Whether the up-coming Thanksgiving celebration and holiday season is your first post-surgery, or you’ve been here before, you will be wary of the Main Event meal. No one seems to get into a stress about the turkey or other chosen centerpieces but the sides do cause some anxiety. So let’s address those bariatric-friendly sides straight away.
Bariatric-Friendly Side Dishes
No one wants to do without Thanksgiving side dishes (and why should you feel deprived on such a special celebratory day?) but caution, and maybe past experiences, tell you to watch out and heed the warning signs. No one wants to suffer on the day itself nor set in motion an avalanche of ‘couldn’t cares’ that are then hard to shake off and get back on track. This holiday season is a long one…
I don’t believe you need to either ‘throw caution’ completely to the wind nor make hard work of a meal that is supposed, and should, bring an element of joy. Some clever tinkering can do the trick.
You’ll know about some tips to make the meal more bariatric-friendly and there are some basic Thanksgiving ideas here along with a great bariatric-friendly recipe for Pumpkin Pie.
And if you’re looking for some sage advice to make it one of your best-ever Thanksgivings, and moreover gain a little insight and put your best foot forward, then read the practical help suggested here.
However the side dish that seems to cause the most angst is often the stuffing. So let’s take a closer look at bariatric-friendly ways to stuff a turkey straight away.
Bariatric-Friendly Stuffing Update
Most stuffings that bariatric patients have traditionally encountered for Thanksgiving and the holiday season involve bread, sausage or sausagemeat, butter and generous handfuls of sweetened dried fruits. Most of these don’t suit those following a bariatric regime. So what to do?
Well do without seems to be the general consensus or spend hours making a special bread to use as an ingredient.
I think there is another way, and here it is – a stuffing made with ground almonds/almond flour, traditional vegetables, herby seasonings and just a judicious amount of unsweetened cranberries. Held together with an egg mixture that bakes, tastes and moreover looks like a traditional stuffing to take to the table.
I swear no-one will know the difference!
More Bariatric-Friendly Ways to Stuff It
This is a great grain-free and vegetarian stuffing recipe but you can change it according to your preferences.
To keep it vegetarian then why not replace the dried unsweetened cranberries with some chopped dates instead and add a handful of chopped nuts. The top could also be sprinkled with some fresh pomegranate seeds for a festive and seasonal touch. Add a scoop or two of unflavored protein powder if you wish to boost the protein to a higher level.
Meat-eaters might want to have a little cooked crumbled or sliced sausage or bacon in the mixture prior to cooking – it works well. Just don’t go over-board!
This is a wonderfully versatile and time-tolerant dish. It can be prepared well ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days before cooking (the preferred option) or cooked and then reheated just before serving if time and space are limited.
It certainly freezes well, whole or cut into portions when cooked. Store in the freezer for up to about 3 months.
It may not be to everyone’s palate but I also think it’s delicious cold and makes a great dish for the deli table or pot luck style meal.
Portion size will vary enormously and depend upon surgery type, time out of surgery and other individual variations – but don’t eat at the expense of the protein in say the turkey or other roast. Half a normal sized portion is probably the maximum recommended.
Apple, Almond and Herb Home-Style Holiday Stuffing Recipe
- low-fat cooking spray or mist or a little oil
- 500 g/3½ cups chopped onion
- 250 g/2½ cups chopped celery
- 1 medium apple, cored and chopped
- 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 200 g/2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
- 25 g/¼ cup dried unsweetened cranberries (or see variations)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4.
2. Spritz a medium-sized shallow baking dish (mine measured 25 x 18 x 5 cm/10 x 7 x 2 inches) with low-fat cooking spray or mist or grease with a little oil.
3. Generously spritz a non-stick pan with spray, mist or a little oil. Heat, add the onion, celery, apple and herbs and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Lower the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, mix the ground almonds/almond flour with the cranberries in a bowl. Add the cooked onion mixture with the eggs and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
5. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes until the top is tinged golden.
6. Serve warm garnished with a little sliced apple (tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning) and herb sprigs if liked.
WLS PORTION: ½
V suitable for Vegetarians (and also grain free)
CALORIES PER PORTION: 230
Return to Slender by Eating Right with Every Bite,
© Recipe and Image copyright of Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd