Mashed Potatoes! Apple Crisp! Stuffing! Holiday food can either inspire excitement or anxiety – or both – depending on your mind-set. Carb heavy meals and sweet treats are the root of many holiday meals, office parties, and events over the upcoming months. No one wants to feel deprived during the happiest time of year, so we are here to offer some insight on how to make it through the holidays without binge-eating, stressing out, or getting off track!

First and foremost, as long as you stay within your post-op guidelines you can allow yourself to indulge in the “real thing” over thanksgiving within reason. One of our Registered Dietitians, Annie, says that “the thanksgiving meal itself is not the problem, it’s the leftovers from thanksgiving that we continue to eat for the next week that are the true problem. Don’t make it a week long feast, make it a one meal indulgence.” Her recommendation: send the leftovers home with family and friends so they are not in the house for temptation.

Another rule would be to start with smaller portions. Grab half of what you think you would eat and truly enjoy each and every bite you take. Eat slow and chew slow so your body can cue fullness and satiety. As always, start with your protein and non-starchy vegetables and then move on to the carbohydrates and dessert. Eating this way will allow you to fill up on your healthier leaner food items so you will only need a few bites of the remaining items to be satisfied. 

Finally, try to refocus the main objective of thanksgiving away from eating. Enjoy the company you are around and the family and friends you do not get to see often! Be thankful to be able to spend quality time with your loved ones! 

We have listed some bariatric friendly thanksgiving dishes approved by our dietitians below: 

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Heat a large stock pot (with steamer attachment) over high heat until boiling.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic cloves to a steaming basket and place over boiling water. Cover and steam until cauliflower is soft when poked with a fork, about 6-8 minutes. (Tip: If you let the cauliflower cool down a bit after it’s done steaming, it’ll dry out a bit, which makes it much easier to get a good texture on the mash. It also lets you add other flavorful liquids to balance out the moisture content.)
  3. Add the steamed cauliflower and garlic to a food processor (or, if you’d prefer, mix in a large bowl with an immersion blender or a potato masher). Add the parmesan, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pulse the food processor until all contents are mostly smooth. You want some texture here, but not a lot. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender or to move around the cauliflower to make sure it all gets mashed. Use the almond milk, tbsp. by tbsp., as needed to bring the mixture together. Try not to use too much as this will cause the mixture to get soupy. You want to keep it as thick as possible (like mashed potatoes).
  5. Serve hot. Garnish with fresh chives or whatever you like on your mashed potatoes

Serves: 4 | Calories: 103 | Fat: 3g | Carbs: 13.9 | Protein: 7.5g |


Low Carb Stuffing


  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp .minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  2. To skillet, add onion, carrot and celery and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower, mushrooms, salt, and pepper and sauté until tender, breaking apart cauliflower florets as they soften, about 12 minutes.
  4. Add sage, rosemary and parsley and stir until well-combined.
  5. Pour in chicken broth, cover and cook until liquid is fully absorbed, about 13-15 minutes.

Serves: 6| Calories: 108 | Fat: 7.5g | Carbs: 8.1 | Protein: 2.8g |


Healthy Chicken Gravy


  • 12 cup finely chopped onion
  • 12 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch pepper


  1. In a saucepan, saute onion, mushrooms and parsley in ¼ cup broth until vegetables are tender.
  2. Combine cornstarch, pepper, and ½ cup of broth; stir until smooth.
  3. Add to pan with the remaining broth.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; boil for 2 minutes.

Serves: 6 | Calories: 17.2 | Fat: 0g | Carbs: 4g | Protein: 0.4g |


Healthy Green Bean Casserole


  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 28 oz. frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup crushed pork rinds
  • 1 tsp. dried onions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the bacon to a medium skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is beginning to brown. 
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the bacon and continue cooking and stirring until bacon is crisp and onion is soft.
  4. Drain all but 1 tbsp. of grease from the skillet.
  5. Add the cream cheese and chicken broth to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the green beans to a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle the top with the pork rinds and dried minced onion. 
  8. Bake for 30 minutes and serve immediately! 

Serves: 8 | Calories: 250 | Fat: 17g | Carbs: 5g | Protein: 15g |


Healthy Cranberry Sauce


  • 8 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 40 drops liquid stevia


  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the cranberries and water. Allow to reduce until you achieve consistency.
  2. The cranberries will burst and the should take about 8-10 minutes. 
  3. Once fully reduced and thickened to liking, remove from heat, and stir in the chia seeds and liquid stevia.
  4. Serve immediately. 

Serves: 8 | Calories: 30 | Fat: 0.75g | Carbs: 4.8g | Protein: 0.75g |


Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse


  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 – 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup confectioners erythritol
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and pumpkin puree. Using a hand mixer, cream the two together until there are no visible clumps and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the erythritol, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and heavy cream. Mix until all ingredients are will incorporated.
  3. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Serves: 10 | Calories: 215 | Fat: 18g | Carbs: 3g | Protein: 3g |

We hope you enjoy these recipes over Thanksgiving and, even more importantly, enjoy that special time with your friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

If you have any specific questions related to this information provided or would like to make an appointment with us, feel free to contact The Bariatric Center of Kansas City, 913-677-6319. Our specialists can assist you with information and bariatric support.