The whole is a sum of its parts.
Since a whole is the sum of its parts, if you cook with low carb and healthy ingredients, your finished dish will always be low carb and healthy. No need for calculations or relying on what someone ‘tells you’ are the stats on a home recipe.
Our list of kitchen staples provide fast and tasty bariatric friendly eating that your family will also love. If these were the only things in your kitchen, you’d be able to prepare a gazillion dishes. Check back often… there are always new products and flavors on the store shelves to love. These are the lower carb ingredients we use for everyday cooking and eating for our bariatric lifestyle. This is a perfect bariatric pantry.
Cans or Jars
Applesauce, no sugar – ingredients must read APPLES only – Mott’s Healthy Harvest – use to flavor your plain yogurt or cottage cheese
Beans – garbanzo, cannellini, pinto, red lentils, pink – add to salads, saute with salsa as side dish to moisten grilled fish or chicken, use to make hummus or soups
Black Olives – lots of flavor for sauces & salads
Dole pineapple in juice (NOT syrup) – use with soy sauce for marinades, add fruit to cottage cheese/ricotta/yogurt
Evaporated Skim Milk – Carnation, for making Baked Vanilla Custard and puddings
Italian Plum Tomatoes – San Marzano, Progresso, Cento – for making sauces/salsas
Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin, for making no sugar Pumpkin Custard and Pumpkin Pie
Lite Coconut Milk – Taste of Thai, for making sauces, soups and custards
Progresso Soups – Lentil, Minestrone, Black Bean, Hearty Tomato – varieties that do not feature pasta or rice – add PURE Unflavored Protein Powder for a simple high protein meal
RoTel Tomatoes with Green Chilies in all different varieties – great for soups or simmering chicken or ground beef for FLAVOR!
Tuna – Chicken of the Sea in Olive Oil or Water, add to a salad or to stuff a tomato, or for making a cheesy tuna melt
Sauces, Dressings, Condiments, and Spreads
Balsamic Vinegar, for the best salad dressing or drizzle for grilled sliced meat
Bottled salad dressings – Newman’s Own Light and Balsamic are the only bottled dressings I will use
Chicken Broth Base/Seasoning – Good brands are Orrington Farms and ‘Better than Broth’. These are thick reduced pastes and not bouillion cubes. Aside from making broth, use a little on steamed vegetables to give them just enough flavor.
DaVinci Sugar-free Syrups – Caramel, Coconut, Raspberry, Hazelnut – for coffees and puddings and even holiday Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the only oil I use for cooking and salads
Frank’s Hot Sauce and Wing Sauce – turn roasted or pan seared chicken into Buffalo Chicken
Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise, use half and half blended with Greek yogurt
House of Tsang – bottled Asian sauces & marinades – to make quick Stir Fried Lettuce Cups with chopped chicken breast or shrimp
Ketchup – Heinz Low Sugar
Maple Grove Sugar Free Maple Syrup – use for a touch of sweetness in salad dressings or custards or bbq sauces
Mustard – Gulden’s spicy brown, Grey Poupon Dijon, but not honey mustard – use for salad dressings and pan sauces
Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegars – for Asian marinades and very mild for salad dressings
Pasta sauce – Gia Russa, Mario Batali, or Classico Marinara – simmer sauces for chicken fish shrimp beef pork
Peanut Butter – Peter Pan Whipped or Natural supermarket freshly ground – use a smear on an apple slice or to make Thai Peanut dipping sauce
Pickles – Mount Olive Splenda Sweetened for sweet pickles, Wickles are fantastic hot pickles, of course Vlassic – adds interest to a lettuce wrap ‘sandwich’ or for tuna salad
Pickled Pepperoncini Peppers & Cherry Peppers – adds that snap in a sauce, salsa or salad. Love me some Italian Pork Chops with Saucy Vinegar Peppers!
