Christmas Recipes for Gastric Bypass Patients

I had gastric bypass surgery in November of 2008. That first Christmas, I was overwhelmed by all the cookies, candy, cakes and pies that accompany the holiday season. I was only able to eat a couple ounces of food at a time and had been warned that sugary treats would probably make me feel very sick, so I managed to avoid temptation, but it was a struggle.

Now, five years later and maintaining a weight loss of 130 pounds, I’ve developed some strategies for dealing with holiday temptations other than simply white-knuckling it through. I’ve developed some favorite Christmas recipes that are not only safe for me to indulge in, but are actually good for me, and when I’m surrounded by delicious, healthy options, it’s pretty easy to ignore the other stuff. Here are some of my Christmas favorites for gastric bypass patients.

Noodle-less Lasagna

Lasagna might not seem Christmas-y to you, but when I was in high school, I had a couple friends that came from a big traditional Italian family. Every Christmas, their mom would make a traditional Christmas dinner, with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings. She would also make a huge, delicious lasagna. The noodles were made from scratch.

Now, this recipe does not involve making noodles from scratch; it doesn’t involve noodles at all. Instead, it’s a quick and easy dish you can have if you are on a pureed or soft foods diet, but it’s also delicious. This recipe makes one serving and is ready in about a minute.

Ingredients:

�½ cup low fat ricotta cheese
2 tbsp pasta sauce (choose one without chunks of meat or veggies if you’re on a pureed diet)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (real grated cheese, found in the dairy section of the grocery store, not that powdered stuff in a can)

Directions:

In a small microwave-safe dish, layer �¼ cup ricotta cheese, one tablespoon pasta sauce and one tablespoon grated parmesan cheese. Top that with another layer of the ingredients. Microwave 45 seconds or until cheese is melted and noodle-less lasagna is hot.

Baked Acorn Squash

This is a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes and other starchy side dishes. It’s suitable for people on a pureed diet (you don’t actually have to puree it, just mash it well with a fork) but everyone will enjoy it, including your non-op friends and family. One acorn squash will make enough for about six to eight servings, depending on size.

Ingredients:

one acorn squash
1 – 2 tablespoons light margarine, to taste
1 – 2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar, to taste

Directions:

Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Put about half an inch of water in a baking sheet or casserole dish and place the acorn squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet. The water will keep the squash from burning. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the inner flesh of the squash is tender. Scoop out the flesh, mash it a little with a fork, and stir in the margarine and Splenda brown sugar.

Cherry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt

This is a delicious dessert with plenty of protein. It is suitable for people on a soft foods diet as long as you leave out the graham cracker crumbs. It’s a year-round favorite of mine and I’ll tell you a secret – sometimes I eat it for dinner! This recipe makes eight servings of just over Ã?½ cup each. Plan to share it with your non-op friends and family.

Ingredients:

32 oz plain Greek yogurt
one package sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding mix
�¼ cup Splenda (more or less to taste)
one can (15 oz.) no sugar added cherry pie filling
8 – 16 reduced fat graham cracker squares, crumbled

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, cheesecake flavored pudding mix and Splenda. Stir well. Serve topped with no sugar added cherry pie filling and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs.

Spumoni Greek Yogurt

This is another delicious dessert and would be suitable for people on a soft foods diet as long as you leave out the chopped pistachio nuts and sugar free chocolate chips. It’s really good with the nuts and chocolate chips, though. This recipe makes eight servings of just over Ã?½ cup each. Plan to share it with your non-op friends and family.

Ingredients:

32 oz plain Greek yogurt
one package sugar free pistachio flavored pudding mix
�¼ cup Splenda (more or less to taste)
�¼ cup chopped pistachio nuts
�¼ cup sugar free chocolate chips
one can (15 oz.) no sugar added cherry pie filling

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, pistachio flavored pudding mix and Splenda. Stir well. Add chopped pistachio nuts and sugar free chocolate chips and mix well. Serve topped with no sugar added cherry pie filling.

Peppermint Protein Hot Cocoa

This peppermint protein hot cocoa is appropriate for post-ops on a full liquid diet, though it can be enjoyed by anyone at any stage. Just leave off the crushed peppermint candy unless you’re on a regular diet. This recipe only makes one serving but be prepared for friends or family to want one, too! For a tasty hot peppermint mocha protein coffee, omit the sugar free hot cocoa mix and use hot decaf coffee in place of water in the recipe.

Ingredients:

2 oz. milk (skim milk, 2% milk, soy milk or almond milk)
one packet sugar free hot cocoa mix
one scoop chocolate protein powder
one tablespoon sugar free peppermint flavored syrup (available online, in coffee shops like Starbucks, and in the coffee aisle of some grocery stores)
6 oz. hot water
light whipped topping, if desired
one sugar free peppermint candy, crushed, if desired

Directions:

Put the milk, sugar free peppermint flavored syrup and chocolate protein powder in a cup and stir until a smooth paste is formed. Make sure there are no lumps. Put the hot water and sugar free hot cocoa mix in a large mug and stir until hot cocoa mix has completely dissolved. Then slowly stir in the protein powder paste mixture. Stir well. If your drink is not as hot as you’d like, you can then microwave until hot enough. Top with a dollop of whipped topping and crushed peppermint candy, if desired.

Candy Cane Protein Shake

This candy cane protein shake is appropriate for post-ops on a full liquid diet, though it can be enjoyed by anyone at any stage. Just leave out the crushed peppermint candies unless you’re on a regular diet. This recipe only makes one serving but be prepared for friends or family to want one, too!

Ingredients:

one cup milk (skim milk, 2% milk, soy milk or almond milk)
one scoop vanilla protein powder
one tablespoon sugar free peppermint flavored syrup (available online, in coffee shops like Starbucks, and in the coffee aisle of some grocery stores)
3 or 4 ice cubes
light whipped topping
2 sugar free peppermint candies, crushed

Directions:

Put milk, protein powder, peppermint flavored syrup and one of the crushed peppermint candies in a blender and blend well. Add ice cubes and blend again. Top with a dollop of light whipped topping and the other crushed peppermint candy.

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