REMEMBER: EVERYONE'S PLAN IS DIFFERENT
One of the craziest things to us when researching prior to and post weight-loss surgery was that there is no one plan. They may be similar, and people may follow overall the same guidelines, but we've found each combination of surgery center and dietary guidelines are different. That can be... petrifying. Overwhelming. Frustrating. It doesn't have to be! With a few simple modifications we've found that we can modify most things that we're eating to work for us, even on two drastically different plans. At the time of writing this Allyson and Cortni are between 4-5 months post-op.
Where do you find recipe inspiration?
Allyson: I have always loved to cook and try new recipes and after WLS nothing has changed! I still find myself searching food bloggers recipes and watching social for new inspiration. I love Skinnytaste of course! But also am absolutely loving all of these amazing salads that seem to be viral right now. I have been hungry for savory things, fresh ingredients and flavorful dishes and luckily it totally fits with what my surgeons plan is at the moment.
Cortni: I am also living for Skinnytaste - Gina has been a go-to for me through every way of eating, and her recipes are approachable, easy to modify, and split by various lifestyles on her website. Her instagram is the definition of food inspo and I've never had a bad recipe from her! Other people I love are:
MyBariatricDietician (Megan) on Instagram who posts bariatric-friendly meal options and protein ideas! (Megan is my dietician who I mention on the podcast and I loved working with her)!
BariatricChefboyrd (Sam) on Instagram who posts so many fantastic ideas of what different amounts of protein can look like and is FUN!
TheGuacwardDietician (Haley) on Instagram who has fantastic protein and snack ideas and also a super healthy bariatric mindset!
I also found a great article from Delish about high-protein and low-carb summer recipes that I've been loving as inspo!
How do you plan out meals - or do you?
Allyson: I am also a bit of a creature of habit and like to know I have a routine. It helps ground me and helps me feel like I have control of what I am eating. I always make sure I have my staples in the freezer for days I don't have time to cook. I use Super Cubes to freeze my favorite turkey chili recipe, I buy turkey meatballs and always have shrimp on hand. I try to plan out my meals on Sunday's but honestly not always. With knowing I have staples I can lean on - it really opens up my weeks to allow me to cook on the fly.
Cortni: I start the week with the best intentions. I plan, I prep, I shop, and then I end up with too much food for two people (one eating tiny meals), and I hate food waste. But, I want variety. So it's a balance between buying too much and planning too little to not succeed. It's why I end up eating out often, and am thankful for a city with so many healthy and clean-eating options where I can do so on the dime.
Breakfast is admittedly the hardest meal of the day for both of us. These are the foods we feel least excited about right now, we're not hungry first thing in the morning, and eggs can get old fast.
A: I usually have one of two things. I have a hard boiled egg - I use my trusty Dash Rapid Egg Cooker to make my egg and I put some of my favorite salt from Jacobsen Salt on top of my egg and have one Grillo's Pickle spears along with it. If I want to mix it up I have cottage cheese with a healthy dose of pepper and salt with some blistered cherry tomatoes. Both of these make me super happy and fill me up for my morning meal. Breakfast used to be the hardest meal for me but lately because I know what I like - these have been my go to favorites and I look forward to breakfast.
Skinnytaste Burst Tomato Cottage Cheese Caprese Bowl - such a great alternative to eggs. That bite with a the blistered tomato is heaven.
Deviled eggs with lox and capers and pickle relish
C: I find I need something I can take on the go and potentially even have across an hour or two if meetings span (I am AWFUL at waking up early) the morning. My go-to has been this shake:
Chocolate Protein Shake: 5oz vanilla unsweetened almond milk, 3oz cold brew concentrate (we make), 1 scoop Isopure Low Carb Dutch Chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp no sugar added peanut butter*, 1 tbsp cacao powder, ice. (34g protein, 6 net carbs, 15 fat). *you can sub out PB2 if your body reacts better to it, or you need less fat in a serving
We have a fun TikTok of me making this you can check out!
