Once upon a time I hated cooking.
Okay, well, maybe I didn’t HATE it, per se.
But I sure as heck didn’t LIKE it.

If I was hungry, I would have rather grabbed a frozen pizza, fried chicken, or my very favorite 3500 calorie frozen meal. Better yet, take me to a taco place and grab me a few (more than four or five, that is) tacos, a burrito, and maybe a supreme chalupa.

Cooking wasn’t something I really wanted to do.
If I DID cook, in all honesty, it consisted of processed mixes, kits, and sauces, for the most part.
There was very little “freshness” in my diet.
Sheesh.
No wonder I was over 300 lbs.

Frozen food was my “go-to”, unless I was on the road, then it was fried chicken livers from my favorite chicken place, or tacos from my favorite burger joint, among other things.

Sure I WANTED to eat healthier, but quite honestly I didn’t really care much. Cooking was time consuming, and I wanted to spend more time cuddling my kids or working on college classes, or watching TV with my husband.

When I DID cook a meal from scratch, it was because it was quick and easy. Complicated stuff just didn’t interest me.

In talking with other people who have had bariatric surgery, I’ve found this is a common problem. And once we get the surgery, we’re still stuck because we don’t cook!

This has really affected how I look at and formulate recipes. I have a few criteria that a recipe needs to meet for me to want to put it on the show:

First and foremost, is it healthy? Does it fit the nutritional and dietary needs of bariatric patients across the board, from Gastric Bypass to Lap-Band and everything in-between? This means, is it low-fat, low-carb (or at least GOOD carb), low-sugar or sugar free?

Second, does it taste good? Let’s face it, we HAVE to eat to live. Not only that, we have a limited amount of food that we can eat. If we don’t enjoy what we’re eating, we’re not going to WANT to eat and that’s as big a problem as eating too much.

Third, can it be cooked or stored in smaller portions? Bonus if I can actually cook it in small ½ cup size portions! Not all bariatric patients have families of 40 to feed at any given moment. Sometimes it’s nice to have a recipe for one or two on the back burner. Especially for me, when I generally am alone at lunch time.

The third criteria is, for me, one of the most important. Whereas my mother loves to do a lot of batch cooking, I find it tedious most of the time and, honestly, I really don’t think I have the time for it! I like to find recipes that take a few minutes to prepare that I can make a tiny portion of. Like my zucchini lasagna or mini-meatloaves. Simple recipes with easy ingredients that you can literally toss together and away-we-go!

Complicated and long recipes have their place, don’t get me wrong. And over the last two years I’ve learned a LOT about cooking from scratch and using fresh and whole ingredients. But it took a lot to get me here. And if it hadn’t been for those quick and simple recipes, I wouldn’t be at this point.

Re-learning how to cook and eat is a huge step in the bariatric weight loss process. Always remember that if you ever need any help in that area we’re there for you! You can visit us on our Facebook Group or shoot us an email at sevenbitesshow@gmail.com!