Soy Foods – Good or Bad?

TofuMany of you have heard of various soy products, but what are they and are they healthy options for after your weight loss surgery? Soy products include edamame, tofu, tempeh and soymilk. You’ll also find soy in various packaged items, like protein bars, veggie burgers, baked goods, cereals, and more. Turn over five packaged foods in your house and check out the ingredients. At least one of those items likely says it contains soy in one form or another. That’s because soy is used for all kinds of reasons beyond nutrition, including adding texture, flavor, protein, etc. It is very versatile and soy is a very inexpensive crop to grow in the USA, so it is used frequently!

Soy products are a great source of protein, fiber and various other nutrients. They are also low in calories, so they can be a big help for weight loss. Soy foods may actually help lower risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and some forms of cancer.

However, there are many myths out there about soy foods that make them sound not so good for you. There are compounds found in soy called isoflavones, which have estrogen-like effects in the body. Because of this, many assume that if men were to eat soy foods, they’d have more estrogen in their bodies and become more “feminine.” This is proven to be untrue by multiple studies. The estrogen-like effects also scare people into thinking it would increase breast cancer risk, but this has also been shown to be a myth. Another myth involves soy foods and isoflavones adversely affecting thyroid function, but there is, in fact, no evidence that soy foods or isoflavones affect thyroid function.

Given all of that information, soy foods are worth working into your diet on occasion. Don’t just assume you don’t like them if you haven’t even tried them before. Try them and you might actually find that you like them!

Eggplant Parmigiana

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIngredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1½ cups of pre made marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 12 basil leaves
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook ground turkey and set aside.
  3. Wash and dry eggplant.
  4. Slice eggplant into 12 even slices, about 1 inch thick.
  5. Place in microwave safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water and cover with paper towel. Microwave for 4 minutes.
  6. Remove from microwave and place on plate lined with paper towel to let dry and cool while you assemble the other ingredients.
  7. In 9 x 11 dish place 6 slices of eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. To each eggplant slice add 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce, 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese, 1 basil leave. Top each eggplant slice with additional six eggplant slices, and repeat layering process.
  9. Sprinkle each stack with 1 heaping tablespoon of whole wheat panko bread crumbs.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown.

Recipe makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 234 Calories, 11 g Total Fat, 70 mg Cholesterol, 462 mg Sodium, 14 g Total Carbohydrate, 5 g Fiber, 6 g Sugar, 21 g Protein.

Recipe adapted from

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Chocolate Fruit Dip (3)Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 packets no sugar added hot chocolate mix


  1. Combine Greek yogurt and hot chocolate mix in a bowl. Stir briskly until mixture is smooth. Enjoy by itself or as a dip for strawberries, grapes or apples.

Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 90 Calories, 1 g Fat, 4 mg Cholesterol, 190 mg Sodium, 12 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fiber, 9 g Sugars, 8 g Protein.

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs (3)Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 6 large basil leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley
  • 1 handful arugula or spinach
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the onion, garlic, herbs, and arugula in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add turkey, salt, and pepper. Mix gently to combine. Form into balls and place on baking sheet at least one inch apart. Drizzle olive oil on top of balls.
  1. Bake in 350°F oven for 25 minutes.

Recipe makes 10 meatballs.

Nutrition Information Per Meatball: 88 Calories, 4 g Total Fat, 28 mg Cholesterol, 249 mg Sodium, 1 g Total Carbohydrate, 0 g Fiber, 0 g Sugar, 11 g Protein.

Recipe modified from

Spaghetti Squash Fritters

Spaghetti Squash Fritters (4)Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 1 (8-oz) package baby spinach
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided


  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Place squash halves, cut sides up, in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on HIGH 20 minutes or until tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands to measure 4 cups.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Place squash and spinach on a clean dish towel; squeeze until barely moist. Coarsely chop squash mixture, and place in a large bowl. Add panko and next 4 ingredients (through baking powder), and toss well to combine. Place egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into squash mixture.
  3. Fill a ¼-cup dry measuring cup with squash mixture. Invert onto work surface; gently pat into a ¾-inch-thick patty. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture, forming 10 patties total. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 ½ teaspoons oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add 5 patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove patties from pan; keep warm. Repeat the procedure with remaining 1 ½ teaspoons oil and squash patties.

Recipe makes 5 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 141 Calories, 5 g Total Fat, 2 mg Cholesterol, 204 mg Sodium, 22 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Dietary Fiber, 1 g Sugar, 6 g Protein.

Inspiration from

Hot Lemon Tea

hot teaThis is a simple recipe for a hot tea that will keep you warm this winter!


  • 1 green tea bag
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Splenda (or other sweetener)
  • Cinnamon stick, if desired

Steep tea bag in boiling hot water for 4-5 minutes. Discard tea bag. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Slowly stir in Splenda, adjusting to your liking. Garnish with cinnamon stick if desired.

Recipe makes one serving.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 26 Calories, 0 g Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 6 mg Sodium, 5 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fiber, 2 g Sugar, 0 g Protein.

Recipe inspired by

Frozen Yogurt Bark

Frozen Yogurt Bark (3)


  • 2 cups fat-free Greek yogurt (plain)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp raisins
  • 5 fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp shredded coconut


  1. Mix the yogurt and honey together until well combined. Add the cranberries and raisins and stir again.
  2. Line a baking tray with foil and pour the yogurt mixture on top. Spread it depending on how thick or thin you want your bark to be. Mine was approx ½ inch thick.
  3. Sprinkle the strawberries, chocolate chips and desiccated coconut on top and place in the freezer for 1 hour or until it is completely frozen.
  4. Remove from the freezer and use a sharp knife to break the bark into pieces. The bark can be stored in the freezer in food bags.

