Time is Money: Time-Saving Tips for Gastric Sleeve Surgery Patients

Some VSG time-savers are obvious: buy packaged snacks, pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, and/or subscribe to a meal-delivery service. They’re all great ideas when you don’t mind spending a bit more money in order to save some precious time. But if you’re looking for additional shortcuts for your vertical sleeve gastrectomy lifestyle, here are a few more that help you ditch the kitchen marathons and enjoy life after your gastric sleeve in Mexico.

Tip #1: Let appliances do the work for you
Find a list of recipes you love that maximize “passive cooking” assistants like slow cookers, air fryers, and instant pots. Simply dropping in ingredients, setting a timer, and then having a meal emerge is pretty close to magic in my opinion.

Tip #2: Plan for leftovers
I know people who refuse to eat leftovers because they’re “boring.” To me, that’s the ultimate waste of time because you usually have to spend very little extra time to, say, cook three pounds of pork as opposed to one. And those leftovers can form the base of lunches or dinners for the next few days. If you turn up your nose at leftovers, rename them “ingredients” in your mind and then rethink how you use them. Making extra protein or veggies doesn’t mean they have to be repeated in the same dish. Tonight’s chicken stir-fry can become tomorrow night’s chicken chili. Today’s turkey-spinach salad lunch can morph into a turkey and spinach frittata. Another idea for those who don’t like the thought of immediate leftovers is to double or triple whatever meal you’re making, and then freeze in single-portion containers for pull-and-thaw ease in the coming weeks or months.

Tip #3: Get it delivered
There’s meal delivery, of course, but I’m talking about the ingredients themselves. When you think about it, trips to the grocery store suck up much of what we think of as “cooking” time—especially those last-minute trips for a forgotten ingredient when you’re in the middle of cooking. These days, you never have to step foot in a grocery store if you don’t want to. Not only are there pick-up options at many, but true time hoarders can have everything delivered right to their doorstep. In most locales, you can even order produce box deliveries (ie: Misfits or Bounty Box) too. If you want to see the meat or feel the produce yourself, at least look into getting pantry staples such as condiments, spices, nuts, low-carb breads, etc. delivered.

Tip #4: Reduce distractions
If you want to get in and get out of the kitchen, that’s nearly impossible with your toddler running around. Wait until the kids are asleep, playing at a friend’s house, or any time when you can devote yourself solely to cutting up chicken rather than refilling sippy cups. And while some people enjoy watching TV while cooking, others get lost in the plot and a 30-minute prep turns into three hours. Same with computer or tablet distractions. If your recipes are stored on your computer, but those open tabs tempt you to scroll Facebook for “just a minute,” print recipes out and put them in a binder.

Tip #5: Pay a helper
Got an older kid who’s saving for a big purchase? Offer to pay them to meal prep for you. It won’t be as expensive as a professional chef, and it will give your child real-world skills he or she can use every day. This arrangement can work with a parent who wants to supplement their retiree income, a neighbor, your stay-at-home BFF, etc. Homemade doesn’t necessarily have to mean homemade by you.

Your time is an invaluable resource, and these tips can help you keep as much of that particular resource as possible while still sticking to your gastric sleeve diet. But if you’re in money-saving mode right now, check out our articles on that subject as well.

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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.