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Author:  Cecilia Sanchez MS RDN LD


Do you have trouble being creative with meal options due to your new bariatric lifestyle? You are not the only one! Many people who have had weight loss surgeries (WLS) have difficulty creating and finding recipes to make that fit their new diet, but it does not have to be that hard. A lot of recipes that you grew up with can be adjusted to fit your new lifestyle while still maintaining its flavor.


  • Omit rice from recipes
    • Eat the stir fry without the rice
    • If rice is on the side replace it with some cooked vegetables, even a small baked sweet potato
  • Replace rice that is mixed into the dish with quinoa
    • Quinoa is still a starch but is higher in protein versus rice and is whole grain
    • Use half of what the recipe calls for in rice for quinoa
  • Substitute vegetables in place of pasta and bread
    • Such as zucchini for lasagna and spaghetti noodles, spaghetti squash for spaghetti noodles, cauliflower crust for pizza crusts, lettuce for hamburger buns or bed of greens for taco meat instead of taco shells
  • Try plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
    • This is a perfect substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream – it removes the fat and adds a lot of protein
  • Use sweeteners instead of sugar for dessert recipes
    • Don’t forget that sweeteners are much sweeter per teaspoon than sugar, so adjust as needed, a good rule of thumb is substitute by half
  • Use turkey pepperoni slices in place of chips
    • Microwave turkey pepperoni and substitute it in place of nacho and potato chips – it replaces the high fat starch for a protein source

As you can see, it can be very simple to adjust the recipes you love into something more nutritious for your new lifestyle. Take advantage of bariatric cookbooks and online resources for more options.

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