfast cafes like Nano or East Terrace Continental.

  • Frutta Fresca (fruit salad)

  • Piccolo muesli

  • Vedure Arrosto Insalata (roasted vegetables with quinoa)

Caffe Primo

With its gigantic servings, dining at Caffe Primo can be a painful experience if you’re not careful. The good thing is that one Caffe Primo serving can also provide lunch the following day if you ask for a container to take half home when you leave! You can apply these rules to most Italian restaurants.

  • Chef’s salad

  • Thai beef salad

  • Chicken salad

  • Greek salad

  • Campagnola (pan seared beef) served without chips

  • Funghi (pan seared beef) served without chips

  • Pollo Florence (pan seared chicken) served without chips

  • Pollo Avocado (pan seared chicken) served without chips

  • Chicken Stir Fry


It’s still selling itself as healthy, but the reality is that McDonald’s high-carb wraps aren’t all that nutritious. Your best bet is to avoid the fast food “restaurant”, but if you must, choose the salads. The same goes for Hungry Jack’s and KFC, as long as you cut out any creamy dressings.

  • Garden salad

  • Crispy classic chicken salad


These tips apply to almost every burrito or sandwich joint in Adelaide, including Salsa’s, Burp, Arriba Grill, and even Subway! You can cut nearly 3000kj off a standard burrito by opting for the following:

  • Choose a burrito bowl rather than a wrap or shell (In Subway’s case, opt for a salad over a wrap or sandwich)

  • Say no to rice, cream and cheese

  • Choose verde, smokey BBQ or red chilli sauces rather than the high-fat chipotle or garlic & herb sauces.

IMAGE CREDIT: Erin_everlasting