Bariatric Cookery - Recipes, cookery, tips and diet advice for bariatric..
Bariatric Cookery is the UK's first and only dedicated food and free menu recipe and cookery website to help those who have undergone bariatric surgery to achieve long-lasting weight-loss success and health.
Our latest Early Summer 2018 free Bariatric Cookery Newsletter has now gone out to all subscribers and we hope you have safely received yours. If you’re not a subscriber and would care to browse it then click on the link here
In this issue you’ll find some great nurturing recipes for the warmer months – see below for what you can expect.
Plus there are a couple of features on ‘Finding ‘Me’ Time and 5 tips from our guest dietitian ‘For Summertime Success After WLS’
Here’s hoping you like it and finding it inspiring and useful!
Many of you old timers to Bariatric Cookery (and some of you new to the website) will know that I don’t make a fanfare of many products that come my way. Especially if they promise great taste with low calories, low fats, low sugar and ease of use (a very big ask). Coupled with the tease of making great quiches or flans with crusts, crispy and thin pizza bases (without cauliflower!), a fabulously soft wrap, great toasted sandwich, mind-bogglingly good burrito or wonderful pastie or pie, I tend to roll my eyes, give a sceptical shrug and sigh with a ‘been there but haven’t seen that work’ attitude.
Well the lightest, lowest calorie bread (and pastry) alternative I come across that truly does what it says and delivers on it’s promise. It’s a kind of light and soft universal flatbread that contains only healthy fibre and natural protein. It has the convenient taste of bread but with 90% less carbs and more fibre than the healthiest wholemeal loaf. It’s …
only 39 calories per 28 g/1 oz piece
it virtually fat-free with 0.1 g per piece
high in fibre with 9.3 g per piece
incredibly low carb and low sugar with 2.3 g (of which sugars are 0 g) per piece
high in protein for this kind of product at 2.6 g per piece
suitable for vegetarians but not vegans (since it contains egg white powder)
has no yeast
not severe wheat allergy free but certified gluten free
nut and soy free
So what is it made of?
I asked that question and it’s a unique product formulation of fibres and proteins, all of which have been used in food production for years. It has a shelf life of 6 months and comes sealed in packets of two pieces. There aren’t any nasty artificial preservatives in them. The long shelf life comes from a completely natural, but time-consuming (I’m told up to 6 hours), production method that eleminates all pathogens so that no preservatives are required. Each piece measures 22 cm/9 inches in diameter and makes the perfect sized pizza for 1 normal appetite (and about 2 WLS portions depending upon appetite). It can also be frozen if liked.
How can it be used?
I have trialled and tested it by making a number of quiches, pizzas, an egg custard tart, folded over and baked pastie, toasted sandwich and even a kind-of ‘steak and kidney pudding’ where the suet crust was replaced with Lo-Dough, and I have been most impressed. The bread when used straight from the pack is extra light and hasn’t presented any of our usual ‘bread intolerant eaters’ with any problems. You may well be different but even our most tricky taster found they could manage a small piece – which was a revelation to her.
Baking takes it to a new level – in pizzas and quiches it was exceptional – so good to find a great alternative that doesn’t have a time consuming method and makes a very welcome change from the usual tortilla or crustless quiche or base-heavy pizza. It cuts well for portioning (so good for accountable portion control).
I haven’t as yet tried it in a sandwich press or George Foreman type grill (mine were seconded to the storage room a long time ago) but will now be dusted off and put back into action.
I have been showing some of the ways I have been cooking with it on my social media sites – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Where do you get it from?
To date Lo-Dough can only be purchased on-line and delivered to the UK and Europe. Free shipping is available if you’re not in a hurry but there is a faster service (Royal Mail 1st Class which is 1-2 days from dispatch) for those who wish to pay extra. For the free shipping you do need to allow 4-6 working days (and up to 10 … mine took that long) for delivery.
European rates depend upon weight so see details on the website here
I tested initially with a 1 packet (2 piece) trial pkt with free delivery (see website for details) but have re-ordered several times since. It’s available as:
I have given 3 of my recipes below for a quiche, a pizza and a sweet custard tart. I intend to expand this repertoire and have a Lo-Dough Recipe Gallery soon.
First out of the traps is a quiche – how welcome this was to have a quiche with a crust that was gorgeous warm and so tasty the following day in the lunchbox cold. The instructions are pretty straightforward and whilst I used bacon, eggs and a little cheese with herbs and tomato (a traditional Quiche Lorraine) you can add other ingredients like roasted vegetables, fish, mushrooms or fridge-clear out items just as you like.