Salsa – Frontera, Green Mountain Gringo, Newman’s Own – read ingredients and purchase those without added sugar – to use as a simmer sauce to make Salsa Chicken or shrimp, moistens your food
Sesame Seed Oil – toasted, for marinades or dressings
Smucker’s Sugar Free Preserves – use to sweeten cooked fruit sauces, or to add sweetness to dressings marinades, blend with soy sauce as a glaze for roasted salmon or chicken
Soy sauce – Kikkoman, for marinades & sauces
Sriracha Huy Fong – The trademark red rooster bottle with a green cap pretty much dominates – a few drops blended with Greek yogurt as a Spicy Sriracha Sauce, perfect on scrambled eggs with cheese
Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken & Beef Broth – in closeable juice box-type containers – the best broth other than homemade, use for a quick Meatball Soup
Worcestershire Sauce – unique flavor that makes a meatloaf taste different from meatballs
Crystal Light, Mio, Wyler’s, Lipton, Arizona – sugar-free powdered or liquid drink mixes
Diet Snapple – Tropa Rocka is my all time favorite drink!!!
DIET Ocean Spray Cranberry or Blueberry Pomegranate
Minute Maid Drops – Portable water enhancer made with fruit juices, Splenda & Stevia sweetened, only 5 calories a squeeze.
Sugar Free Red Bull – for a great energy boost, but at 10Oak at the Mirage in Vegas, they pour it with flavored Stoli for skinny sugar free cocktails!
Vitamin Water Zero
Bai – super tasty no sugar drinks
Psych! Cereal is not for people who have had obesity surgery.
Meat & Seafood
Aidel’s fully cooked sausages and meatballs – Chicken Apple Sausage, Cajun Style Andouille, Teriyaki Meatballs and more. – simmer in broth with salsa or pasta sauce for quick soup, saute sausages with beans & salsa or peppers & onions
Bacon – regular bacon wins over turkey bacon hands down (turkey bacon is higher in fat than crisp bacon plus it is made from scrap parts you would not eat if you knew)
Beef – filet mignon, sirloin, flank steak are all tender lean cuts – or go for slowly simmered cuts like chuck roast, or shoulder roasts. I buy ground buffalo or ground round so its not too dry
Boar‘s Head Deli sliced ham, turkey or chicken – this brand is minimally processed real meat
Chicken breast – skinless, boneless – individually wrapped Perdue ‘Fit & Easy’ Chicken Breasts
Chicken thighs – skinless boneless, or bone in
Crab – lump crab – Costco has superb real crabmeat – imitation crab has carbs, chemicals, sugar
Flounder filets – literally cook in under 2 minutes
Ground chicken breast – freshly chopped or chop your own from whole breasts in food processor to make Asian Lettuce Cups
Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks – I like hot dogs and simmer with sauerkraut beer and mustard
Jerky – Perky Jerky, Boar’s Head Jerky, Krave Jerky – all amazing flavor and tender
Pork tenderloin – season, sear and roast in oven, thinly slice – super tender and moist
Pre-cooked Rotisserie Chicken – make a zillion things, but best served with a freshly dressed tomato cucumber salad with olives for the ultimate 3 minute meal
Turkey Breast – ground – fresh
Turkey Tenderloin– chop in food processor for really flavorful lean meatloaf or Asian lettuce cups
Vegetables - fresh
Artichokes – I am Italian so I stuff them with anchovy, lemon and garlic. Yum!
Asparagus – slice and saute in olive oil for omelets with eggs and parmesan (called a Frittata) or roast after tossing in olive oil right on the same tray with your salmon
Baby salad greens – I make salad most nights!
Baby Spinach greens – for salad or after searing chicken or fish and removing to plate, dump entire bag into pan and cook until wilted, seasoning with garlic powder & salt, takes 2 minutes!
Brussels Sprouts – cut in half, toss with olive oil and roast at high temp until a little charred, about twelve minutes
Butternut Squash – winter squash – cut into cubes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper roast on cookie sheet til tender
Carrots – simmer baby carrots in chicken broth until tender or roast on sheetpan tossed with olive oil
Cucumbers – use as chips or crackers for bariatric CRUNCH!
Eggplant – simmer with pasta sauce or roast the rounds then top with pasta sauce, ricotta and mozzarella and broil for a deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan
Fennel – roast with chicken thighs and lemon slices
Garlic – in everything but dessert!
Green Beans – thin ones called Haricot Verts, pan saute with Chili Garlic sauce
Gourmet Garden Herb Tubes – Basil, Garlic, Ginger and Dill are my favorites – ginger in pumpkin pie is Off the Chain!
