Meal Prepping 101

Effective Meal Prepping Tips for You and Your Family

  • Choose a week’s worth of meals or “menus” ahead time
  • Make a detailed grocery list
  • Gather and save healthy recipes that you enjoy
  • Invest in good containers to portion out and store food
  • Designate a specific time each week for grocery shopping and meal preparation
  • Aim to include a protein, vegetable, and starch or fruit in each meal
  • Cook meals in bulk to freeze and whip out later in the week
  • Get everyone involved! Assign jobs for the kids like cutting vegetables or washing dishes. Brainstorm meal ideas together!

Benefits of meal prepping:

  • Saves time at the end of a busy day
  • Helps save money when you know exactly what you need at the store
  • Prevents wasting food that goes bad before you are able to cook it
  • Reduces stress on days you haven’t had time to think about what’s for dinner
  • Allows you to think about your meals which can lead to healthier choices
  • Forces you to portion your meals

How to spot(and avoid) fad diets

Happy New Year!

One of the most commonly talked about topics this time of year is weight loss! There are so many bizarre, potentially harmful diets out there that it is important to be able to determine which to avoid. Use these tips to steer yourself away from these popular fad diets promoted by the billion dollar wellness industry.  

…If it claims to result in “rapid weight loss”  

A healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week and anything more than that can be detrimental to the body. Often during these “rapid weight loss diets” you are losing water weight, bone mass, or muscle and not actually losing fat. Any weight lost rapidly tends to be gained back quickly.

…If it uses quantities or limitations

            Avoid anything that allows unlimited amounts of a particular food (ex: Cabbage soup diet)

Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups or macronutrients, such as carbohydrates (ie: Keto Diet). ALL macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) are important and each play a vital role in helping our bodies run efficiently and survive.

…If is uses specific food combinations or specific times

There is no evidence that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of day will help with weight loss. Eating the “wrong” combinations of food doesn’t cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines, as some plans claim.

…If it requires a super strict menu

These diets get boring quickly and are almost impossible to follow which can lead to failure and disappointment. Ask yourself “can I eat this way for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, then the diet is not reasonable.

Know your healthy foods and choose these foods most often. Remember that everything is okay in moderation.

…If it claims that there is no need for exercise

Come on guys… hopefully we are all smart enough to know that regular physical activity is a KEY COMPONENT in weight management and living a healthy lifestyle. The key to success is finding physical activities that you enjoy and aiming for 30-60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.

…If it uses the word “DETOX”

Let me put this plain and simple. There is no such thing as a detox diet or cleanse.

A True Detox Recipe: 1 part Liver, 2 parts Kidneys, add water as needed  🙂

Keep in mind…if it sounds too good to be true…it probably is!

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Be Thankful Be Mindful

Be Thankful, Be Mindful
The average weight gain over the holiday season can range anywhere from 1-10 pounds. It’s all about what you eat AND how you approach the table this holiday season. Here are some tips to consider while trying to keep your healthy habits and avoid gaining weight.


Eat a balanced breakfast and maybe a light lunch or snack depending when your dinner is. This will allow you to approach the meal with more control and less hunger. Do not skip meals all days to “save room” or “save calories” for the big meal later. This is basically setting yourself up to overindulge.
Be mindful when eating appetizers. They will spoil the meal for you and can add hundreds of extra calories.
When is the best time of the day to eat? The optimal time to eat your meal is between noon and 3 o’clock. This gives your stomach time to empty and your body time to digest the food. This also gives you the option to wait a while before enjoying dessert.


Sometimes we can’t control what shows up on the table around the holidays. What we can do is know what the best choices are.
First look at all the options.
Start your plate with non-starchy foods first. Avoid filling your plate with stuffing, rolls, macaroni and cheese. Begin with a protein then add some vegetables and see where things may go from there. Wait to see if you are even still hungry before diving in to those carb loaded foods.
You could also take extremely small servings of everything to get a taste and maybe go back for a slightly larger helping of something you really enjoyed
Use a dessert plate over the large plates to help keep your portions in check.
Choose sweet potatoes over mashed potatoes…that is if the sweet potatoes weren’t made with 20 pounds of sugar!
Avoid drowning your turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and whatever else in GRAVY… a little can go a long way.
Avoid vegetables cooked in creams, gravy, or butter…these are very fatting and full of calories.
Limit the carbs. Either choose your favorite or consider taking very small servings of different things.
Choose apple pie over pecan pie…try sharing a piece with someone!
DO NOT over eat! Listen to your body. When you get to the point of fullness, you are probably OVER FULL. Stop when you feel comfortable or satisfied. This is not your last supper, nor will it be the only time to enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes, or stuffing this year.
Get up from the table when you are finished. The longer we sit with food right in front of us the more likely we will keep helping ourselves until we can’t button our jeans.
Avoid wandering around and picking at the food after the meal. There will be leftovers for you to enjoy for days to come (especially if you’re hosting). Brush your teeth, pop in a mint or gum to freshen your mouth and hopefully steer you away from eating any more.


