Gearing up for the Holidays after Bariatric Surgery

Planning your holiday menu well in advance can help you make it through the holidays without sabotaging your progress after your bariatric surgery.

These healthy family recipes offer a new take on the traditional Thanksgiving.

Click these links for each recipe:
Jerk Roasted Turkey
Whole Grain Herb Dressing
Cranberry Persimmon Sauce
Candied Yams
Winter Greens
Individual Peach Cobblers

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu


When served alone, this turkey yields 8 servings. When served with all the side dishes in this menu, it yields 24 servings.


  • One 10-12 pound turkey
  • 2 cups jerk sauce (store-bought, such as Busha Browne’s, Vernon’s, Walkerswood, etc.)
  • 1 cup margarine spread
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Whole Grain Herb Stuffing (recipe below)


1. Remove giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and blot dry with paper towels. Rub the jerk sauce evenly over and inside of the turkey. (See note.) Place the turkey breast side down inside a 2-gallon, heavy-duty sealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Refrigerate and marinate for 24 to 48 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Position the oven rack near the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the turkey from the plastic bag. Wipe off the jerk sauce inside and out, pat the turkey dry. Season the turkey generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Loosely pack the stuffing into the neck and body cavity. Pull back the skin over the breast and rub some margarine under the skin.

3. Rub the turkey some margarine, and sprinkle with low sodium salt and pepper. Truss the turkey if desired, and put it breast side up in a large roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

4. As turkey cooks, baste frequently, using the remaining margarine and the pan juices. When the skin is a golden brown, cover with foil to prevent over-browning. Roast the turkey until a meat thermometer registers 180ºF in breast meat or 185ºF in thigh meat—approximately 3½ to 4 hours. Remove turkey from the oven and put it on a warmed platter. Cover loosely and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

NOTE: Use salt-free, dry spiced Jamaican Jerk Blend, found in seasoning section of supermarkets. Rub turkey with vegetable oil then dry spice evenly over and inside the turkey.
Calories Per serving (based on 24): 400 calories 400, 23g fat, 7g saturated fat, 166mg cholesterol, 667mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, 0g fiber, 41g protein.


Yields 8 serving


  • 10 cups whole grain bread, crusts removed, cut into cubes (store-bought)
  • 3/4 cup margarine spread
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery, including some leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons ground sage
  • 1½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 cup low-sodium turkey or chicken stock


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the onions and celery. Sauté until tender, but do not brown.

2. Remove from heat and stir in the sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Add to bread cubes. Stir in the eggs. Add the turkey or chicken stock gradually, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is moist but not wet. Spoon the dressing into the turkey cavity and bake as directed, or, into a large buttered baking dish, cover and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until the dressing is browned.

Per serving: 260 calories, 19g fat, 6g saturated fat, 58mg cholesterol, 268mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, 3g fiber, 5g protein.


Yields 2-3 cups


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar substitute
  • 2 ripe persimmons, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)


1. In a large saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar substitute, persimmons, juice and zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar substitute has dissolved. Simmer about 10 minutes, until most of the berries have “popped.”

2. Stir in the ground cloves (optional). Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.

Serves 8. Per serving: 176 calories, 0.2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 9g sugar, 1g protein.


Yields 8 servings

  •  8 medium yams
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rum flavoring
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peel and cut the yams into 8-inch rounds. Boil the yams until tender, about 20 minutes then drain. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until liquid has thickened and reduced. Serve immediately.

Serves 8. Per serving: 282.88 Calories, 0.4g Fat, 0.1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 45.75mg sodium, 66g carbohydrates, 3g sugar, 9g fiber, 4g protein.


Yields 6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or turkey stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3 pounds collard, kale and turnip greens, cleaned and chopped
  • 1½ cups chopped smoked turkey
  • Salt and Freshly ground back pepper to taste


1. In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the oil and garlic until softened. Add the chicken or turkey stock, bay leaves, red pepper, and thyme.

2. Simmer 12 minutes. Add the greens and smoked turkey. Simmer uncovered until the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6. Per serving: 191 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 37mg cholesterol, 712mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 1g sugar, 9g fiber, 20g protein.


Yields 4 servings

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen sliced peaches, thawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar substitute
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons margarine spread
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar substitute
  • Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly spray four ramekins with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with sugar substitute until it dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch.

2. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and equally spoon the peach mixture into the four ramekins.

3. In a medium size bowl, combine the rolled oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, margarine spread, brown sugar and sugar substitute. Sprinkle evenly over peach mixture.

4. Bake uncovered for 30–35 minutes or until peaches are tender and topping is crisp and golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.

Serves 4. Per serving: 271.25 calories, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 6mg cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 17g sugar, 4g fiber, 0g protein.


Nutritional information provided by NewWelness, Inc., Seattle, Wash.

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