Red, Green and Yellow Sweet Peppers – saute with garlic and onion in olive oil for a soft squishy topping for grilled slices meats
Romaine Lettuce – for salads, but these make GREAT AS TACO SHELLS or boats for tuna salad or deli roast beef!
Rutabaga – peel dice and simmer in water for a delicious low carb veggie ‘mashed potato’ type side dish
Scallions – adds flavor when you don’t want onions
Spinach – saute with garlic in olive oil for delicious everyday eating
Tomatoes – Roma, grape, and cherry tomatoes – salads or roasted
Yellow Squash – tender & soft when cooked stove top
Zucchini – simmer in pasta sauce for soft squishy veggie side dish Zucchini in Sauce
Fruit - fresh
Apples – make thin slices for peanut butter smear or to make mini ‘ham sandwich’
Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries – fork mash to flavor Greek yogurt
Melon – cube for sugar free jello, slices to wrap with prosciutto, or for a smooth with Inspire Vanilla Protein Powder
Cherries and Grapes – higher in sugar so eat just ten or about 1/3 cup
Vegetables and Fruit - frozen
Birds Eye frozen vegetables – Garlic Cauliflower, Broccoli, Mixed Vegetables
Boca Meatless Burgers, Veggie Patties, Chik ‘n Patties Original, Ground Burger (or Crumbles)
Cascadian Farms Edamame – cook stove top to thaw and toss with sea salt
Cool Whip – turns sugar free jello into something wonderful or a fast No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
Frozen fruit with no added sugar – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries – use to make MAGIC ICE CREAM
Meatballs – Celantano, prepared frozen Italian style – simmer in pasta sauce for a ten minute meal
Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Patties and Chickn Nuggets – taste great good post op texture
No Sugar Added Fudgsicles
Stouffer’s Spinach Souffle – excellent tasting and can be used to make a casserole with chicken pork beef
Stouffer’s Stuffed Peppers – really good tasting and minimally processed
Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine – read labels and choose lower carb varieties for a healthy minimally processed food in a pinch
Sugar Free Popsicles
So Delicious Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert – No Sugar Added Butter Pecan, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Toasted Almond Chip – measure 1/2 cup using a metal ice cream scoop – don’t eat from the container!
Babybel Gouda – perfect portion control and PORTABLE!
Cabot Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheeses – the best light cheddar
Ricotta, part-skim – with warmed pasta sauce this is my go to fast bariatric meal
Cottage cheese – 1 or 2% Friendship or Daisy (no starches or gums) – wonderful with fruit or go savory and top with salsa
Cream cheese – reduced fat – for an occasional cheesecake – NOT fat free as it has starches and gums and ruins a cheesecake with bad texture
Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges – smear on an apple slice!
Mozzarella string cheese
Parmesan cheese – buy a wedge and grate your own to add protein and LOTS of flavor to salads, soups, pasta sauces
Sour cream – reduced fat – don’t use fat free as it has gums and starches – I use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream these days
Tilamook or Land O Lakes Single Serve Cheese – single serve wrapped cheese pieces that are just perfect for lunches
Chobani Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Dannon Light & Fit – in a pinch this is okay
Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt
Fage Total 2% Greek Yogurt – the absolute best Greek as its super thick and not as sour!
Siggi’s – Icelandic skyr high protein yogurt that is no sugar added and crazy good for you
Eggs, Milk, & Dairy
1%, 2% or Skim Milk – great controversy over milk used for protein drinks, but if its the only way you’ll drink them, account for the calories and do it
Almond Breeze Chilled Unsweetened Original or Vanilla Milk – use to make INSPIRE Protein Drinks and you won’t believe how good they are!
Almond Breeze Chilled Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk – blended with Inspire Vanilla Protein Powder, OMG! Hard to find but worth it.
Butter – I would rather use a teaspoon of butter than fake chemical margarine
Califia – Unsweetened Almond milk or Toasted Coconut Almond Milk – big yum!
