Hop To It - Easter's Almost Here!
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The Easter 2017 Issue

And welcome to the 2017 Easter Issue ... this is seriously my most favourite time of year. I enjoy the preparations more than Christmas; appreciate the 4 day holiday in a more relaxed frame of mind; and use it as a signal to make changes (rather than New Year resolutions).  It's not difficult to feel invigorated when everything around us seems to be bursting into life, the days stretch out longer, and there's a mildness and an increasing warmth in the air.
Of course I love the food on offer too, from new spring vegetables and fruits to those tantalising Easter favourites - eggs, buns and chocolate!

And so it is never difficult to find recipes to write about and recommend but selection is never easy - what to leave out means we have a big debate here. Our prime objective is to bring something for everyone whether you are pre-op or post-op; early stage or 'bariatric old-timer'; and losing steadily, maintaining or struggling with regain.

So we hope we have the balance right this year and those recipes and ideas that didn't make the cut will make it onto the website blog instead.  Likewise tips and advice - which abounds when portion control, temptation and choice come into play, especially at this holiday time of year.

So it's over to you ... why not try out a couple of the recipes and add them to your bariatric repertoire; look at an Easter gift from our range that will last longer and be more useful than a hollow chocolate egg; and consider a few new tactics to help you sail through Easter unscathed and a little bit wiser to face all those new summer beginnings?

Whatever you're doing, enjoy and bank some special memories!


Chocolate Cheesecake Protein Shake
South African Energy Bowl
Retro Prawn Cocktail Salad
Soup with a Skewer
Pink Lady and Chicken Salad with Butternut Bites
Roast Chicken with Prune Stuffing
Black Forest Roulade
Bariatric Chocolate Nests


If you're early post-op then Easter can seem particularly tricky since chocolate often still has an appeal. I found one of the ways to overcome this was to have an indulgent protein milkshake drink flavoured with chocolate during the holidays - it really hit the spot. You can of course also have this long-term post-op and add some low-fat squirty type cream, a drizzle of choc shot or other sugar-free chocolate syrup and a raspberry or two. You'll never feel deprived with this beauty!

Ingredients and Method:
Blend 1 scoop of your favourite chocolate protein powder (I used Chocolate Mousse from with 250 ml/1 cup unsweetened nut milk (I used almond), 2 tbsp ricotta cheese (or Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt) and about 125 ml/1/2 cup ice. Pour into a glass to serve. Top with a little squirty low-fat or light aerosol cream, a drizzle of choc shot or sugar-free chocolate syrup and a raspberry.

V suitable for Vegetarians

PROTEIN: 25.8g
FAT: 4.5g



My daughter is in South Africa at the moment (for a friend's wedding) and has been sending me pics of some of the food she has been enjoying. Here's one that is a perfect energy-boosting light lunch or sharing snack - with chunks of pears and apples, cooked quinoa, avocado, cheese, pomegranate seeds and a few whole almonds, ideal for relaxed Easter holiday eating. Some days a few seedless grapes were added for extra variety. It makes 4 generous-sized 'normal' portions so halve if you just want a couple of WLS-sized ones. The quinoa hasn't been flavoured in any additional way (the fruit adds enough I think) but you could add a little fat-free dressing if liked.

100 g/2/3 cup quinoa (I used red and white but you can use white alone)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 South African Pink Lady apple, cored and sliced
1 South African Packham or William pear, cored and sliced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, stoned, sliced and dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning
100 g/4 oz reduced-fat hard cheese, cut into chunks (I used Red Leicester)
25 g/1/4 cup whole almonds
a few pomegranate seeds

1.  Rinse the quinoa, place in a pan and cover with double the volume of cold water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain, and rinse in cold water to cool quickly and drain again. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper if liked.
2.  Share the quinoa between 4 serving bowls and arrange the apple, pear and avocado slices on top with the cheese and almonds.
3.  Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds to serve.