Recipe makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 61 Calories, 0 g Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 27 mg Sodium, 9 g Total Carbohydrate, 0 g Fiber, 8 g Sugar, 6 g Protein.

Recipe from

Karen's Potless Chicken Pie

Karen's Potless Chicken PieIngredients:

  • 4 frozen chicken breast tenderloins
  • ½ bag frozen mixed vegetables (approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 packet chicken/poultry gravy mix (low sodium)
  • 1 cup low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Cooking spray



  1. Place frozen chicken and frozen veggies in the crock-pot on low for 6 hours. Do NOT add any water or juices.
  2. 30 minutes before the crock-pot is finished, preheat oven to 375 degrees and begin stirring your chicken to shred it. Do NOT drain any juices.
  3. Continue stirring until the chicken is finely shredded.
  4. Add packet of chicken/poultry gravy mix. Stir until mixed well. Do NOT add any water.
  5. Use about ½ of your cheese and stir into the chicken/veggie mixture.
  6. Spray your glass pie dish or square casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon the mixture into the glass dish and top with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden.


  1. Thaw chicken and vegetables.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Cut chicken into small pieces and cook in skillet over medium/high heat until cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken from skillet and chop or shred into fine pieces. (tip: place chicken and juices in a Kitchenaid mixer and stir until finely shredded)
  5. Add veggies to skillet cook until the veggies are soft. Do NOT drain any juices
  6. In a mixing bowl, combine your shredded chicken and cooked veggies with the juice from the skillet.
  7. Add packet of poultry gravy mix and stir until mixed well.
  8. Stir in ½ of your shredded cheese.
  9. Spray glass pie baking dish with cooking spray.
  10. Spoon mixture into dish and top with remaining shredded cheese.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Recipe makes 6 servings.

Nutrition  Information Per Serving: 179 Calories, 6 g Total Fat, 27 mg Cholesterol, 697 mg Sodium, 16 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fiber, 0 g Sugar, 13 g Protein.

This recipe was created by one of our own HOAB employees, Karen.

How To Eat

Small BiteHow Do You Eat?  That may seem like a silly question, but how you eat is just about as important as what you eat. In order to have success with weight loss surgery, you must take small bites, eat slowly and chew thoroughly. By eating slowly, you are giving your body time to realize it is getting full, so you will end up eating less. Foods that are not chewed properly can get stuck in the stoma. This can cause pain and vomiting. You should be taking bites about the size of a pencil eraser. It helps if you cut your food into very small bites before you ever start eating. Use baby forks and spoons to help you take very small bites. If you catch yourself eating too fast, set a timer for a minute after every bite, so you cannot swallow your food until after the minute is up. Consider putting your fork down between bites. All foods should be chewed to toothpaste-consistency before you swallow your food so no chunks can get stuck in the stoma.

Another important factor to consider is the consistency of the foods you are eating. You need to choose wisely because tough, stringy or doughy foods are not going to be able to be chewed to toothpaste consistency as easily. You may try cutting these foods into tiny pieces and chewing them extra or you may want to avoid the food altogether. If you cannot chew a food to the appropriate consistency, you are better off spitting it out than trying to choke it down. Set aside 15-30 minutes for each meal, so you are not rushed and can take the time to appropriately chew your food. Avoid distractions while you are eating. Do not do anything else during meal time, so don’t eat while you are driving, watching TV or any other activity. This will help you focus on eating properly, so you do not get foods stuck.

Changing Your Food Environment

GroceriesMaybe you have great plans to eat right, but not everyone around you shares those plans. At work, Cheryl brings candy to share with the office, Joe likes to go out to lunch and your spouse likes to keep ice cream (your weakness!) in the house at all times. There are temptations everywhere and the more temptations you have, the more likely you are to eventually give in to those temptations. We only have so much willpower and when you’re continually bombarded with temptations, it’s only a matter of time before you may give in to temptation!

What are you supposed to do? Change your food environment! Make it as easy as possible on yourself to make the healthy choices and avoid the unhealthy ones. Are you tempted by the Starbucks on your way to work? Drive a different way to work so you don’t have to see it. Are you tempted by the snacks on Cheryl’s desk? Ask her to put them away so you don’t have to see them or, if you’re not comfortable with asking her to do that, try avoiding her desk. Joe wants to go out to eat, but you know that dining out you are almost guaranteeing that you will consume more calories than you should. If it’s just about getting out of the office for a while, try bringing your lunch and having it picnic style at a nearby park. You have control over what you’re consuming and you still get to clear your head and de-stress from the work environment.

You’re tired at the end of the day. Fast food or a frozen pizza sure sounds like a quick, easy dinner so you can get straight to relaxing for the evening. Well, of course you know these aren’t the healthiest choices. Keep some pre-cooked chicken at home for evenings like this or freeze leftovers from previous nights, so all you have to do is pop the food in the microwave for a few minutes and your dinner is ready. Plan ahead and throw dinner in the slow cooker before you leave the house for the day. By doing this, you’ll have a healthy dinner ready to go and you don’t even have to put forth much effort to have it. Steamer bags of vegetables are quick and easy additions to the meal as well. By keeping your refrigerator and freezer stocked with these items, you are more likely to make the healthy choice.

Make a list of your personal temptation foods or temptation situations. Then, write an action plan for how you’re going to lessen the temptation. By putting this in writing, it makes it a little more official and you’re more likely to stick with it. Hang it up on the fridge or somewhere that you see it on a daily basis so you are constantly reminded to make the best choices. If you need more suggestions on how to improve your food environment, contact our office.

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