What’s the hardest thing after having gastric sleeve surgery? Getting enough protein. Yep, it’s not a problem keeping portion size small – that’s a mistake I’ve only made on rare occasions. Full + one bite = miserable. I have three small meals a day. But I’m trying to pack 60 grams of protein into a day, and that’s incredibly hard to do. Yes, there are shakes I can drink, but I’m lactose intolerant and I like to chew my food. After a month on liquids postop I literally begged my doctor for celery. She told me I was the bright spot in her day 🙂 Clearly she didn’t realize that if she’d said no I was probably going to take a bite out of her arm.
Thankfully, she freed me up to advance to solid foods. In the months since my idea of a “healthy meal” has changed dramatically. I was raised on the old “food pyramid” most of you may remember – the one with grains at the bottom and oils at the top. I was a cardiac nurse for my entire career, so it was all about fat grams. If you eat less than ten grams of fat a day you’re doing great! (Yeah, not so much.) I love my fresh veggies, and I’ll even break my only-three-meals-a-day rule for garden-fresh tomatoes, asparagus in season, or when broccoli calls to me. But if I don’t get enough protein I will start losing my hair, and that’s pretty motivational.
So without further delay here’s the tuna salad that’s flying out of my fridge faster than Michael and I can make it!
2 cans tuna, drained
4 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
avocado (on the side for the picky eaters)
I seriously can’t even call this a recipe. You don’t need to write it down or print it out. BET: beans, eggs, tuna. Those are the essentials, and anything you add after that is up to you. It can go on a sandwich, in a pita, on a plate with fresh tomatoes. Mayo is not needed to hold this together!
I can’t really even call this a recipe. It’s more like an equation or a rule of thumb. All credit goes to Dianna Kennedy, who was the first to ever introduce me to this idea. It’s been my go-to for salads ever since.
By greens I mean Romaine, or spinach, or even iceberg if you really must (I’m anti-iceberg). Whatever greenery you like, or whatever’s growing in your garden. For fruits I like whatever’s in season: strawberries, blueberries, apple chunks. You can always use canned mandarin oranges if nothing in the produce aisle looks tasty. I like crumbly cheeses, like Feta or Bleu, but you could go with chunks of Gouda, bits of Mozzarella, or whatever’s in the fridge. Nuts are pretty much “anything goes” as far as I’m concerned. If you have a nut allergy get some more protein in there another way: chunks of chicken, grilled tofu, maybe leftover roast beef. I do think it’s important to use a vinaigrette for a little “bite”, but there are dozens of options from savory (balsamic vinaigrette) to sweet (raspberry vinaigrette). I always put a bit of fresh coarse-ground black pepper on mine, too, but I put pepper on everything. I’ll leave that to your judgement 😉
Here’s my very first salad after I was allowed to advance from mushy food to real food after my gastric sleeve surgery. I’d been dying for something crunchy, and this salad was just perfect. I put a picture on Instagram and shared it on Facebook and Twitter and you’d have thought I’d sculpted a masterpiece or something. My first comment was from one of the top dogs at Nerium, who was at a huge conference in Dallas, waiting backstage to be called out and presented with a huge check! They must not have had enough snacks backstage – LOL!
My husband and I both love brats. We usually just steam them, grill them, and them put them on a hot dog bun with our favorite accompaniments. But my husband had a great idea that made this an even easier food to eat on-the-go, since we’re a marching band family and constantly driving back and forth to practice, games, and competition. We have another family we carpool with, and I don’t know how we’d handle it all if we didn’t! Anyway, here’s Michael’s recipe:
1 cylinder of biscuits (10 to a pack)
Heat oven to temp on biscuit package.
Steam brats over beer or water ( I prefer the flavor beer lends) until they plump up.
While brats are steaming roll out biscuits.
But two together to make each brat cover, so that you end up with five somewhat square-shaped thin biscuits.
Spread each square with your favorite condiments. We used spicy mustard and a sprinkling of chopped vidalia onion.
When brats are done, place them at one end of the biscuit square and roll them up, pinching the ends closed when fulled rolled.
Bake until lightly browned (usually about the same time as the biscuit package suggests).
Grab a couple of napkins and run for the car!