It’s New Year’s Eve, and typically this means partying the night away, watching fireworks, counting down the acorn drop and, of course, eating FOOD — crunchy, salty, warm, cheesy, sweet, spicy, cool and delicious food.
This year, however, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, most New Year’s Eve gatherings are limited to those in your household or quarantine social circle, making good food front and center. So to kick off your celebrations the right way, we asked WakeMed Clinical Dietitian, Kristin Clowes RD LDN for some tips to help weight loss (bariatric) surgery warriors navigate the carbonated and carb-infested festivities without feeling left out.
Best Options for New Year’s Eve Appetizers
Kristin says, “As a bariatric patient, it’s important to keep lean protein and high fiber, vegetable-based appetizers and small meals on hand. Whether you are hosting or attending a small gathering — this ensures there’s a bariatric-friendly option available for you that is also tasty for friends and family! Also, it’s wise to travel with rescue proteins that don’t require refrigeration — nuts/seeds, lean jerky, protein bars/shakes, roasted beans, etc. Work with your Dietitian to develop a list of on-the-go, bariatric-friendly options for the busy season.”
Appetizers enjoyed for New Year’s Eve can also encourage good choices going into the new year. You’ll want to make yummy snack foods for a healthy, nutritious and very delicious new year. Healthy options can be just as satisfying as junk food while layering in the added benefit of a healthier brain and body, radiating in glowing skin and desirable weight loss.
Good, Healthy Eats for the Whole Year
Kristin says, “Use this time to set yourself up for success in 2021! For example, if spending more time at home, try rotating bariatric-friendly recipes into weekly lunches, get that Tupperware cabinet organized or start a physical activity routine using virtual resources. Batch cooking, one to two recipes per week that are lean protein and vegetable rich can reduce stress of meal preparation during the hectic week days. Small changes towards a healthier you now will carve the path for health and wellness in the new year. Remember — baby steps are steps!”
After surgery, your goal is always protein first. With limited real estate in the stomach, it is important to start by getting the good in. With that in mind, below, Kristin has included a few patient-favorite, bariatric-friendly, batch-cooking recipes.
Batch Cook for the Entire Week — Kristin’s Recommendations
Sample These Recipes Any Day of the Week
Chocolate Ricotta Mousse
If you’re longing for the comfort of smooth and creamy cheese and chocolate, look no further than this recipe.
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or to taste)
- 1 packet sweetener (Truvia, Stevia, etc.)
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- Scoop measured ricotta into a bowl.
- Add cocoa powder slowly, tasting as you go until you reach desired chocolate flavor.
- Add sweetener and vanilla extract. Stir and enjoy!
Grab a pretty glass container, fill it with water and try one of the following suggested combinations. Garnish with something festive like a swizzle stick or a sliver of fruit!
- Blueberries and lime
- Strawberries and basil
- Cucumber, lemons and orange
- Raspberries and mint
- Blackberries and mint
For non-bariatric patients, these combos are great for mocktails utilizing club soda, lemon-lime soda or ginger ale.
Tuna & White Bean Spread
This is a fantastic recipe for patients who have successfully completed the Semi-Solid phase and are in the Soft Foods phase.
- 5 oz. tuna canned in water, drained
- 16 oz canned white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- garlic and salt to taste
- In a blender or food processor with the knife blade attached, blend tuna, beans, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley until smooth
- Add garlic and salt to taste
- Serve with cucumber wheels or other veggies for a baritastic treat!
Healthy Spinach Dip
- 1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
- 1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled, squeezed dry
- 1 can (8oz.) water chestnuts, drained & chopped (optional)
- 20 oz. of plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup reduced fat or fat free mayo
- 3 green onions, chopped (optional)
- Mix all the ingredients
- Refrigerate for until set
- Serve with your favorite veggies as well as assorted crackers and bread for a crowd pleaser!
Registered Dietitian (RD) Approved Perfect Pimento Cheese
- 2 cups grated reduced fat cheddar
- 4 ounces non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 4 ounces pimientos
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Dash of hot sauce (optional)
- Gently fold together all ingredients
- Refrigerate until set, and you’re done!
- Serve with cucumber slices, carrot sticks, celery and other veggies.
We recommend grating your own cheese and not use pre-shredded.
Yummy RD Approved Deviled Eggs
- 6 large hard-boiled eggs
- 1/3 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (up to 1/2 cup depending on the thickness of the yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (without seeds)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika plus more for garnish
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Cut each egg in half lengthwise.
- Place the yolks in a small bowl.
- Arrange the egg whites on a serving platter.
- Use a fork to mash the egg yolks.
- Add the Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika and cayenne pepper (optional).
- Mix well, until smooth. If the mixture seems dry, add more Greek yogurt.
- Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites. Place the yolk filling in a piping bag if you want to make your eggs extra fancy!
- Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
- Remove from fridge about 1/2 an hour prior to serving.
This recipe is a great base for additional garnishes like crumbled bacon, olives and assorted hot sauces!
Bite-Size Burger Skewers
- Lean Ground Beef
- Colorful Cocktail Skewers
- Leaf Lettuce
- Grape Tomatoes
- Low Sugar Pickle Slices
- Low Fat Cheese of Choice
- Begin by rolling small (bite-size) meatballs using very lean ground beef.
- Set oven to bake at 400°F and cook meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- While meatballs cook, cut small squares of your cheese, tear small squares of lettuce, and slice your tomatoes.
- Roughly halfway to the desired doneness, top meatballs with cheese to allow melting.
- Gently skewer your burger toppings onto the cocktail stirrers.
- Once burger balls reach the desired doneness, remove from oven, poke onto the bottom of the skewer, and gently slide toppings to rest atop the burger.