As I prepared for surgery I did a lot of research on different foods I can eat during the liquid, pureed and soft diet phases of the post bariatric surgery recovery. Pinterest had a few ideas that were helpful and this cook book is extremely informative: The Complete Bariatric Cookbook and Meal Plan.
If you are new to cooking for yourself and struggle with meal planning and knowing what to cook, I would recommend the Complete Bariatric Cookbook. I’ve definitely drawn on the recipes in this book for inspiration but have also created a few delicious recipes myself that I would like to share!
To start off it’s important to know that everyone tolerates foods and textures differently after surgery. For these recipes you can leave them more whole for the soft diet phase or puree more to tolerate in the early weeks post op. As always make sure you eat slowly (over 30-40 minutes) and avoid drinking 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after. Again, these drinking guidelines are those shared with my by my bariatric dietician – so that’s what I follow- but everyone has a different tolerance.
Pre operatively I did not tolerate dairy very well and I preferred a mostly vegetarian diet. With that I admittedly struggled with protein intake. Post operatively dairy is being tolerated A LOT better (fingers crossed that continues) and I have included chicken into my diet. I am still going to avoid pork and beef – so stay tuned for more vegetarian and poultry recipes.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This recipe I’ve had for breakfast but it would totally work for any meal or snack throughout the day! My bariatric program recommends ONLY poached eggs during the puree phase. Now, I didn’t even like eggs until I was in my early 20’s and then I would really only eat boiled or scrambled. The only time I would eat poached was covered in hollandaise sauce for an Eggs Benedict. With that being said I needed to learn how to make – and like poached eggs.
I did some research on how to poach an egg and I tried 3 different methods:
- Simmering water + vinegar + strained egg
- Simmering water (swirled like a tornado) + vinegar + whole egg
- Simmering water + strained egg (no vinegar)
My favourite method- with the least complications– was to cook the egg in simmering water + 1 tsp of white vinegar. I strained the egg to get rid of whispy whites and dump the strained egg into the simmering water. This creates a beautiful oval poached egg that is easy to remove from the pot without all the whisps. In the non vinegar pot the egg stuck to the bottom, and in the whole egg tornado the egg didn’t come together at all -instead it’s appearance was very dementor like in the pot.
The guac is a mash of avocado with lemon, garlic and salt. I’m avoiding spice at the moment for a couple of reasons. I’m worried how it will be tolerated, and I’m worried it will increase my risk of gastric ulcer (a common side effect post op). In the future I will for sure add some jalapeno or crushed red chili flakes. Don’t forget to put the pit in with leftovers to slow the browning process.
I called this recipe chicken sub on melba because it’s not fully a chicken salad. My favourite condiments on a chicken sub are mayo and regular yellow mustard, so I went with that! This was my first lunch of the puree phase and man oh man was it delicious! Especially after 3 weeks of a liquid diet.
You can get creative with this recipe. Add in your favourite condiments and spices. If you are tracking sugars pay attention to any sauces with more that 8 g of sugar per serving (or per the amount you will use).
This is truly a delicious dish, it tastes exactly like a chicken gyro – or greek chicken meal. I bought a small package of ground chicken and cooked off the whole package at once with garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Once cooled I placed the ‘plain’ ground chicken in an air tight storage container and placed it in the fridge. This allows me to just remove the 1/4 – 1/3 c. of chicken I want per meal and reheat with spices to fit whatever dish I am making.
For this recipe I scooped out 1/3 c. of the ground chicken and reheated in a non-stick pan with a pinch of dried oregano and a pinch of dried parsley. Once heated thorough I added to a small bowl with the tzatziki and tabbouleh. Before eating I took a pretty picture then blended all together to bring down the texture. If you are on the soft diet phase you can just mix together and chew well.
This was another tasty meal that can be made with processed cooked rotisserie chicken OR you can use a scoop of the cooked ground chicken and reheat in a pan with taco seasoning.
I like to use plain yogurt in lieu of sour cream, and the fresh salsa from the deli section of the grocery store. Again, you can keep as is for soft diet or you can blend further to smooth out the texture for pureed.
For this dish I was heavily inspired by the Baked Ricotta dish in The Complete Bariatric Cookbook and Meal Plan. Ricotta is a very common ingredient in the layers of delicious lasagna. In my Mom’s lasanga recipe she uses cottage cheese, so I knew this would be a great substitute for ricotta.
Cottage cheese is high in protein and very versatile. It can be added to a dish to boost creaminess or as a side dish, or eaten on its own for a snack. I added cooked and crumbled beyond meat sausage then topped with a smooth tomato basil sauce, and shredded cheese. The end result- I was eating the lasagna of my childhood – no meatballs or noodles were missed!
Making this dish in a small single serving dish is super convenient when cooking for your self. There is very little prep time and you can have a fresh serving multiple days in a row if desired.
Beyond meat sausage tastes completely like a real pork sausage. The hot Italian flavouring is my personal favourite. When the casing is removed it fries up just like meat sausage and the results is a soft, easy to chew crumble.
Each cooked beyond meat sausage is 2 servings of 1/4 c. each. So with the left over sausage from my lasagna I made a quick supper of sausage, sweet potato and cottage cheese. No real theme or story behind this one, although mixing potatoes with cottage cheese is super nostalgic for me.
For those reading this who are on a weight loss surgery journey I hope you can find some inspiration for your own meal planning. I enjoy cooking and creating new recipes so I will definitely be sharing more meal ideas in the future! I would love to know some of your favourite recipes for the first few weeks post op!