4 cooked bacon medallions or 2 large rashers/slices cooked bacon, chopped
3 medium eggs
125 ml/½ cup reduced-fat crème fraîche, reduced-fat cream or semi-skimmed milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp grated low-fat hard cheese
1 large tomato, sliced
Preheat the oven to 160 C/325 F/gas 3.
Spritz a shallow 20 cm/8 inch quiche or flan tin with low-fat cooking oil or spray and line with a circle of greaseproof paper if liked to ensure easy release.
Take the piece of Lo-Dough and roll out gently between two of the thin pieces of paper found in it’s packet – you are only aiming to flatten the dough a little. Push the dough into the prepared tin evenly, taking care to push it into the corners and to create an upright edge (it may pleat a little in places but this is fine). Arrange the bacon over the base.
Beat the eggs with the crème fraîche, cream or milk then stir in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the bacon, sprinkle with the cheese and top with the sliced tomato. Try to avoid over-filling the quiche – egg sizes and tin depths vary so only use what you need (there may be just a little leftover).
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 25-35 minutes until cooked and set.
Allow to cool slightly before serving hot or warm with salad. If you wish to serve cold then allow to cool then chill until required.
Next up is a pizza. We didn’t think our Bariatric Tortilla Pizza could be bettered in terms of taste and convenience but here’s a new kid on the block that is a winning contender! I have used ham, red onion, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil for mine but again try out your own favourite combos – the basic instructions hold pretty true for most options.
3 tbsp passata or tomato pasta sauce (I used passata flavoured with garlic and basil)
1 x 125 g/4 oz ball reduced fat mozzarella ball, sliced
50 g chopped or torn ham
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
basil sprigs to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4. If you like your pizza base crisper rather than soft and fluffy then spritz a frying pan with low-fat cooking oil, heat, add the Lo-Dough and cook for about 20-30 seconds on each side. Check frequently because it does brown and crisp very quickly.
Place the Lo-Dough on a non-stick baking tray and top with the passata or tomato sauce spreading to the very edges. Top with the mozzarella, onion and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked to your liking.
Serve hot, cut into wedges garnished with basil sprigs.
WLS PORTION: ½
CALORIES PER PORTION: 370
CARBOHYDRATE: 12.6 g
The ideal size for 1 normal appetite or halve a pizza for a WLS portion
Finally I wanted to try Lo-Dough as a sweet alternative and opted to make a Egg Custard Tart – a bit like my Vanilla Egg Custards (in ‘Return to Slender Cookbook’ Bk 1 – ideal for the soft/Amber stage of eating). This would be a good alternative to have something with just a little more texture to eat a little further out. It was very, very good and all the better for serving with some soft berry or poached fruit. See it below and at the top of the page.
100 ml/½ cup semi-skimmed or other milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
2 tbsp granulated sweetener (I used Truvia)
1 tsp vanilla extract
about ½ tsp grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/ gas 4.
Spritz a 20 cm/8 inch shallow pie tin with low-fat cooking spray or mist and add the piece of Lo-Dough, pressing in around the sides and base to fit. Top with one of the sheets/discs of paper from the packet (or a piece of greaseproof paper or foil if preferred) and weight down with baking beans. If you don’t have cooking beans then use a smaller round metal tin or several pieces of metal and ovenproof cutlery to weigh down the Lo-Dough and help to hold its shape. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the beans or other items used. You will be left with a well-shaped tartlet shell.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the yogurt, milk, sweetener and vanilla until smooth. Pour the mixture over the Lo-Dough and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook until the custard is lightly set. This may take from 10-25 minutes depending upon the temperature of the ingredients added (chilled taking longer than room temperature), the depth of the tin, and how your oven performs. If the crust starts to brown too much then cover with the foil again until the custard filling is cooked to your liking.
Allow to cool before serving cut into wedges.
WLS PORTION: ½-1
V suitable for Vegetarians
CALORIES PER PORTION: 95
For the future:
I now intend to try Lo-Dough as …
‘soldiers’ to serve with a boiled egg
a kind of pork pie
a cracker bread or pâté and spreads
the wrapping for sausage rolls
a bread and butter pudding
in a dessert like tiramisu instead of sponge
a mug cake in the microwave or oven
Other ideas we have tried and that gave impressive results from the Lo-Dough website:
Over the weekend I decided to trial making some ‘fake’ taco shells using my Parmesan cheese crisp recipe (see original here) and what a success they turned out to be!
