Adjusting to a new diet after surgery for weight loss is tough. There are things that you want to eat, and you think may be ok if you only have a bite, but a lot of times those foods are big no-no’s for your post-surgical diet plan.
Here’s the problem that a lot of weight surgery patients are up against: you aren’t just cooking for yourself. You may be fine having a small portion of cold-cuts for dinner but your family is looking at you with longing eyes. You can help your entire family eat right, lose weight and improve their health by making meals that are good for you and delicious for them.
This Summer, Put Zucchini on the Menu
As the summer months set in and the temperature is on the rise in South Florida, it gets even harder to plan out a healthy home cooked meal. Who wants to stand over the oven for an hour when the humidity throughout North Miami, Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale is putting the temperature in three-digit range?
Well, turn the AC down a few more degrees and put some flip flops on, it’s time to make summer dinners tasty again.
What would you like for dinner tonight? How about a robust vegetable lasagna or manicotti with diced mushrooms? You may be surprised how many old favorites you can ‘indulge’ in when you replace the typical pasta with blanched zucchini!
Getting Started with Zucchini
Purchase a few large zucchinis from the store. Once you start cooking with them you will be surprised how fast they will go. Once you are home and ready to cook, wash the zucchini’s under running water and cut off the tips. Once your veggies are clean you will want to use a standard apple peeler or a paring knife to cut the zucchini into thin strips.
Once you have your strips you are ready to start slicing or dicing. For traditional spaghetti you will want to cut the peeled strips into smaller strings, while for manicotti or lasagna you will want to keep the ‘noodles’ wide.
To get the vegetable to act like pasta you will need to blanch it. (Don’t worry, its super easy!):
- Bring water to a boil. You will want to boil about one gallon of water for every pound of zucchini.
- Fill a second bowl with half ice and half cold water. Set this bowl near the stove top, but not close enough to where the ice will melt.
- Place the zucchini in the boiling water and leave it there for about three minutes.
- Using a large fork or spoon, fish the zucchini out of the water and put it directly into the ice water.
- Leave the zucchini in ice water for another three minutes.
Once your zucchini is cooled it will be ready to cook and use just like pasta. Use your favorite Italian recipes substituting ingredients as needed to comply with your bariatric diet plan. You can layer zucchini with diced tomatoes, mushrooms and squash in marinara sauce to make tasty lasagna, or you can finely dice mushrooms with rosemary and basil into a fine paste to make manicotti without the cheese.
Hoping for something a bit crunchier? Instead of peeling and blanching the zucchini, dice it into small rounds and bake for thirty minutes at 425 degrees. Sprinkle the veggies with your favorite spices before baking for some healthy, flavor packed veggie chips.
The summers throughout North Miami, Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale and the rest of South Florida are scorching hot. Don’t let the heat go to your head. Zucchini makes for a light meal that is great for your post-bariatric diet and good for your family too.