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Food/Cooking Tips

Learning how to incorporate healthy foods can help you reach your weight loss goal. Our team will work with you so you understand proper nutrition and have the knowledge to make smart food choices after weight loss surgery. The following tips are helpful guidelines to reduce fat and increase protein, two of the most important nutrition guidelines for proper weight management.

Lowfat Cooking Tips (for semi-solid consistency and low-fat solid foods)top

Learn to read food labels for fat content. Aim for no more than 35 grams of fat per day. If you do not understand food labels, our dietition will teach you.

Meat and Poulty
  • Use the leanest meat
    Beef, top round
    Chicken and turkey breast, no skin (white meat is lower in fat than dark meat)
  • Trim fat off meat
  • Use low fat cooking methods
    Bake, broil, grill, roast, sauté, stir fry (use vegetable spray, broth, water or small amounts of oil)
  • Drain off excess fat after cooking
  • Avoid high fat sauces made with cream, cheese, oil, or butter.
  • Avoid cooking with fatback, butter or bacon.
  • Use cooking methods that require little or no added fat: steam, microwave, bake, and grill.
  • Carefully choose and use low-fat or fat-free salad dressings.
  • Try baked potato with fat-free sour cream or low fat cottage cheese. Then add chives or dill.
  • Add balsamic vinegar, fat-free salad dressing, or lemon juice and herbs.
  • Add vegetables such as green pepper, grated carrots, and fresh tomatoes to spaghetti sauces.
  • Use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray to reduce the calories but give your vegetables a butter flavor.
  • Let cool, then skim fat off the top.
  • Read food labels and make sure they are made with an artificial sweetener or low sugar content.
  • Bake or add SPLENDA® to foods such as baked goods, unsweetened decaffeinated tea, or casseroles to add sweetness without adding sugar.

Modifying Recipes

Look at the ingredients and find the ones high in fat.

  • Is the ingredient necessary? If not, eliminate it.
    Examples: olives, nuts, meat, cheese, oil, salt…
  • Can the ingredient amount be reduced? Try using half the amount called for.
    Examples: meat, cheese, oil, shortening
  • Can a substitute low-fat ingredient be used?
    Examples: Fat-free or light sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, and buttermilk
    Molly McButter® or Butter Buds®, olive or canola oil, skim or 1 percent milk, or broth

Low fat Substitutions

IngredientCaloriesGrams of Fat
Mayonnaise (1 tablespoon)
-use nonfat yogurt
Ground beef (4 ounces)
-use ground turkey breast
Whole egg (1)
-use egg whites (2)
Oil (1 tablespoon)
-use fat-free chicken broth
Whole milk (1 cup)
-use skim milk


Protein is a vital part of a diet. Without protein, our bodies cannot function properly. After bariatric surgery, it is important to eat sufficient protein every day to speed wound healing, preserve your lean body mass, enhance your fat-burning metabolism and minimize hair loss.

What are some suggestions to increase my protein?

  • Add chopped or puréed cooked meats to vegetables, soups or casseroles
  • Blend peanut butter into a yogurt smoothie
  • Add hard-boiled egg to salads or sandwiches
  • Spoon vanilla yogurt over fresh or canned fruit
  • Make a fruit plate with cottage cheese
  • Blend cottage cheese with a little bit of lemon juice and seasonings for a vegetable dip
  • Add powdered milk to soups, hot cereal, sugar-free cocoa or sugar-free pudding
  • Use cottage cheese to stuff pasta shells

What are good sources of protein?

Protein SourceServing SizeGrams per Serving
Lean Meats (chicken, fish, lean beef, lean pork) 1 ounce (3 ounces = size of a deck of cards) 7.0 g
Egg 1 medium egg 7.0 g
Egg Whites 2 tablespoons 9.0 g
Egg Substitute ¼ cup 6.0 g
Low-Fat Cottage Cheese ½ cup 13.0 g
Skim Milk or 1 Percent Milk 1 cup 8.0 g
Non-Fat Milk Powder 1 tablespoon 2.5 g
Low-Fat Yogurt 1 cup 8-12 g
Reduced Fat Cheese 1 ounce 6.0 g
Fat-Free Refried Beans ½ cup cooked 8.0 g
Other Beans: black, pinto, white, garbanzo (chick peas), black-eyed peas, kidney, brown ½ cup cooked 7.5 g
Peanut Butter 2 tablespoons 8.5 g
Lima Beans ½ cup 5.0 g
Nuts ¼ cup (1 ounce) 4.5 g
Oatmeal 1 cup 5 g
Dry Cereal 1 ounce 1-4 g
Noodles or Macaroni (cooked) ½ cup 3-4 g
Rice ½ cup 5.0 g
Bread 1 slice 2 g
Soy Veggie Burger (read label for most accurate information) 1 9.0 g
Tofu 3 ounces 11.0 g
Protein Powders (read label for most accurate information) 1 scoop 20-40 g
Instant Breakfast Drinks (read label for most accurate information) 1 packet 4-15 g
Cooked Vegetables ½ cup 1-2 g