Healthy Dinner Ideas: Build Your Own Salad Bar Night

Here's a fun lunch or dinner idea that is not only weight loss surgery friendly but also something the whole family can enjoy together. Build Your Own Salad Bar Night. Set out an assortment of salad items and let everyone create their own yummy masterpiece.

Family Friendly Healthy Dinner Ideas 

Top Row from left to right: Hardboiled Eggs, Shredded Cheese, Cooked Shrimp
2nd Row: Chickpeas, Salad Greens and Shredded Carrot, Grilled Chicken
3rd Row: Cucumbers, Artichoke Hearts, Tomatoes
4th Row: Red Walnuts & Almonds, Shelly's Healthified Ranch Dressing Dip (recipe below)

The standard rule is the darker the salad greens the more vitamins and minerals they have so I usually do half Spring Mix or Mixed Baby Greens and a little Baby Spinach added in.

I make sure every salad has some sort of lean protein (Chicken, Fish, Turkey, Shrimp, Tuna, Crab, Hardcooked Egg) and I aim for that. Tip: If you are grilling on the weekend, toss an extra piece or two of chicken on the grill for your Salad Bar night.

I love to add beans (Chickpeas, Black Beans, Kidney Beans) for even more protein but they are carby, they're good carbs but you know, factor them in your day.

I add veggies... raw, cooked, pickled. This is a great way to use leftovers like peas, corn. Tip: Leftover salad items can be tossed into soups or casseroles throughout the week.

Top with something fun like a sprinkle of Nuts, Seeds or Cheese. Don't go crazy, they add protein but a little goes a long way, measure. Tip: Shred cheese versus hunks or cubes.

You can turn a healthy salad into "I might as well have eaten a greasy burger and fries" with your salad dressing choice, those calories and fat grams add up quickly. I rarely use dressing especially if you have something like sliced Avocado or Tomatoes which gives the salad plenty of moisture. If I do have "dressing" I make my own with Greek Yogurt. If you do use the regular in the bottle stuff watch those portions, measure it out don't just pour. Tip: Salsa is also a great dressing substitute.

Shelly's Healthified Ranch Dressing Dip

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon Dry Buttermilk Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Chives
a few twists of Black Pepper
Salt to taste

Mix till well combined. For dip use as is. For dressing thin with milk. You can find Dry Buttermilk Powder near regular powdered milk.

Family Friendly Dinner Vegetables Weight Loss Surgery Fitness Menus

Post weight loss surgery Dr's meal plans vary on when salads can be introduced. I was cleared for it at 8 weeks but as always when in doubt as your medical posse for the thumbs up.

What are some of your favorite salad bar items? Feel free to leave your favs in the comments.

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts (I try and post them every few days) to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world.

Breakfast: My new favorite breakfast. Seriously I want to eat this every day.

Shelly's Cinnamon Apple Walnut Salad

3 oz. Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (any flavor I used SF Sugar Free Cinnamon Vanilla)
dash Cinnamon
1 Apple (Pink Lady, Gala or Fuji are my favs), chopped
2 Tablespoons Walnuts, chopped
1 Tablespoon Dried Cranberries

Mix yogurt, SF syrup, and cinnamon together until well blended. Toss with apple, walnuts, and cranberries. Makes enough for 2 people.

I used California Red Walnuts in this. If you can find some use those. So good. If not, regular are fine.

Lunch: It was Earth Day so I tried to spend as much time outside as I could. Filled my bento box and took lunch outside...

Pink Box (top left): Shelly's Melted Turkey & Cheese Roll-up
Green Box (top right): Shelly's Strawberry Cannoli
Blue Box (bottom left):
Hardboiled Egg on a Stick 
Orange Box (bottom right): Shelly's Pineapple Orange Protein Mini Muffin

More bento box lunches 

Dinner: Spotted these the other day at Trader Joe’s and tossed them in my cart. Trader Joe's Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers, they come uncooked. I just grilled for a few minutes each side on the BBQ. The box contains five skewers of five shrimp for $5.99.

They are quite tasty. Seasoned with kaffir lime leaf and other spices. Super quick protein source. Each skewer is 40 cals, 8 grams of protein, 0 carbs, .5 grams of fat.

They would be excellent on top of a simple salad. I ate them as is.

Snacks: Coffee and few more Strawberry Cannoli

Where's Eggface?

When I'm not posting here on the blog

I'm on Facebook

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or Pinterest

and I have a YouTube Channel (one of these days I'll make some videos)

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though they know you are slightly cracked. Thank you for sharing the blog and related pages with others. xo

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A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts (I try and post them every few days) to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world.

Breakfast: The last of this week's Farmer's Market Strawberries with Mango, a dollop of Pineapple Cottage Cheese and a Tablespoon of Slivered Almonds.

Lunch: These savory pancakes are so good, kind of a potato-less potato pancake. They are soft & loaded with yummy protein so early post weight loss surgery people should have no trouble with them minus the bruschetta topping of course.