Not difficult to make, I used the original recipe but made the discs a bit larger, cooked as previously and then after cooling a little, draped them over a wooden spoon to make the taco shell type shape – easy peasy. Several people made them and also declared them a resounding success for the Bank Holiday weekend food fest. I filled mine with lettuce, avocado, tomato salsa, some spicy cooked chicken but left out the traditional cheese since I thought it might be over-kill with the strong tasting cheese shell. I am told that you can use other milder cheeses but they may not turn out as crisp – I wanted the crunch!
One devotee suggested that they would make a great taco salad bowl and I have to agree so I have tried out the idea today – and what a joy! This time I used the same recipe and instructions but made the round of cheese larger and used my 1 cup portion, cook and serve measuring cup (see here) as the mould to drape the warm Parmesan crisp over so that it drapes and folds to make a basket or ‘bowl’ to fill with traditional taco fare. Make as large or as small as you like – mini ones are great for appetisers or small appetites and a large one would make a great family or buffet table centre piece. My one cup size was ideal for a regular portion or large WLS one but adjust to suit your own needs and appetite.
Now when it comes to filling your taco ‘bowl’ then you can choose your own family or dietary favourite. Include lettuce or greens, beans, tomatoes, salsa, onions, taco meat, cheese, avocado, dressing and, of course, coriander/cilantro in the proportions you like. I filled mine without beans, but used lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, tomato salsa, spicy taco meat, avocado and just a sprinkling of grated cheese, topped with chopped coriander/cilantro. It was enjoyed by all and of course the beauty is that you can eat the ‘bowl’ or shell too – so less washing up – a win win in my book!
Tuscan Salmon on plate with bariatric portion control cutlery (details click here)
I know of many post-op patients who now follow a low-carb or ketogenic regime of eating. Some of the evidence for such a way of eating is compelling but for the most part I simply follow a bariatric regime – I don’t like to demonise any food group. That said, on occasions, especially when excess carbs start to creep back into my diet I have a few days off to try and regulate things. I personally find carbs quite addictive and what starts out as a few well-chosen ones easily becomes a regular poor habit. I also know that they have little to do with whether I feel hungry or not – like many, I just like their taste!
So for a few days at least I focus more on protein and healthy fats (and by that I mean cutting out trans-fats). This doesn’t mean a plate of hard-boiled eggs with a slice of ham and something akin to deprivation. As you can see here it means juicy protein with a delicious sauce and something that looks more treat-like.
This is a pan-fried salmon dish I made last night with tomatoes, herbs and spinach with a creamy sauce. I used creme fraiche for my sauce but you can use ordinary cream or cream cheese and if you don’t want to go full-keto then I guess a quark, Greek yogurt or reduced fat cream would work as well. I have given stats for how I cooked it so they will differ if you substitute the creme fraiche for another option. If you’re a bit fat phobic then look away!
It’s a dish that can be on the table in under 20 minutes and cooked in just one pan – my kind of food and so one I will make again. I served with a crisp green dressed salad but it wasn’t necessary. A good dish to enjoy this Bank Holiday or sunny weekend …
2 tsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 salmon fillets (about 100g/4 oz each)
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
large handful baby spinach leaves
250 ml/1 cup crème fraîche or double/heavy cream (see substitutions above)
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and basil
Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan. Season the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes, depending upon thickness, turning once, until almost cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the butter to the pan juices with the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes to soften. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the crème fraîche, Parmesan, herbs and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.
Return the salmon to the pan and cook over a gentle heat until it is fully cooked, about 2-3 minutes.
Serve the salmon with the sauce, some of it spooned over the top.
GUEST POST: This month we found ourselves talking a lot less about food with our patients, and more about the importance of shifting one’s expectations or frame of reference after WLS to be happy.
As you likely know, although your body physically undergoes a lot of changes in the months after surgery with relatively little to no effort, it’s the mental changes that require the real work.
You’ll often hear us say, “Your surgeon operated on your stomach, not on your brain!”
Can you relate?
We could list so many examples and I’m sure you could too, but the bottom line is that breaking up with diet culture and your old habits is hard!
Embracing the mindsets listed in our blog post is the true key to fully embracing your WLS journey and making peace with food once and for all.
