Getting an invite to a family or friends barbecue is always exciting, but when you have had bariatric surgery, the second thought is often about not being able to eat.

Many years after my RNY surgery, going to a bbq remains a bariatric challenge as there is hidden sugar in many summer dishes and pork remains much too dense for me to eat unless I want to test it and upchuck in the bushes.

Here are a few tips, some of which were learned the hard way so you don't have to! Have a great start to your summer.

  1. Do NOT trust BBQ sauce. The stuff in a plastic bottle has tons of high fructose corn syrup that is like injecting sugar with a syringe. Don't use it. Even a little. INSTEAD, make and take a bowl of my Homestyle SF BBQ Sauce and no one will want the chicken doused with the stuff from the plastic bottle!
  2. Cole slaw is a good news-bad news food. Bad news is that store bought cole slaw has high fructose corn syrup or sugar that can cause you to throw up on your new sandals (not a Princess move). GOOD NEWS is that slaw is easy to make and my Blue Cheese Slaw recipe below tasty, plus you can slop it on even a dry burger to make it bariatric edible.
  3. I always take something that I am able to eat in case the food at the bbq is not bariatric friendly.
  4. Dessert can be deadly. There will definitely be some cake or dessert at a BBQ! Either make my SF Cheesecake or go super simple and TAKE A WATERMELON. Don't wing it, as people will feel sorry for you and that is a party killer unless you enjoy playing victim.

No Sugar BBQ Sauce

Most bottles of barbecue sauce have enough sugar to just about kill a bariatric post op.

This is one of those products that uses a small serving size to appear to be low in sugar and calories - often showing 2 teaspoons or even 1 tablespoon of sauce - and coming in at 12 or more grams of sugar. Make a big bowl of my no sugar sauce and keep it in the fridge to last for a couple of weekends of saucing chicken and ribs. It's so good your friends will tell you to bottle it!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup Smuckers Sugar Free Apricot Preserves
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke


Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until golden brown and softened. Reduce heat to low and add ketchup, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, preserves, salt, pepper, chili powder, and Liquid Smoke; simmer 30 to 45 minutes, until mixture is thick and delicious. Sauce those ribs, burgers, and chicken!

Blue Cheese Celery Slaw


  • 3 cups, shredded cole slaw mix
  • 4 inner stalks celery, aka celery heart
  • 1/4 cup Bolthouse Farms Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing


Finely slice celery, including leaves, toss with slaw mix and blue cheese dressing. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and lots of black pepper. Pile blue cheese slaw on platter, serve as a side dish or on top of grilled chicken and burgers.
    Bariatric Recipes Advice, Rants & Support Podcast: Real Talk