V suitable for Vegetarians

PROTEIN: 14.1g
FAT: 15.6g


As a child 'Prawn Cocktail' was a real treat, something we had at high days and holidays, like Easter. It is still a default meal for me when I want something high in protein, just the right weight for a light meal, and a weeny bit special. This one has been made bariatric-friendly with a lighter dressing than we had as youngsters and has a dash of smoked paprika to fancy it up a bit. It makes a greater starter too to an Easter celebratory meal. If you like a spicy mix then try adding a little harissa paste.

1/2 Iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp reduced-sugar tomato ketchup/catsup
1 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce (to taste)
200 g/11/3 cups shelled prawns/shrimp
pinch of smoked paprika


1.  Toss the lettuce and parsley together and place 2/3 in the bottom of 2 glass serving dishes.
2.  To make the dressing, mix the tomato ketchup/catsup with the mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Stir in the prawns/shrimp.
3.  Spoon the prawn mixture over the lettuce in the serving dishes and top with the remaining lettuce. Finish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Serve as soon as possible or chill until ready to serve.


PROTEIN: 18.8g
FAT: 1.4g


MEAL IDEA: Soup is a favourite meal with bariatric patients and many rely upon it for a speedy meal; a safe restaurant choice; and something to stash away in the freezer for an emergency meal. It's also great for every stage of eating after surgery - thin and clear at the beginning; thicker but smooth later; textured as time progresses; and finally chunky with discernible pieces.

We keep the protein high if there isn't much in the way of ingredients to give a boost by adding dried milk powder (like Marvel), thick Greek yogurt, unflavoured protein powder or some mashed canned and cooked beans. But why not try adding a bit of interest by serving with a skewer of protein instead. Below you can see a mushroom soup topped with a skewer of prawns/shrimp seasoned with a bit of chilli but you could just as easily have chicken, some vegetable protein pieces, melted cubes of cheese (like halloumi) or char-grilled vegetable mixture on skewers instead.


Mushroom Soup with Chilli Prawn Skewer served in the
Bariatric Portion, Cook and Serve Measuring Cups

Click Here for Bariatric Cup Details


Here's a main course salad that ticks all the boxes for a healthy meal over Easter - it tastes so good - just add sunshine (please!). Replace the butternut squash with sweet potato if preferred but increase the cooking time slightly.
300 g/11 oz prepared butternut squash, cut into bite-sized chunks
low-fat cooking spray or mist
pinch of cumin seeds or chilli flakes (optional)
25 g/1/4 cup whole hazelnuts
80 g/3 oz bag spinach, watercress/arugula and rocket salad
1 South African Pink Lady apple, cored and sliced
225 g/8 oz skinless and boneless roast chicken, torn into pieces
6 tbsp low-fat or fat-free vinaigrette dressing (I used Fat-Free French dressing)
1 tsp Dijon mustard


1.  Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas 6. Put the butternut squash in a roasting pan and spritz generously with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chunks over, sprinkle with the cumin or chilli flakes, if used, and add the hazelnuts. Roast for a further 3-4 minutes.
2.  Share the salad leaves between 2 serving plates. Top with the apple and cooked chicken. Scatter over the cooked and hot butternut squash with walnuts.
3.  Mix the dressing with the mustard and drizzle over the salads to serve.



PROTEIN: 33.2g
FAT: 14.6g



This is a recipe that I tried as part of the 'Prune It' campaign which has been designed to introduce prunes as a way of helping to reduce fat and sugar across a wide range of recipes. I wondered if it would be as good as my traditional sausage meat and apple stuffing for chicken - it is and will make a wonderful  entertaining dish instead of the traditional lamb roast this Easter.