We’re sure it’s not news to you that shifting from a dieting mentality to one of flexibility and moderation after WLS is an important transition to feel truly at peace with food.
But making the shift out of a dieters world is HARD!
Most of our patients can acknowledge that the 5 points listed below are true, but their broken and complicated relationships with food and their bodies are holding them back from fully internalizing these mindsets.
When you are able to yield to these truths, food becomes way less overwhelming, and simply falls into place.
So here they are…
1. My weight does not determine my success nor worth.
“If you accept your personal best at everything else in life, why not weight?” – Yoni Freedhoff
Isn’t that SUCH a good quote?
Is your WLS team happy with your progress, but you aren’t? Why are you still pushing for and obsessing over those next 10 lbs? Reflect on why you feel that you must lose those extra pounds and what will happen if you don’t?
2. I acknowledge that a healthy lifestyle (i.e. eating healthy most of the time and moving my body often) is a part-time job. Some weeks it doesn’t feel like work, but often it does.
It is important to accept that doing well after WLS is not an accident. You have to make the time for your new habits.
3. I see meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking as acts of self-care.
This mindset shift is HUGE. Embracing this shift requires practicing gratitude. For example, this means being able to acknowledge that although you may not enjoy cooking, you are thankful to have food to put on the table. Or, as another example, maybe you don’t enjoy meal planning, but you can acknowledge how much smoother getting organized on the weekend makes your week flow.
Try viewing these chores from a place of gratitude this week, and watch how much lighter they all of sudden feel.
4. I move my body because it feels good and helps me to re-charge. I don’t exercise to control my weight.
If you are exercising solely for the purpose of controlling your weight, it is only a matter of time before you burn yourself out.
Moving your body should come from a place of self-care. The activities that you choose should be enjoyable and energizing. They shouldn’t feel forced.
5. I am not on a diet. I eat foods that I enjoy. I practice moderation and flexible eating to the best of my ability.
All foods fit.
If you feel restricted, if you’re counting your calories daily, if you’re always hungry, or if you often feel guilty or ashamed about your food choices, you are going to burn yourself out!
If you have dieted for most of your life, you likely have a lot of baggage in this department to work through. For many of our patients, it takes years to work through this mindset shift, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
So, how many of these mindset shifts have you fully embraced? Which ones are still a struggle? Where do you feel stuck?
Try posting these 5 mindset shifts up in your office or home to keep them top of mind as you go about your day. Envision and journal about what it would feel like and look like to embrace all of them.
Click HERE for a FREE printable of these 5 mindset shifts!
If you need help working through these shifts, speak with your WLS dietitian or psychologist.
Wishing you all much happiness in your WLS journey!
GUEST POST: Constipation is a common complaint after bariatric surgery. The combination of a high protein diet lacking in fiber, poor water intake, and inactivity is a recipe to feel “backed-up”
Many practitioners recommend laxatives such as Miralax or fiber supplement such as Benefiber to help keep things moving. Others suggest stool softeners such as Dulcolax to help give you relief. Besides fiber supplements and laxatives recommended by your health professional, is there anything else you can do?
The best place to start is to look at what you are eating and drinking.
Fibers from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains are known to help with bowel regularity. The general recommendation is to eat between 25-35 grams of fiber daily. But after bariatric surgery (especially in the beginning) it is almost impossible to get this much. What should you do?
With the help of a dietitian, look over the food that you typically eat in a day. Are there any areas that you can sneak in extra fiber?
Some clients tell me their high fiber protein bars are “a must” to keep them regular. Others add spinach to their protein drinks. If your pouch permits, I suggest aiming for at least 5 g of fiber at each meal and 2-3 g during snacks.
Protein is very important after surgery, but if you are meeting your surgeon’s requirements, then more is not always better. Protein does not make you constipated but it takes up “room” in your stomach that could be used for high fiber foods such as vegetables. If you have a string cheese for a snack but have already met your protein goals for the day, then this is a missed opportunity to get your fiber in with carrot sticks and hummus.
If you are including fiber throughout the day but not drinking enough fluids then this is also a recipe for disaster. In fact, you could become even more constipated with a high fiber diet and not adequate fluids! Crazy, right?
During digestion water is drawn into your small intestines. If you have fiber in your diet then the fibers soak up this water like a sponge, which gives you softer stool. But if you do not have enough water then your stools become hard and pellet-like as your body tries to absorb the water back from your food in your large intestine.