A: Lunch varies. Sometimes it is left overs from dinner the day before, sometimes its my favorite turkey chili that I have on hand always in the freezer. I like tuna with celery sticks for lunch and meatballs are also a go to lunch favorite.
Skinnytaste Mediterranean Chicken + Chickpea Salad - Chicken, tomato, chicken peas, feta, cucumber, red onion, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper cold salad
Ambitious Kitchen The Best Healthy Turkey Chili made without the corn. I love this meal. I always have a freezer stash of this and it is so satisfying!
Skinnytaste Chickpea Egg Salad
Tuna Salad: sometimes I make a tuna, onion and mayo version with a side of pickle slices and celery. But you can make it fancier with so many options like Skinnytaste’s chickpea tuna too!
C: Lunch needs to be quick for me because I'm often working through it due to time zone differences. I love simple, and also something that I can not think about. Some tried and true favorites and my focus for this week has been:
3 turkey meatballs with Rao’s sauce and Caprese salad (1 slice each of tomato and mozzarella + basil and balsamic drizzle)
Allyson absolutely got me hooked on the Skinnytaste Mediterranean Chicken + Chickpea Salad too! It's so easy and tasty!
My work offers paid lunches Tues-Thurs via a service called Lunch Drop. 5-6 local restaurants are featured daily and then a food runner picks up all the company's orders from each place and brings them to the office. A few options I enjoyed this week were: grilled chicken salad, grilled chicken wrap with buffalo sauce that I added my own light ranch to and ate sans wrap, and protein bowls without the grains or with a few bites of a whole grain. It's so easy and I love the variety!
A: I actually don't snack between meals other than a protein shake and taking sips of pickle juice.
C: I didn't originally snack, and honestly I'm not typically hungry for one (hunger for me at this time is a nauseous feeling or uneasy/queasy stomach). However, after meeting with my dietician about meeting protein goals and making sure I keep my energy and nutrients up, I've started adding an afternoon snack. A few variations:
Hard boiled egg, carrot sticks and hummus
Low-fat string cheese, salt + vinegar pistachios, berries
Apple with PB2
A: I try to mix up dinner as often as I can. I love making chicken kabobs on the grill and lately I have been into using my favorite keto bbq sauce by Lillies to dip them in! Yum! I love marinating chicken and popping that into the airfryer. I love all things Skinnytaste and am usually stalking her site to find food that will work for me.
Skinnytaste Sloppy Joe with turkey and served in a bell pepper Such a great family meal - everyone can eat it and it is a crowd pleaser
Crab legs with cocktail sauce
Shish kabob with tzatziki sauce
Chicken marinated in Franks red hot: 1/2 cup of franks, 2 tablespoon of Flavor God ranch sauce 3 tablespoon olive oil and then air fry
Boiled shrimp in chicken stock with tzatziki sauce and cocktail sauce with boiled mushrooms
Skinnytaste Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore - another meal that is great for myself and my family. I make mine with chicken breast rather than thighs
Cooked by Julie Air Fryer Salmon Bites
C: Dinner is usually based on what sounds good or how I feel. Dinner is also where I make a final push for protein in my day, so it's usually a simple meat and side. Thankfully it's rarely not good grilling weather here, so we grill often:
Taco insides from a local spot (think pulled pork, avacado, fresh cheese, onions)
Scallops on the grill with veggie sides
Crab legs or meat with veggie sides
Fish grilled with veggie sides
A: Watermelon is always a win for me!
C: Grilled peaches are my favorite, especially in the summer! I've been grilling them with nothing on them, and enjoying a half after dinner if I'm craving something sweeter. Loving fresh fruit as an option for true dessert when I want it!
Allyson and Jeff just got me the Ninja Creami for my birthday and I'm super excited to try any and all recipes with that!
We hope we inspired you, and gave you more places to look for ideas, or the confidence to modify things to work for you! Feel welcome to share any favorites in the comments below, we'd love to try them!