1 x  1.6 kg/generous 3lb roasting chicken 
low-fat cooking oil or mist 
zest of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme 
2 red onions, cut into quarters
3 apples
60g/21/2 oz California Prunes 
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
3-4 tbsp California Prune juice 
6 sage leaves
50g/1/2 cup pistachio nuts, crushed not ground
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
ground nutmeg   

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4.
2.  Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place in a roasting tray/pan. Spritz the bird with low-fat cooking spray or mist, sprinkle with the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
3.  Roughly chop the thyme and sprinkle over the chicken. Surround the chicken with the red onion quarters.
4.  To make the stuffing,  peel, core and roughly chop the apples and place into a mixing bowl. Chop the California Prunes in half and add to the apples along with the garlic, prune juice, sage, nuts and parsley. Season with ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste before stirring together. Spoon the stuffing inside the chicken and if you have any excess filling scatter it around the chicken in the roasting tray/pan.
5. Add about 600 ml/21/2 cups water around the chicken, before roasting in the oven for 11/2 to 2 hours until fully cooked.
6.  When the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and wrap it in foil. Allow the bird to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Make a gravy with the juices, lightly thickened with a little corn flour/corn starch if liked, to serve with the chicken.

SERVES 4 (with leftovers)

CALORIES PER PORTION: about 230 (allowing 100g/4 oz lean meat without skin per portion)
FAT: 7.1g


 Everyone looks for a chocolate dessert centrepiece at the heart of the Easter entertaining menu and a chocolate roulade is a pretty impressive one. This one has all the flavour of the Black Forest but with a healthier twist - the usual cream filling has been replaced with a yogurt and reduced sugar jam/jelly filling. Decorate lavishly with fresh fruit for a stunner!

50 g/1/2 cup plain/all-purpose flour
25 g/1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs
8 tbsp granulated sweetener (I used candarel)
100 ml/4 oz quark or reduced fat ricotta
100 ml/generous 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
6 tbsp reduced sugar black cherry jam/jelly (I used Streamline)
225 g/8 oz seasonal fresh fruit

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 6.
2.  Grease a 32.5 x 23 cm (13 x 9 inch) Swiss roll tin/pan and line with a sheet of non-stick parchment paper. Sift the flour and cocoa onto a plate.
3.  Put the eggs and sweetener into a large bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. With an electric hand mixer, whisk for 5-7 minutes, until the mixture is thick and almost double in volume. Remove from the heat and whisk for a further minute.
4.  Sift the flour mixture over the surface of the mixture and gently fold in with a metal spoon. Turn into the tin/pan, level the surface and bake for 7-9 minutes until cooked but still springy to the fingertips.
5.  Place a doubled over tea towel over the work surface then place a clean sheet of non-stick baking parchment on top. Turn out the cake leaving the lining paper on and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave until cold, about 1 hour.
6.  Uncover the sponge, peel off the lining paper then trim off the edges with a sharp knife.
7.  To make the filling and assemble, mix the quark with the yogurt. Spread the sponge with the jam/jelly then spread evenly with 3/4 of the yogurt mixture. Top with some of the fruit (keeping some for the top). Roll up the sponge enclosing the filling and transfer to a serving plate.
8.  Top with the remaining yogurt mixture and fruit to decorate.

V suitable for Vegetarians

PROTEIN: 10.2g
FAT: 4.5g



These recognisable Easter treats are loved by almost one and all and are so easy to make. I have used 2 protein chocolate bars for my recipe but you can use whatever you like or prefer (look out for the reduced-fat and no-added sugar ones or a dark chocolate high cocoa solids variety if possible). I have also used choc shot but you can use any low-sugar syrup in the recipe and any cereal you like from cornflakes to wholemeal flakes as desired. The same goes for the decoration - tiny chocolate eggs are a favourite but if you don't want to add calories then go for something inedible but equally decorative like a chick or bunny. Stats refer to the ingredients I have used and unadorned nests. The recipe makes 12 mini nests (make 6 larger ones if preferred).

2 x 70g/3 oz high protein chocolate bars (I used My Protein bars)
1 tbsp choc shot or low-sugar chocolate syrup
40 g/    cornflakes or other cereal as liked (I used cornflakes)
chocolate eggs or Easter novelties to decorate

1.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water or in the microwave.
2.  Stir in the choc shot or syrup, mixing well.
3.  Fold in the cornflakes or cereal until well coated.
4.  Spoon equally into a 12-hole mini cake pan and press down in the centre of each to make a hollow to look like a nest. Chill to set.
5.  To serve, top each nest with a chocolate mini egg or Easter novelty.