After working with bariatric clients over the years, I know it is hard to drink enough water. Some people need to drink every 20 minutes to get their water in, while others use a large water bottle with ounces listed to keep them motivated to drink throughout the day. Work with your dietitian or talk to with others who have undergone weight loss surgery to discover what tricks will work for you.
Prior to surgery you may have used caffeine to help your bowels move in the morning (coffee, anyone?) but many programs advise against caffeine after surgery. Instead try a warm glass of water with lemon in it. A warm drink in the morning may be just the trick to stimulate your bowels.
Besides what you eat and drink, activity is important to help keep your bowels moving. When you engage in exercise, your intestines contract and relax more, which creates wave like movements and propels your food through your intestines faster. This faster rate gives your body less time to absorb the water from your undigested food and hence you have softer, more frequent stools.
Viola! Easy right?
Fiber. Water. Exercise.
Yeah right! I know these things are hard to get in right after bariatric surgery.
If the prescription of fiber, water and exercise are not working for you, consider the following options with your surgeon’s team approval.
Magnesium citrate has been shown to be helpful in relieving constipation. It helps to relax the bowels and pull water into your intestines. It is usually safe and effective but please consult your surgeon for dose recommendations.
Epsom Salt Bath
An epsom salt bath is an option for those who are having a difficult time eating or drinking and can’t imagine taking one more pill to help them with constipation. The magnesium in epsom salts is absorbed through your skin and may give you relief.
Senna is an herb and is often used as stool softener in a capsule form but you can also drink it as a tea. While it is effective it can interact with medications and not recommended to use long-term. Try drinking a cup at night before bed.
Certain strains of probiotics have been shown to be helpful in relieving constipation, but research is still limited. According to Consumer Labs, Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis have been shown to be effective against constipation.
Constipation after bariatric surgery can be painful and frustrating. But give your body time to adjust to the surgery. Keep communication open with your surgeon team about what you are struggling with and what options will work best for you.
Feature courtesy of Kristin Willard. Kristin is a Registered Dietitian who teaches bariatric patients how to eat healthy and maintain their weight after surgery. Join her Free Facebook Group to get recipes ideas and nutrition info while she creates her website, BariatricWholeLiving.com.
Sometimes it’s good to revisit some recipes and this one, for a Weetabix Cake, is worth the return. It featured in our free Bariatric Newsletter back in 2011 but didn’t appear on the website. It’s a recipe that came from my cherished Bariatric Buddy Tom and we tinkered with it to reduce the sugar and make it more bariatric-friendly. I made a couple at the weekend for an Open Day and slices were so popular I decided to make another for home and office eating again today. I have therefore opted to use if for my blog here today so that some of you won’t miss out!
Try it – it’s great plain, with butter and also toasted. It stores well (if there are slices left) …
I’ve met many a WLS patient who claims to have trouble tolerating bread but can manage a small wholemeal wrap or pitta pocket. Light on carbs and fats they are often the modern and versatile way to enjoy high protein fillings for those with a busy lifestyle or who need to take a packed lunch into work each day. They travel well and provide good nutrition away from home if you choose the right filling.
Ideally choose wholemeal wraps or pittas for added fibre and low-carb versions if you can find them (look out for our review of a new brand to us very soon). Failing that then look for those with added multi-grains for texture and flavour as well as nutrition and stuff with a high protein mixture flavoured with just a little sauce or dressing. I often use a salsa instead of mayo which can reduce the calories and fat considerably.
My latest fave filling is a feel-good Chicken Caesar option to which I add sweet ripe black grapes. It’s tricky to give you some hard and fast rules on quantities since your wrap size will maybe differ from mine but I can suggest the following:
use sliced or torn cooked chicken without skin if you’re watching the fat content – I usually aim for 25-50g/1-2 oz depending upon what else is going to be in the wrap
add some healthy fats perhaps in the form of a little sliced avocado or use yogurt (a high protein one perhaps) as part of the dressing mix
add additional flavour in the form of snipped herbs (I like to add chives) or a little dusting of Parmesan cheese
hold together with a flavoursome dressing too – for this idea I use a low-fat Caesar dressing but sometimes mix my own with a little low-fat mayo, yogurt and seasonings. You’ll only need about 2 tbsp to mix your filling together but make more since it’s a dressing that is so very versatile for other things
add some crunch with lettuce leaves, celery, peppers, onion, cucumber or chopped spring onions/scallions
some fruitiness and nuttiness doesn’t go amiss – I have added black grapes to my basic chicken, salad leaves, tomato and Caesar dressing mix (with a dusting of Parmesan) but you could add some sliced apple, chopped walnuts or salted almonds
roll tightly and wrap in cling film or greaseproof paper to keep secure for travel and to stop the bread from drying out
GUEST POST: With news this week that coffee shops are set to outstrip pubs, should we be worried? I think so.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hankering after those days of beer sodden carpets, sticky tables laden with glasses and air thick with tobacco smoke! That wasn’t an atmosphere conducive to a long and healthy life!