Get up after you’ve finished your meal. Go help clear the table or with the dishes. Stand up while having a conversation or go throw around the football outside. Slouching or laying on the couch after eating can increase your chance of having heart burn and really slow things down digestively. Stay active to keep things flowing!

The Importance of Following your Post-Op Treatment Schedule


The Importance of Coming to Your Follow-Up Appointments

Follow up appointments are especially critical the first year after surgery and then annually after the first year. The  Heart of America Bariatric program’s post-op treatment schedule is: 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and annually for life. There are several reasons why your follow up appointments should be a priority!

1. Long Term Success
Generally, right after surgery and up to several months after, patients are very disciplined with their diet and exercise. As time goes on, there tends to be a lax in adhering to the nutrition and exercise guidelines after surgery. Patients often stop taking their vitamins, quit exercising, or start falling back into their old eating habits. These things can all contribute to weight loss stalls or even weight gain.
Having a scheduled follow up appointment can make you feel more accountable and help you stay on track knowing your appointment with the doctor is approaching. Coming to your follow up appointments gives you the opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns you may have with your surgeon. The dietitian can remind you of healthy eating and exercise habits, assess nutrition any concerns that my need to be modified or improved, give tips on how to stay on track, or even re-motivate you!

2. Tracking Other Changes in the Body
Patients are required to get labs drawn for both their 6 month and annual appointments. Blood work is important in helping determine any potential nutrient deficiencies as well as monitoring specific values like hemoglobin A1C or cholesterol and their improvement (hopefully!).
Malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies are nothing to mess with. Nutrient deficiencies can cause nerve damage, bone loss, hair loss, vision problems and other serious issues. No matter how great your diet is after surgery, the small amount of food you are able to consume requires the need for additional supplementation of vitamins and minerals.
The bariatric population is especially at risk for deficiencies. Research has shown that there is a higher prevalence of pre-existing nutrient deficiencies in overweight/obese adults. While overweight/obese adults typically consume excess calories, they are usually from nutritionally poor, energy dense foods instead of nutrient rich foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
It takes time for nutrient stores to run down which is why coming to your follow up appointments with your lab work and allowing your surgeon to review it is very important. Just because you may feel just fine does not mean that you actually are fine.

3. Monitoring Weight Loss
Coming in for your follow up appointment is great for us as well! It allows us to keep tracking your weight loss and gives us the opportunity to celebrate you and your success! Even if you’re not quite where you want to be and have had some setbacks we are still here to motivate you help you get back on track!


If you have not seen us recently and need to schedule an appointment, please call (314) 776-7112. See you soon!

Healthy Turkey Chili

Healthy Turkey Chili

Chili is a fall favorite and a great meal option now that the cooler weather is here to stay. This hearty turkey chili contains 3 different types of beans and packs 12 grams of protein per serving.  Dress it up with even more protein by adding some low-fat shredded cheese or plain Greek yogurt (a great alternative to sour cream). Kick up the flavor by adding some fresh cilantro or jalapenos!





  • 1Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1medium red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1pound extra lean ground turkey breast
  • 2-3Tablespoons chili powder (more to taste)
  • 1 1/2teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 1teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2cups chicken broth (Reduced sodium/unsalted)
  • 30ounces petite diced tomatoes (two 15 oz cans)
  • 15ounces dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 15ounces black beans (drained and rinsed)

15 ounces white chili beans (drained and rinsed) 1 1/2 cups corn (canned or frozen)



  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, peppers and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Add in the ground turkey and cook until lightly browned. Drain if needed. Stir in seasonings.


  1. Next add in the chicken broth, tomatoes and beans. Add corn if desired. Bring turkey chili to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better. Taste and add more salt and seasonings if desired.


  1. Ladle turkey chili into bowls and top with your favorite toppings.


To make this a slow cooker meal, simply follow the instructions up until adding the seasonings. Then place the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker with the cooked turkey. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.









Healthier Halloween!