Coffee-Mate Sugar Free French Vanilla or Hazelnut liquid creamer – I use Almond Milk in coffee, but these make a wonderful Morning Protein Latte by blending scoop Inspire Caramel Latte with Coffeemate then filling mug with hot coffee
Eggs – Jumbo or Extra Large – I make Quiche every week, hard cooked eggs to keep in fridge, and for fast supper will poach eggs in pasta sauce or salsa
Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding Snacks – I make my own Jello sf pudding but these are fine
Land O Lakes Sugar Free Light Whipped Cream – aerosol can – amazing flavor for so few calories, on top of SF Jello or Pumpkin Custard
Reddi-Wipp, light whipped cream – ditto
So Delicious Unsweetened Almond Plus 5X Protein
So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer – fantastic in coffee
Packaged Foods, Spices, Seasonings, Baking Items
All-Purpose flour – I keep it in the kitchen even though I use it sparingly – you can cut flour down in a recipe but cannot eliminate it. Some recipes must have a little flour so just pay attention to the carbs
Almond Accents – adds flavor to salads
Almond flour – Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour is excellent quality
Basil – fresh and dried, Italians cannot live without Basil!
Black pepper – almost every dish benefits from a few grinds of black pepper
Chili powder – I like toasted speciality blends from Penzy’s
Cinnamon – I love cinnamon and blend with Splenda to dip apple slices
Coffee syrups – Sugar Free brands such as Toriani or DaVinci Gourmet are perfect for flavoring protein shakes, but are also good in mashed sweet potatoes, puddings and yogurt as well!
Cornstarch – make sugar free homemade Chocolate Pudding
Jell-O Sugar Free Gelatin – I make a bowl of ‘speed set’ for a satisfying sugar free sweet while watching TV with Ty
Jell-O Sugar-free Instant or Cooked Pudding Mix – you must use ff milk as these do not set using almond or soy milk – sometimes you need a Sugar Free Chocolate Cream Pie for a party or event
Kosher salt – the big flakes allow you to sprinkle more easily
McCormack Seasoning Blends – I broil or roast meats and have a few favorite seasoning blends that really make your chicken or beef sing with flavor!
MilkSplash – small squeeze bottles of really delicious, zero-calorie flavorings intended for milk, but perfect for protein drinks or yogurt.
Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blends – these are nice on cottage cheese or ricotta or to season chicken or fish
Murray Sugar Free Cookies – crumble for a parfait with sf pudding or yogurt, or to make a quick crust for a SF Chocolate Cream Pie, sometimes you just need two cookies and some almond milk!
Nutmeg, whole – a few grates into a quiche elevates the flavor, plus it is essential on top of Baked Vanilla Egg Custards
Nuts – Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds – count out ten into a small dish so there isn’t any mindless eating going on
Oregano – dried, essential for Italian, Mexican, and Greek cuisines!
Pam No-Stick Cooking Spray, Original and Olive Oil
Progresso Italian or Panko Breadcrumbs – adds great flavor to meatloaf or on top of fish before broiling – USE SPARINGLY
PureVia – a natural stevia sweetener packet that I like a lot
Sea Salt – tastes so much better than the stuff our grandmothers used
Sesame Seeds – adds nice touch to Asian marinades when broiling fish or chicken
Seapoint Farms Crunchy Coated Premium Black Edamame – this is a dried product found in the ‘chips aisle’, 1/4 cup has 9 grams of protein!
Splenda Granular – the big yellow bag is a bariatric essential. You cannot successfully bake using Splenda – you can’t use a cup of Splenda in your old fave recipe that uses a cup of sugar – this doesn’t work! Use for pourable sweet desserts like puddings, custards, cheesecakes, and fruit sauces
Truvia and Truvia Blend – Truvia blend works in baking where Splenda does not. Not always interchangeable with Splenda. Twice as sweet so use half as much
Tony Chatchere’s Cajun Seasoning – one of my favorite seasoning blends for meats and fish
Unsweetened Dutch cocoa – Dutch is smooth and never bitter – use for Perfect Chocolate Layer
Vanilla, maple, & almond extracts – Lorann is a great brand
Voortmann Sugar Free Cookies – 8 Oatmeal cookies in the food processor with a tablespoon of butter makes a perfect pie crust or cheesecake crust