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Post-Op Diet Progression During the Holidays (Recipe Guide)

No matter what the time of year it is very important to follow the post-operative diet progression exactly as written to ensure your safety. Many people who have surgery right before or during the holidays feel as though they should skip the celebration all together. In fact, there are many special foods that can be prepared that fit into the stages of the diet progression. Preparing some of these foods will give you the opportunity to have a special meal with your loved ones. 

Stage 1:

  • Herb infused broth
  • Peppermint tea
  • Seasonal flavored protein shakes (Premier Cinnamon roll or pumpkin spice)

Stage 2:

  • Herb infused cream soup
  • Parfait layered with yogurt and sugar free pudding
  • Sugar free hot chocolate with peppermint extract

Stage 3:

  • Butternut squash soup
  • Cauliflower puree “mash”
  • Pumpkin spiced oatmeal
  • Noodle-less Lasagna, aka ricotta bake

Stage 4:

  • Moistly prepared fish
  • Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce
  • Steamed veggies

Serve on your nicest plates to make the meal feel extra special.

Stage 1 Recipe: Holiday Colored Layered Jello, Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 different colored sugar free jello flavors (holiday colors
  • Water

Directions

  1. Prepare sugar free jello according to package directions.
  2. Once set and cooled cut jello into cubes.
  3. Layer cubes of different colors in a glass to create a multicolor jello parfait.
  4. Enjoy!

Stage 2 Recipe: Savory Farina Topped with Poached Egg, Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbs Farina
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch onion powder

Directions

Prepare poached egg:

  1. Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of a narrow saucepan.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  3. Crack egg into a custard cup or small ramekin.
  4. Use the handle of a spatula or spoon to swirl the water in one direction and slowly pour egg into the center of the water.
  5. Turn off heat and let cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Remove from water with a slotted spoon.

Prepare farina:

  • Prepare 3 tbs farina according to box instructions with 1 cup of chicken broth instead of 1 cup of water.
  • Add 1 pinch of nutmeg, garlic powder and onion powder to farina and stir to incorporate.
  • Top with poached egg

Stage 2 Recipe: Savory Farina Topped with Poached Egg, Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbs Farina
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch onion powder

Directions

Prepare poached egg:

  1. Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of a narrow saucepan.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  3. Crack egg into a custard cup or small ramekin.
  4. Use the handle of a spatula or spoon to swirl the water in one direction and slowly pour egg into the center of the water.
  5. Turn off heat and let cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Remove from water with a slotted spoon.

Prepare farina:

  • Prepare 3 tbs farina according to box instructions with 1 cup of chicken broth instead of 1 cup of water.
  • Add 1 pinch of nutmeg, garlic powder and onion powder to farina and stir to incorporate.
  • Top with poached egg

Stage 3 Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Protein Latte, Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk or unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbs vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend on high for 3 minutes.
  3. If desired serve with additional cinnamon on top.

Stage 4: Turkey Meatballs with Dijon Gravy, Servings: 24 meatballs

Ingredients

For The Meatballs

  • 1.25 lbs 99% fat free ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice
  • 1 large egg

For The Dijon Gravy

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all meatball ingredients with a fork.
  2. Form meatballs one heaping tablespoon at a time. This mixture should make about 24 balls.
  3. Heat a nonstick spray in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove meatballs from the saucepan and set aside.
  4. Add olive oil to pan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Pour in the broth, whisking constantly. Simmer until thickened. Add in the milk, mustard, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Simmer another few minutes.
  5. Place the meatballs in the sauce. Coat with the sauce and heat through

Gigi Ravenhall is a Registered Dietitian at Long Island Laparoscopic Surgery focusing on pre and post-operative nutritional education and counseling. Gigi most enjoys the aspect of her work where she gets to know people on an individual basis to provide personalized support.