Thanksgiving Bariatric Recipes

Thanksgiving Bariatric Recipes

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Looking for Thanksgiving Bariatric Recipes for your holiday table this year? Here are some options for you. Yes, even if you are in the pureed or soft stage. 

The important thing to remember is to continue to follow the Bariatric Meal Prep Method. Aim for 3-4 oz protein per meal, ⅓-½ cup vegetable and 2-4 tablespoons of carb like fruit or starch. Keeping to these portions will help you eat a variety of the options on the table while still utilizing your “tool!” 

If you’re less than 1 year after surgery, it’s very possible you’re not at these portions yet. That’s okay. Continue to focus on protein first and be picky about what you want your sides to be. 


Appetizers tend to be the first item served at Thanksgiving festivities. Many times they’re high calorie foods like spinach dip, onion dip, or cheese foods. While delicious, if eaten too close to the main course they can spoil your appetite. Since your stomach size is smaller after surgery it may be too much to enjoy appetizers, main course and dessert. For this reason I tend to suggest skipping the appetizers to improve your comfort level.

However, if you’re hungry during appetizers or dinner is still not for two or three hours then it’s okay to eat a small amount to hold you over. Enjoy a small portioned out plate and continue to be mindful of your fullness cues. If you feel tempted by the food items even though you know you’re not hungry consider socializing in a different room if possible.

Turkey Veggie Platter

Veggie Turkey Platter

How cute is this Turkey Veggie Platter from Amy Gorin Nutrition? This dish is sure to draw attention from all the guests and gives you something to enjoy during appetizers. You could include the veggies from this dish and an ounce of cheese for a satisfying appetizer. This dish would be for those in the regular diet stage. 

Main dish

The main dish is likely going to be your protein choice. Aim for 3-4 oz of protein on your plate. If you recently had surgery you may need to measure this out but if you had surgery awhile ago you can likely “eyeball” it. It will roughly be the size of a deck of cards. Here are some protein options for your meal.

I included a vegetarian and vegan version as well. Many people cannot tolerate meat early on so I wanted to include some other options. 

Disclaimer: This article is intended to for educational purposes only and not medical advice. Please refer to your surgeon’s guidelines for individual advice and guidance.

Roasted Turkey

Roasted Turkey

This is an obvious choice for your protein option this holiday. Here is a basic turkey recipe from Tastes Better Than Scratch on how to prepare a turkey. You may also want to consider just cooking the turkey breast if you are having a small celebration. However, the leg and dark meat is where you will find more minerals such as zinc and iron. 

Turkey can be an option for those in soft or regular stage after surgery. If in the pureed phase you can blend it with stock to help thin it. It may also taste good blended with cauliflower for more flavor. 

Pumpkin Goat Cheese, Sage Tart in Broccoli Crust

Goat Cheese Tart

Normally I would not consider a cheese tart as a main dish for Thanksgiving. But sometimes after weight loss surgery things change and you may not want a meat dish. This Pumpkin Goat Cheese Sage Tart from Bariatric Cookery could be a good option for you. It may be a little high in fat for those that cannot tolerate a lot of fat but you could substitute lower fat ingredients like skim ricotta cheese. This dish is sure to satisfy a variety of guests. It could also be used as an appetizer.

This dish is an option for those in the soft diet stage or regular stage. There are almonds in it which typically is not allowed for the soft phase but they are ground so I am not too concerned. I would also suggest trying to lower the fat if in the soft diet stage. As always check with your surgeon. 

Vegan Lentil Loaf

Vegan meatloaf on plate

This Vegan Lentil Loaf  from Stacey Homemaker is for my vegan readers but could be enjoyed by everyone. It will be higher in carbs than other main dishes and lower in protein per 3 oz but it’s still a good option. The loaf provides eight slices and each slice is 11 g protein. It is full of flavor and would be tolerated well by those that cannot eat a lot of meat. 


Thanksgiving is all about the sides, right? It’s easy to feel you need to try a little bit of everything. I can’t encourage you enough to be picky. Only choose items you know you like and not because you feel you need to try them to please others. 

Typically there are two types of sides. First, there are vegetables like green beans or brussel sprouts. Second, there are starchy foods like mashed potatoes, stuffing or sweet potato pie. 

Continue to try to follow the bariatric meal prep method as close as possible. Aim for ⅓-½ cup vegetable and 2-4 tablespoons of the starch. You can mix and match the vegetables and starch but still try to aim for these portions. 

Thanksgiving Loaves

Thanksgiving Loaves on Plate

I love these Thanksgiving Loaves from Stacey Mattison because, once again, they are portioned sized. There are 15 g of carbs per loaf which fits in well with the bariatric diet. Plus it still has all the flavor of regular stuffing. This would be a good option for those in the regular phase. 

Roasted Vegetables 

Roasted Vegetables

These Roasted Vegetables from Bariatric Cookery are a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving meal. The recipe utilizes, both, starchy and non-starchy vegetables with a blend of seasonings. Since this recipe counts towards, both your starch and vegetable, your portion size would be about 1/2 cup per meal along with your protein.

Oven Roasted Lemon Garlic Asparagus

Asparagus in Pan

I don’t know about you but I love seeing some greens on the table. This Oven Roasted Lemon Garlic Asparagus from Amy Gorin is easy to make and provides a delicious, healthy option on the table. Including about 3-4 spears would be a nice addition to your dish. 

Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower mash recipes are perfect for those that have not introduced starchy foods into their diet yet. Although many people consider cauliflower mash a mashed potato substitute it’s not a significant carb source.

I would consider this recipe from the The Keto Queens to be counted towards your vegetable. Some recipes have higher fat amounts than others. The one listed above I feel is appropriate for most. However, you know your body best and if you experience dumping with fat then go lighter on the butter. This recipe would work for those in pureed, soft and regular. 

Cranberry Sauce

Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without a little cranberry sauce, right? You have a few different options when it comes to cranberry sauce. You can either go with one that uses a sugar substitute or one that uses less sugar than others.

If someone is less than 6 months after surgery it may be best to go with one that uses a sugar substitute, like this one, to prevent dumping and to limit carbs to make room for other more nutrient dense options. For those that are more than 6 months after surgery, and you tolerate small amounts of sugar fine then a low sugar version like this one from Eat Well Live Well, may be an enjoyable option. The choice is yours. Including a tablespoon on your dish will not derail your progress. 

Roasted Acorn Squash w/ Cranberries, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze

Acorn Goat Cheese Cranberry Recipe

This Roasted Acorn Squash w/ Cranberries, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze from Nutritious Eats looked too delicious to pass up. It has a touch of sweetness and would be considered a starch option. This recipe is sure to please other guests at the table as well. This dish is appropriate for those in the regular diet stage. 

Cauliflower Stuffing

Cauliflower Stuffing

This Cauliflower Stuffing from Delish offers a nice alternative traditional stuffing. This side option would be counted towards the vegetable portion of your plate, yet still provide you with that classic stuffing flavor. You may choose to have this instead of stuffing and eat mashed potatoes as your starch for the meal. If you’re not including starches yet in your meal plan then this dish would be perfect. 

Butternut Squash Soup

High Protein Butternut Squash Soup in bowl

For those of you in the pureed phase, this Butternut Squash Soup recipe from yours truly is for you. You can enjoy a fall favorite without feeling like you are eating “baby food.” Other guests will enjoy this dish as well. I would suggest adding the protein powder only to your bowl and give your guests the soup without the added protein powder. They likely don’t need protein the same way you do. 


It’s fun to have a flavorful drink. While I generally suggest not drinking your calories, including a fun beverage here and there is totally fine. The ones I included on this list are low in calories and one is even high in protein and can be included in your holiday meal plan. 

Low Carb Pumpkin Spice Latte

pumpkin spice latte on table

This Low Carb Pumpkin Spice Latte from Bariatric Meal Prep is a tasty low carb beverage to enjoy this holiday. You could include this as an evening beverage or with your morning breakfast. It uses real pumpkin and a stevia blend for sweetness. 

Protein Hot Chocolate

High Protein Hot Chocolate

Drinking hot chocolate is one of my favorite things to do during the winter season. This High Protein Hot Chocolate from Food Coach Me makes it easy to get your protein goals in too. Plus it’s simple to make. 


Including desserts on Thanksgiving is a personal choice. For those that recently had surgery you may feel you don’t want dessert and it’s okay to honor that. If you had surgery more than six months ago you may feel you want to include dessert. That is okay too.

My recommendation is to wait at least an hour (preferably two) before including dessert. This will give your body time to digest your meal and you may be able to get some activity in like walking or cleaning the kitchen.

It’s also important to listen to your hunger and fullness feelings. If you’re still feeling satisfied from dinner it is okay to save dessert for another time. You could take home a piece of dessert for when you truly want it. 

Ideally, desserts should be low in sugar after weight loss surgery, however, this is not always the case. If you find your options limited continue to focus on smaller portion size and listen to your body. If you experience dumping it is not worth it.

Mini Pumpkin Cakes

MIni Pumpkin Cakes

Pumpkin is a must on Thanksgiving (unless you don’t like it of course). And these Mini Pumpkin Cakes from Delicious and Nutritious Eating are perfect to help with portion control. You can still feel like you are enjoying dessert without having to worry about eating too much. 

Apple and Oat Energy Balls

Apple Oat Energy Balls on plate

These Apple Oat Energy Balls from Bariatric Cookery have all the flavor of Thanksgiving with some added protein. Most energy balls use dried fruit but this recipe utilizes fresh apple which is more likely to prevent dumping.

Roasted Apples with Cinnamon

Roasted Apples in Pan

These Roasted Apples with Cinnamon from Amy Gorin are a great option for anyone looking to have a fruit dessert. The recipe calls for some sugar but you could lessen the amount to fit your needs. I personally think Baked Apples taste great on their own without any added sugar. This dessert would fit well in the soft diet stage, minus the extra sugar. 

No Pie, Pumpkin Pie!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

This crustless, low carb pumpkin pie from Bariatric Eating is an easy and tasty option. The recipe calls for placing it in a ceramic pie dish and baking it. You could also use 2 oz ceramic ramekins to help keep it to the proper portions. This a great option for anyone in the soft or pureed stage after surgery. 

Hopefully these Thanksgiving Bariatric Recipes will be helpful to you as you plan your Thanksgiving this year. 

If you found these ideas helpful please share with others or save it on your Pinterest board for  years to come 🙂

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For the past seven years, I’ve worked with over a thousand pre and post-op patients to help them develop sustainable lifestyles unique to them.