Now, many pubs paint a different picture. Smoke-free, family-friendly and more of an emphasis on home-cooked food than pickled eggs and pork scratchings. They are more of a social hub than a drinking den … and with recent government guidelines saying there is no safe limit to alcohol consumption, it’s good that the focus is less on the booze than on a meal with friends. Of course, we can’t get complacent. Wine and beer are getting stronger, containing a higher percentage of alcohol than they used to. And wine-glasses are more likely to be bucket-sized than the small glasses we used 20 years ago. So, we can end up drinking more than we should, if we don’t watch out.
But in my opinion you need to walk into a coffee shop with your eyes open too. In my 15 years as a weight loss surgeon I saw people come through the door miserable with their weight and battling with life-threatening health conditions but carrying a syrup laden latte which they have just picked up from the coffee outlet within our very hospital (don’t even get me started on that one).
The specialty coffees, laden with sugar-syrups and topped with whipped cream can contain a quarter of our recommended calorie intake which won’t help the nations bulging waistline. And almost invariably, the barista will try to tempt you with a muffin or other super-sized snack to go with it …. adding several hundred calories more. Portion control doesn’t seem to be a priority in these places and yet it only takes a couple of hundred extra calories a day to add up to several pounds more on the scales at the end of a year. And the sugar content of many of these various hot drinks and cakes exceeds the daily recommendations of 6 teaspoons or 24g of added sugar per day. We now know that sugar provides calories without nutrients and is increasingly recognised as contributing to health problems from type 2 diabetes to tooth decay.
What about the caffeine? Well, actually, several studies show that caffeine can be good for us. It can increase mental alertness, improve sports performance and may even help protect us against diseases like type 2 diabetes and fatty liver. But in excess of course, it can increase anxiety and tremors. Plus, it can reduce sleep if taken after lunch – and we are struggling to reach the recommended 7-8 hours anyway.
The maximum caffeine intake we should have is around 400mg per day and just one super-size coffee can pretty much hit that max.
Feature courtesy of Dr Sally Norton. NHS Weight Loss Consultant Surgeon. Health Expert & Writer. www.vavistalife.com
These days any dishes I make in the Bariatric Cookery kitchen have to work hard for their living! It’s often not enough to just be a tasty accompaniment but also frequently need to be stand-alone dishes too. Many of us just don’t have the time to cook from scratch every day and so mix and match dishes are the way forward – the ones that can be eaten as a dish in themselves; mixed up with others to make a new meal; re-purposed as leftovers; or chill and keep or freeze well for ‘another time’ eating.
This dish ticks all the boxes – I made it today to go with some roast chicken but it will also make a great meal in itself (and a vegetarian option too). I would also be happy to serve this cold as part of a buffet spread and know any leftovers can be used in a bake or popped in the freezer for another meal.
And what’s more it isn’t time-intensive to make – I have even cut down the preparation by using a sachet of ready-cooked lentils (puy and green in a tomatoey mix) so it can be on the table in under 30 minutes.
200 g/7 oz pack or 3 Romano mixed colour peppers/capsicums
low-fat cooking spray or mist
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 leek, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
4 sun-dried tomatoes, snipped into pieces
250 g/8 oz pack ready-cooked lentils (I used Merchant Gourmet Tomatoey French puy and green lentils)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6.
Halve the peppers/capsicums lengthwise through their stalks. Remove the seeds and spritz on all sides with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Place on a baking tray or ovenproof dish, season well and roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, generously spritz a pan with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Heat, add the leek, garlic and thyme and cook gently for about 10 minutes until soft and golden.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes and lentils and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and parsley, mixing well.
Spoon the mixture into the peppers/capsicums and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Serve hot, warm or cold with a green salad if liked. For a higher protein offering top with crumbled feta, goat’s cheese or grated Parmesan before putting back in the oven for the final 5 minutes cooking.