Halloween is known for costumes, parties and lots of candy! It has been estimated that the average child consumes between 3500 and 7000 calories on Halloween! As terrible as that sounds, it’s really easy to do when you consider how many calories are in all of those fun-sized treats:

  • 2 Starbursts = 40 Calories
  • 1 Hershey’s Miniature Bar = 45 Calories
  • 2 Tootsie Rolls = 50 Calories
  • 1 Fun Size Skittles = 60 Calories
  • 1 Fun Size plain M&M bag = 70 Calories
  • 1 Fun Size Twix Bar = 80 Calories
  • 1 Fun Size Butterfinger Bar = 100 Calories
  • 1 Mini Bite-Sized Candy Bar (Snicker’s, Milky Way, Butterfinger, etc.) = 55 Calories
  • 1 Full-Size Hershey Bar = 210 Calories
  • 1 Full-Size Snicker’s Bar = 280 Calories
  • 1 King-Size Candy Bar = 500 Calories


Halloween can be a terrible holiday for anyone trying to lose weight, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many strategies you can use to stay on track and still partake in the festivities surrounding the holiday.

  • Give away something other than candy to your trick-or-treaters. Try a deck of cards, Yo-Yo, sugar-free gum, raisins, small boxes of cereal or pretzels. This way, if you have any leftovers, you have something healthier around the house than chocolate bars and fruit-flavored candies.
  • Donate your extra candy.
  • Put your child’s candy in the freezer. Thaw one piece at a time and the rest remains frozen. This way you have to wait for it to thaw before you can eat it. By then, the temptation will (hopefully!) be gone.
  • Throw out the candy your child brings home in exchange for a new toy they have been wanting. They still get something they want and neither of you has to be tempted by the sweets.
  • If you are giving out candy on Halloween, wait until the last minute to purchase it. This will help lessen the temptation to eat it beforehand. Try to give all of it away, too. If it’s getting close to the end of the evening and you still have a lot of candy left, hand out two or three pieces to each child instead of just one.
  • If you end up making poor choices on Halloween, be sure to eat sensibly after that. One day is not the problem that will set you off track on your weight loss journey, but letting that one day turn into several days, weeks or months can do some damage.

Preventing Weight Re-Gain

While it has been said many times before, bariatric surgery is merely a tool. It is possible to not use that tool properly and see results that you would not prefer. We are talking about weight regain after bariatric surgery. Unfortunately, this is sometimes a problem, but there are ways to prevent it and manage it if you have already gained.

A common problem and one of the largest determinants of how well you will do with weight loss post-surgery is exercise. When you lose weight rapidly, you typically lose muscle mass, whether you notice it or not. If you do not exercise to build that muscle mass back up, your metabolism will slow down. So not only are you not burning calories from doing exercise, but you’re also burning fewer calories throughout the day due to a slower metabolism. Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body, meaning that it burns more calories than any other tissue. This is why it is essential to incorporate a combination of cardiovascular activity and strength training for a minimum of 30 minutes a day 5 days per week. More exercise will likely produce better results.

Another very common problem is drinking with or too close to your meal. If you drink just prior to a meal, during a meal or after a meal, your food is mixing with liquid, becoming softer and ultimately moving through your pouch more rapidly. This leaves you feeling hungry and may lead to eating more. Eating more leads to weight gain. In order to prevent this, you are asked to stop drinking anything 30 minutes prior to your meal and not drink anything until 30 minutes after your meal. Even small sips can sabotage your efforts. Along with this concept, if you’re choosing many soft foods and liquids, you will find yourself hungry and able to eat more. The majority of the time, you want to choose solid foods for your meals as these will fill you up quicker and keep you full longer.

One other common problem is grazing or excessive snacking. Picking at foods throughout the day can add up to many extra calories. Grazing often doesn’t fill you up or satisfy you and is done out of boredom or because the food looks good. It does not make sense to eat if you are not hungry. It is best to go for a walk, write in a journal, call a friend or somehow otherwise distract yourself from the situation that is leading you to eat.

By controlling each of these behaviors, we can continue on the journey of weight loss and not worry about weight gain. After all, you had the surgery in order to lose weight, so let’s make good use of the tool that you have.

Spaghetti Squash (Carb Side)


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with knife to prevent it from bursting. Microwave for 6-7 minutes. Turn squash over, and microwave until slightly soft when pressed, 8-10 minutes more. 2. When squash has finished cooking and cooled slightly, scrape out flesh with fork. Discard skin. 3. Season with basil, salt and pepper.

Nutrition Info Per Serving based on 4 servings

Calories 141; Protein 2.92 g; Fat 2.59 g; Carbs 31.35 g; Fiber 6.81 g; Sugar 12.52 g
1 2 3 83