Shelly's Bruschetta Pancakes

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
1 teaspoon Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Bruschetta Topping

2-3 Tomatoes, chopped
Fresh Basil, finely chopped
dash of Oregano
Salt to taste
a few twists of Black Pepper
drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar

Mix together Bruschetta Topping and set aside. Mix pancake ingredients together. Spray non-stick pan with Pam. Cook on low till bubbles appear, flip. Cook till done. Makes 8 pancakes. Top with Bruschetta Topping.

I used whole milk ricotta if you use part skim. Drain through a sieve lined with a coffee filter for several hours or overnight in the fridge. These pancakes can be made ahead and reheated.

More Eggface Pancakes

Dinner: I spotted these pre-cooked Ball Park Burger Patties in the freezer section of the supermarket the other day. I don't eat a lot of beef but every so often I feel like a burger (I can eat about 3/4 or so.) These were an easy meal. I tossed them on the BBQ for 3 minutes or so, flipped them and topped with a slice of good ole' American cheese and cooked till the cheese melted. I served them with a dollop of my Garbanzo and Green Bean Salad

Mum and I ate dinner outside, talked about the tragedy that had unfolded earlier in the day at the Boston marathon. I don't care what your "cause" is... senseless violence is not a way to spread your message. "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind." We also remembered our lovely trip to Boston a few years ago (thank you again for helping make that memory happen.) Prayers, good thoughts to ♥ Boston.

Snacks: Lots of coffee and few pieces of Krave Lemon Garlic Turkey Jerky. Love this jerky. Check them out on Facebook and tell 'em Eggface sent you.

More days in my pouch

A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts (I try and post them every few days) to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world.

Breakfast: My Mum was scheduled for a bunch of lab work and had been fasting so I didn't want to cook anything and make the house smell yummy. That's torture. I had made Pineapple Orange Protein Mini Muffins the night before so I tossed 2 in a Ziploc baggie in my purse and ate them while she was in getting the vampire treatment. I took her out for a well deserved latte after.

Shelly's Pineapple Orange Protein Mini Muffins

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup
1 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
2 Tablespoons Almond Meal (Almond Flour)
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (any will do)
Pinch salt

1/4 cup Crushed Pineapple, well drained
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Orange Marmalade

Mix marmalade and pineapple together and set aside. In a measuring cup or bowl, mix egg, milk, syrup and oil and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, almond meal (FYI almond meal/flour are interchangeable one is ground with skins on, one without), protein powder and salt. Tip dry into wet and stir till combined.

Pour into a non stick 12 cup mini muffin pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Spoon a dab (about 1/2 teaspoon) of pineapple orange mixture on top of each muffin. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Makes 12 moist, delicious, mini muffins.

Lunch: Bento lunch with an accidental Asian theme.

Pink Box (top left): Cooked Shrimp Cocktail with Lemon & Cocktail Sauce
Green Box (top right): Wasabi Almonds
Blue Box (bottom left): Steamed Edamame
(bottom right): Mandarin Oranges

More bento box lunches

Dinner: I tossed a couple of Chicken breasts on the grill (swipe of Olive Oil, sprinkle of Greek Seasoning) and while they were cooking I steam sauteed some Bok Choy. I cooked the Bok Choy till almost tender. To my 2 lbs (sounds like a lot but like spinach it goes to nothing) I added a Tablespoon of crushed Ginger and a Tablespoon of Soy Sauce and put the lid on till completely tender.

Snacks: Took my Mum for coffee after her testing. I had a Sugar Free Vanilla Soy Latte.

and later I made a batch of Protein Ice Cream. Protein Ice Cream  Making 101 Tips

I was in the mood for something chocolate-y. So I took my plain chocolate protein ice cream base and jazzed it up with the addition of 1/2 a chopped up Pure Protein Double Chocolate Vanilla Crunch Protein Bar. Soooo good.

Shelly's Double Chocolate Vanilla Crunch Protein Ice Cream

1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk (or Regular Milk 2% or above for best results)
2 scoops of Chocolate Protein Powder (any brand you love)
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Vanilla)
1/2 Pure Protein Double Chocolate Vanilla Crunch Bar, chopped fine (any protein bar you love would work)

Mix together milk, protein and syrup. I used this gadget to mix it up. It makes it airy and lump free. If you don't have one just toss it in a blender on super high. You want it fluffy almost double in size. Pour into an ice cream maker. Follow your machine's instructions for freezing. 5 minutes before it's done add bar bits.

You can eat it right away it is soft serve-ish. Use it at this stage for Protein Ice Cream Cake making.

If you want scoops put it in the freezer to set for an hour. After that hour it will be hard (like rock hard - this is do to the lack of fat content) just nuke it 25 seconds to bring it back to scoops. Pictured is a double batch Note: If you double the batch, don't bother doubling the protein powder, we can only absorb so much and 2 scoops is plenty.

It was a pretty yummy day.

More days in my pouch

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Cool Resource!

I'd like to pass on this very cool resource. The Obesity Action Coalition Your Weight Matters Campaign, a national initiative, which encourages each and every American to talk to their healthcare provider about their weight.