MAKES: 12 mini nests

V suitable for Vegetarians

FAT: 4.3g


GUEST POST: If you’re watching your weight (or health!) and feel under pressure at occasions such as Easter to indulge in your body weight of chocolate then read on for my top tips on how to cope:

1. Ask for Flowers or GIVE THEM AWAY!
If you are lucky enough to have friends or family who love to buy you chocolate at special occasions then tell them (before you see them), that you’re really trying to be healthy and are avoiding temptation of all kinds. If your lovely friends or family insist on buying you something then there is no harm in suggesting a bunch of flowers (such as daffodils!); then they will feel good having still got you something (so not ‘leaving you out’) and you won’t be faced with the temptation/pressure to eat more chocolate than you would like.
If this tip doesn’t work and you still get given heaps of chocolate and you really don’t want even the temptation then why not do some good and offer your chocolates to a charity/hospital/homeless shelter, the generosity will be much appreciated and you will feel good on two levels!
2.Set a 250 Calorie Limit

If you want to join in with the ‘eating feast’ then why not set yourself an allowance such as 200 calories, which is just over 10% of your daily calorie needs. My advice would be to read the label and become familiar with how many calories are in your chocolate treats and then decided how many calories you’re happy to eat (decide this first!). To put calories into context, the average person after bariatric surgery may consume around 1500 calories a day, which is the same number of calories in one average Easter Egg box!
Remember that dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) has a much more of an intense flavour, meaning that you will feel satisfied with a smaller amount. Dark chocolate also has more antioxidants, which are great for health, as well as less added fat and sugar than milk or white chocolate!

3) Melt & Mix with Fruit

To make your chocolate go that little bit further why not melt some dark chocolate in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and then dip in pieces of melon, strawberries or kiwis (or any fruit for that matter).This way you are on your way to achieving your 5 a day and will feel much fuller (and perhaps more satisfied) after! Tip: Chill the chocolate covered fruit in the fridge for 30 mins to harden the chocolate before eating.

4) Chocolate Fix

If you struggle with temptation and can’t bear the thought of chocolate being in the house (as you could easily demolish them in one sitting) then why not get your chocolate fix another way.. here are some lighter ways to enjoy chocolate, which are all around 100 calories:

Treat Size Chocolate Bar

Light Chocolate Mousse

Cereal Bar with Chocolate

Light Yoghurt with Chocolate Pieces

Cracker with a Chocolate Spread (!) & sliced Strawberry

Hot Chocolate made up with water & splash of Milk


5) Don’t make it a 4 day event!

If you do over-eat, keep your ‘indulgent eating’ to just one day. This means you have something to look forward to and can ‘balance things out’ in the days before and after i.e. eating healthily and avoiding extra treats and perhaps engaging in some light exercise. After all – it is only once or twice a year that such nationwide celebrations take place!



 I hope you find these tips useful and remember.. if you do indulge DON’T WORRY!!!! What’s done is done, just enjoy it and get back on track the next day. We are allowed to occasionally indulge and it’s ok! You won’t gain weight from one day of over-eating. Remember life is about balance; treat foods in moderation are perfectly healthy.



by Nichola Whitehead  a bariatric dietitian at Ramsay Health Care as well as award winning health blogger.



Some cracking great ideas and products to help with keeping things under control over the Easter festivities:
Click Here For Details and to Buy Now

Photography Credits:
Chocolate Cheesecake Protein Shake courtesy of
South African Energy Bowl courtesy of
Retro Prawn Cocktail Salad courtesy of
Soup with a Skewer copyright of
Pink Lady and Chicken Salad with Butternut Bites courtesy of
Roast Chicken with Prune Stuffing courtesy of
Black Forest Roulade courtesy of
Bariatric Chocolate Nests copyright of

Copyright © 2017 Bariatric Cookery, All rights reserved.

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