Making a Bariatric Diet Okay for the Family
Cooking healthy meals at home can be a great step in moving towards a healthier lifestyle. However, cooking two meals, one for you and one for your family, can be utterly exhausting.
I receive many questions asking whether a bariatric diet is okay for your family to be on.
The answer is yes! With a few modifications, your meal plan can fit the needs of your entire family and will help to significantly decrease stress and time spent in the kitchen.
Lean proteins are a healthy option for everyone!
Meats high in saturated fat increase your risk for heart disease. High fat proteins include: hot dogs, salami, prime rib, 80/20 ground beef, etc. Use turkey products to resemble the items your family ate previously, for example use turkey dogs to replace beef hot dogs – your children won’t even notice!
Non-starchy vegetables carry the most nutrients and are great to incorporate in all diets.
Non-starchy vegetables include:
Artichoke, artichoke hearts, asparagus, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green onions/scallions, greens (collard, kale, mustard or turnip), leeks, mushrooms, olives, okra, onions, peppers (any variety), radishes, salad greens (endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine), sauerkraut, spinach, snow pea pods, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts, watercress, zucchini.
Incorporate one serving of non-starchy vegetables into every meal to increase the nutrients your family is receiving. Try hiding vegetables in meals. I particularly love making mini meatloaves (ground turkey, low-sodium taco seasoning, black beans, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion). Finely chop the vegetables, mix with your protein and top with salsa. Your children will forget they ‘don’t like vegetables’ after this flavor packed dish!
Children need carbs.
Not in excess, but children need carbohydrates for energy. However, carbohydrates can be found in many forms and do not always have to be in the form of starch. For example: Serving fruit with your meal can be a great way to add carbohydrates and essential nutrients to your children’s meals.
Starches can also be acceptable to have in your children’s diet. However, I suggest making a starch that you can also make a mock version of for yourself. For example: brown rice for your children and cauliflower rice for you. This would allow you to make one meal with only one ingredient you have to substitute. Another example includes whole grain pasta for your children and spiralized zucchini noodles for you!
Focus on healthy fluids for the family.
Water is always a great option for everyone. If you are not a fan of water, or want a little extra flavor for your kids while still avoiding the sugar substitutes, try adding fresh fruit to water. Strawberry-lemon infused water is a great option.
Avoid purchasing soda. One soda per day can lead to a 10 lb weight gain. Regardless of calorie needs, consuming sodas does not contribute to a healthy diet and can lead to a very addictive habit.
Changing your lifestyle can be challenging, but instilling healthy eating behavior habits in your children’s lives will impact their weight forever!