Food To Fall For In The Autumn Newsletter
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So we've reached the end of September when Autumn officially starts, and with it the perfect excuse to hunker down and cosy up. I absolutely adore this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. From scrunching through newly-fallen leaves on my walk and sitting beside a crackling fire on my return, to cosying up with a reviving cuppa or window-watching soft and gentle rain fall, it's simply perfect!


September I also believe is better than January for new starts. Perhaps that's because the new school year (at least in the UK) always felt like the chance to start or begin all over again. So it seems like the time to find your new place (among your peers?) or to take on new projects and challenges that require your full attention.
For me this often means a return and re-evaluation of my dietary regime after the relaxation of the Summer - does it need a firm hand to get back on track? Do I need to step up the exercise; try a new hobby; mix up my food choices a little? And notably do I need to re-check my portion sizes by using my
Bariatric Portion Plate and Portion, Cook and Serve Measuring Cups
for every meal?
Thankfully in Autumn (after the summer break) I'm less stressed; happy to stay in and read to increase my knowledge by the fireside; scrunch my way through newly-fallen leaves for some simple and non-costly exercise; and cook up a storm with nature's bounty of apples, pears, berries, squashes, nuts and more. Sometimes this means just using food in season to make my usual fail-safe dishes (like poaching pears for a sweet treat rather than poaching peaches).

Plus I'll continue to monitor my social media to find out ways to communicate better with you and make plans for visits, seminars and guest talks at Support Groups near and far.


I hope you'll share with me some of the dishes I've been enjoying over the last couple of weeks and enjoy this much more mellow time...

On The Menu:

Blackberry and Mozzarella Skewers
Pumpkin Pie Shake
Pear Necessities Blue Cheese Salad
Sweet Potato Cottage Pie
Chilli in a Shell
Apple and Blackberry Cake
Berry Bite Tartlets


While you're scrolling through this newsletter why not make yourself an autumnal treat first? This has become my go-to light lunch or light snack this last week. Plump blackberries skewered with reduced-fat mini mozzarella balls, drizzled with just a smidgens of balsamic glaze or vinegar then scattered with just a little torn basil. Try it, you won't be disappointed ...



Little represents Autumn more food wise than Pumpkin Pie, although we tend to save the latter for Thanksgiving. You can however the get the taste experience in a shake with a similar flavour for your protein boost too!



1 scoop (about 30 g/1 oz) vanilla whey protein powder (we used Vanilla Protein Powder from
250 ml/1 cup chilled low-fat nut milk (we used unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (use more if you like a stronger flavour)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
ice cubes
squirt of low-fat cream and sprinkling of chopped nuts to decorate (optional)

1.  Place the protein powder, milk, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and a little ice in a blender or shaker and process to mix.
2.  Pour into a serving glass and top with a squirt of low-fat cream and sprinkle with a few chopped nuts to serve if liked.


WLS PORTION: ½ -1 (depending upon stage post-op eating)
V suitable for Vegetarians


CALORIES PER PORTION (without optional topping): 154
PROTEIN: 22.8g
FAT: 4.6g


This is a lovely salad to eat in the Autumn months when pears are at their
best - firm but tender and ripe - ideal for slicing to serve with crispy salad leaves and nuggets of blue cheese. The lemony dressing is spiked with poppy seeds for visual interest and provides just enough sharpness to counteract with the sweetness of the pears.

200 g/7 oz bag crispy salad leaves of your choice (I like the one with lamb's lettuce, radicchio and chicory in the mixture)
2 ripe but firm dessert pears, quartered, cored and sliced
75 g/3 oz blue cheese, crumbled
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp vegetable or other preferred oil
1 tbsp poppy seeds
small pinch of sugar or sweetener
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Divide the salad leaves between 2 plates or place in a salad bowl. Top with the sliced pear and crumbled blue cheese.
2.  Whisk the lemon zest, juice, oil, poppy seeds, sugar or sweetener and salt and pepper to taste to make a dressing.
3.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss to mix and serve at once.

V suitable for Vegetarians

PROTEIN: 10.1g
FAT: 20.3g


Who doesn't love a cottage pie? Wonderfully comforting and warming on a chilly day ... it has the virtue of being easily prepared well-ahead (and freezes beautifully) for relaxed eating. I have recently been making mine with a sweet potato topping (with lower GI carbs) and love the colour contrast between the dark meaty base and the golden topping. It makes a great one dish family meal but make in small individual dishes if preferred - the size depending upon your appetite and stage of eating after surgery. Sometimes I serve with an additional vegetable like shredded cabbage and occasionally, like here, I top with a slice or two of avocado and a sprinkling of basil for a luxurious touch. 
low-fat cooking spray or mist
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
500 g/1 lb extra-lean minced/ground beef
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
400 g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
100 g/2/3 cup frozen peas
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large sweet potatoes (about 600 g/11/4 lb), peeled and chopped
2-3 tbsp skimmed or low-fat milk
30 g/1 oz light feta cheese, crumbled
sliced avocado and torn basil leaves to top (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4.
2.  Generously spritz a pan with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Heat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the beef and cook, stirring to break up the meat, for 5-8 minutes or until browned.
3.  Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, tomatoes and herbs. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the peas and salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Meanwhile, cook the sweet potato in boiling salted water until just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain, return to the pan, add the milk and mash until smooth.
5.  Spoon the beef mixture into one large baking dish or individual dishes as liked. Top with the sweet potato mixture and sprinkle with the feta. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
6.  Serve topped with slices of avocado and torn basil leaves if liked or with an additional seasonal green vegetable.