The website has some great features and campaign participants are provided with a resource toolkit. The toolkit includes resources on topics such as nutrition, exercise and weight-loss options. You can also opt-in to receive Your Weight Matters Weekly, a weekly e-newsletter providing nutrition and fitness tips along with news about the campaign. It's all FREE.

I wish I would have had something like this throughout the years to help open up the conversation with my doctor. I either got "you really need to lose some weight" with no help beyond that or silence from both of us years. Neither of those approaches helped me get control of my weight and my health eventually deteriorated. This campaign helps the conversation begin.

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Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts (I try and post them every few days) to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world.

Breakfast: I always have a few of these ready to drink (RTD) Oh Yeah Vanilla Creme Protein Shakes. My favorites are Vanilla Creme and Strawberry. I had a bunch of things to do before company came over (aka tossing things in out of way places) and I sipped it in between tasks.

Lunch: My sister and niece were in town for the weekend. I grilled some Zucchini (swipe of olive oil and sprinkle of Greek Seasoning) and made a tray up of Cold Cuts (Ham, Turkey, Muenster Cheese), Lettuce, Olives and Almonds (Wasabi and Applewood Smoked, Farmer's Market finds) Everyone made sandwiches and I made my typical breadless Cold Cut Roll-ups, had some Zucchini and a few Nuts. My sis and niece are also RNYers (they were my guinea pigs, 2 years before me) but they aren't militant about bread, pasta, white carbs like I am. This is how my journey needs to be. Closing in on 7 years free of it so really I don't miss it much. It was harder in the first year now it's rarely a thought. Here's our spread...

Oh I cut up some Strawberries and Mango tossed with a pump of Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup for dessert.

Dinner: I had some leftover tri-tip from last night's dinner. I chopped it up and repurposed it into Lettuce Cup Tri Tip Tacos.

I sauteed an Onion. Tossed the leftover Steak in with a Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Spooned that mixture into Butter Lettuce "Taco Shells" and topped with a little shredded Cheese and a dollop of Greek Yogurt mixed with McCormick Perfect Pinch Salt Free Fiesta Citrus Seasoning. So good.

Snacks: Lots of coffee and I just rolled up and ate one lonely piece of turkey left from lunch.

More days in my pouch

Here's a pic we snapped after lunch...

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts (I try and post them every few days) to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world.

Breakfast: Celebrate Vitamins ENS Vanilla Cake Batter Shake in my blender bottle as I ran out the door. I had a million errands and at least I know I have 25 grams of protein in already... actually I had a bit more because I made it with 1/2 soymilk and 1/2 water.

Lunch:  Got home and made lunch. I packed up my bento box and took it outside on the patio. I munched on it as I weeded (this is a losing battle), planted 2 tomato plants (no big garden this year, but I must have warm from the sun tomatoes), disposed of a creature gift my neighbors cat brought me (lovely, glad I ate first) and caulked seams in the house (I lead the glamorous life.)

Pink Box (top left): Shelly's Strawberry Cannoli
Green Box (top right): Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil & Oregano Caprese-ish Salad
Blue Box (bottom left): Cold Cut Roll-ups (Ham & Turkey w/ Cheese), mustard for dipping
Orange Box (bottom right): Almonds, Peanuts, Pistachios

More bento box lunches

Dinner: Spotted this Grilled Chicken Cacciatore on my last trip to Trader Joe's. It is in the refrigerator section. Fully Cooked. Just heat & serve.

Serves 3 - $4.99
Calories - 150 per serving w/out additions
Protein - 20 grams
Fat - 6 grams
Carbs - 9 grams

You just pop a few holes in the bag it comes in and nuke for 4 minutes. I am always looking for quickie protein packed meals like this. I always have a meal plan but occasionally I get home later than I thought I would and the last thing I want to do is prep, cook and especially clean up afterwards. This was a perfect meal for a night like that. Here's what it looks like after you nuke it...

I jazzed it up slightly. While the chicken nuked, I sauteed some extra mushrooms (about 5, sliced) and added can of rinsed and drained cannelini beans and warmed those through. When the chicken was done I sliced it into strips and combined it with my beans and mushrooms. I sprinkled with a little Parmesan right before serving. It was just a few steps, about 10 minutes from start to a protein packed, restaurant quality dinner. Take that Rachel Ray... Whapow.

It would be tasty as is, with beans like I served it or with some zucchini "pasta" or sauteed onions. The way I prepared it, with beans and extra mushrooms it would easily serve 4. I'll be grabbing another on my next Trader Joe's trip.

Snacks: Coffee and an Apple w/ Dip while I watched American Idol (not feeling it this year.)

Shelly's Salted Caramel Cheesecake Apple Dip

1 wedge Laughing Cow Cinnamon Cream Cheese
1 Tablespoon Ricotta Cheese
1 Tablespoon Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Salted Caramel (or any flavor SF Caramel, SF Cinnamon Vanilla would be yum too) Syrup
Optional: Squiggle of SF Smucker's Caramel Sauce 

Mix together till well blended. Dip apple slices.

More days in my pouch

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P.S. If you haven't already thrown your name in the hat for the Spring Sample Giveaway (ends Sunday) be sure to do that.