CALORIES PER PORTION (without optional avocado topping): 360
PROTEIN: 33.1g
FAT: 7.6g


When the weather turns cooler we always turn to chilli for a fail-safe warming main meal. It's easy to make well ahead, is time and temperature-tolerant, feeds a crowd and is bariatric-friendly. Just lately we've been serving ours in a crisp taco shell instead of with rice (but still with the usual toppings) - that way those who can't tolerate rice don't have to leave theirs; those who want to avoid carbs can eat the filling and ignore the 'container'; and those who like to serve fancy-style have a foodie offering on their plate!

To Make A Crisp Taco Shell:
Heat tortillas until warm - this prevents them from cracking and breaking. Here are 3 ways:
In the oven: wrap stacks of 8 tortillas in foil; place in a 190 C/375 F/gas 5 for 10-15 minutes.
On the hob/stove: turn electric or gas burner on high. Using tongs, slice one tortilla at a time over the burner for a few seconds, alternating sides, until it's softened and beginning to char. Cover tortillas to keep warm.
In the microwave: wrap a stack of 8 tortillas in a barely damp, clean kitchen towel (or paper towel); microwave on Full Power/High for 30-45 seconds.

1.  Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F, gas 7.
2.  Heat tortillas until warm (see above). Coat each side with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Turn a 12-cup muffin or deep bun tin upside down. Nestle a tortilla in the space between 4 cups to form a bowl. Repeat with 4 more tortillas, making 4 bowls in total. Bake until firm and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining 4 tortillas.
For Chilli Recipe Click Here



Apples, pears, berries and nuts lend themselves to baking whether it be in a bread, muffin, cake or tart. One firm favourite at this time of year is to make an apple or pear tart with added blackberries and nuts for crunch and colour. We have a few blackberry bushes near to where I live and whilst I don't go picking basketfuls I can usually pick a small handful on a short walk to satisfy the requirements for this cake. It's good both hot, warm and cold. Serve sliced plain or with custard, yogurt or low-fat ice cream for a treat. 
100 g plain flour/1 cup all-purpose flour
1 heaped tbsp granulated sweetener
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3 tbsp skimmed or low-fat milk
75 g/3 oz low-fat spread or light butter, melted
900 g/2 lb assorted dessert apples, peeled and cut into slices
100 g/1/2 cup blackberries
2 tbsp flaked almonds
low fat cooking spray or mist
sifted icing/confectioners' sugar to decorate (optional)


1.  Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas 6.
2.  Mix the flour with the sweetener, lemon zest and baking powder. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and the milk. Whisk and add the melted spread or light butter.
3.  Add the apple slices to the batter and fold in gently.
4.  Spritz a 23-cm/9-inch loose-bottomed, non-stick cake tin or pan with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Add the apple mixture and sprinkle with the blackberries and flaked almonds. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until well-risen, firm and golden.
5.  Allow to cool slightly before serving dusted with icing or confectioners' sugar if liked. Cut into slices to serve.

V suitable for Vegetarians

FAT: 7.3g


I'm used to requests for just a sweetish bite; something with a great boost in protein; and an emergency filling 'snack' that won't de-rail. This is my latest offering - some great little tartlets that can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and assembled speedily when required. These have been made in shallow tartlet tins but could be made in even smaller 'cocktail' size or bite-sized tartlet tins as liked. They can also be filled with quark or flavoured fat-free or low-fat cream cheese instead of yogurt if preferred. I've used berries to top mine but you can be as inventive as you like ...

150 g/11/2 cups ground almonds
50 g/1/2 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 x 28 g/1 oz scoop vanilla whey protein powder (or your own favourite type and flavour protein powder)
40 g/11/2 oz (about 11 dried dates)
about 4 tbsp water
thick Greek yogurt to fill
berries to top

1.  Place the almonds, coconut, cocoa, protein powder and dates in a food processor and mix until finely chopped and resembling fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add the water a spoonful at a time and process until the mixture just binds together.
2.  Press into the base of 12-16 shallow tartlet tin holes using the fingers and level with the back of a teaspoon to make a tartlet shell. Chill to set. You can speed this up by freezing for about 30 minutes.
3.  To serve, remove the tartlet shells from the tin and place on a plate. Spoon a little yogurt into the shell and top with berries to serve.

MAKES: 12-16

V suitable for Vegetarians

CALORIES PER LARGER SIZE TARTLET (with yogurt and berries): 135
FAT: 10g



As part of my Autumn evaluation I do re-visit and check that I have my bariatric basics firmly in place. For portion control I rely upon and ensure I use my bariatric portion plate and bariatric bento box as often as I can to check I have portion size and proportions well in check. In the kitchen I also use my bariatric portion, cook and serve measuring cups for ingredient measuring, cooking and serving wherever possible. This tactic has probably been the single most valuable tip I have been able to pass on to all new and old-time post-op patients. Have you got yours? Check out the range on

Buy Portion Control Products Here
Photography Credits:
Pumpkin Pie Shake courtesy of
Pear Necessities Blue Cheese Salad courtesy of
Sweet Potato Cottage Pie courtesy of
Berry Bite Tartlets copyright of Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd

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