Bariatric Meal Plan: Holiday Edition with Chef Rose Archer

Friday, December 6, 2019

I adore the holidays. I love the lights, the time off work to spend with family and friends, cutting down our own Christmas tree and, of course, I love all the foods that we often don't eat any other time of the year.

What I don't love is how I often feel afterward. Both right after the meal and in January! 😒

People like to blame the amino acid, tryptophan, in turkey as the thing that makes them sleepy. But it's not. It's the volume of food and the high amount of fat and sugar in everything. (Curious to know more? Check out this article here)

So what would it feel like to know you get to decide how you felt after your festive holiday meal? I think pretty well!

And that starts with what you put on your Livliga plate.

Side Story 😜: When I was married in my 20's, I was at my first Thanksgiving with my in-laws. I adored them, and when one of them said we would be having "green salad" at our big dinner, I was surprised and excited. So when we sat down at the table and they passed me the "green salad" I was in for a bigger surprise. Green Salad in Texas meant green jello with fruit cocktail stirred in. Maybe even cool whip! 😂 I think they still tell that story of the health nut from Maui that used to be married to their son!

So back to our conversation! One of the recipes I could never embrace (besides "green salad”) was the sickly sweet canned yams with brown sugar and marshmallows. 🤢😆 So this recipe started with wanting to find something that would fill that spot.

Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash--a great holiday edition

Deciding to add spiciness was intentional. Something our palates like is variety and something that is often lacking on holiday menus. Everything is either salty and rich or sweet and rich, which I know.....is delicious!

But because there is no variety, it's easy to overeat as our palates are wanting to feel satisfied. By adding different flavors, spices, and complexity, it makes us satisfied sooner, and we eat less food. You can vary the spice level in this recipe to your liking. You can use half a jalapeno or none at all. The Fresno chilis are very mild, so I would keep them in.

The sweetness is a little bit of a trick. There is no sweetener of any kind in the recipe. But by adding pumpkin pie spice, we trick our brains into tasting sweetness because it associates that flavor with sweet pie.

If this recipe doesn't make it onto your holiday menu, I hope you will try it sometime this winter while the squash is at its peak flavor and lowest cost.

You can find the full recipe here: https://trueyoufood.com/sweet-spicy-butternut-squash/



Fresh Cranberry Salsa...served up on Livliga!

The second recipe I decided to shake up was the traditional cranberry sauce. I love the sweet-tart flavor of cranberries. And I will admit I like all varieties: canned smooth, canned with chunks, jarred, and obviously, I love it when it's made fresh.

But at that same thanksgiving dinner where I was served "green salad," there was a cranberry sauce that I have never forgotten. My husband's aunt had diabetes, so every year she volunteered to make the cranberry sauce. She didn't cook it with gobs of sugar. She meticulously chopped all the fresh cranberries and stirred in just a tiny bit of sugar. Then she let it sit overnight to soften all the berries and get juicy. It was a bit crunchy still and very tart. I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

So last year, I was at a Christmas party, and someone had brought an appetizer of cranberry salsa over cream cheese. I knew I had found my inspiration for this next recipe. It has all the best parts of that fresh cranberry salsa I had years ago but with a better balance of sweetness to tartness. And it has a kick from both a minced jalapeño and grated fresh ginger. Feel free to adjust the level of spiciness to your liking. I wouldn’t delete the ginger all together though. The floral flavor of ginger is what sets this recipe apart from many others.


This salsa stores well for more than a week in your fridge. It is excellent served in place of traditional cranberry sauce and as a topping for appetizers (the cream cheese with it was fantastic!). Oh, and using a food processor to chop up the cranberries makes this recipe come together very quickly!

You can find the full recipe here: https://trueyoufood.com/fresh-cranberry-salsa/

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Guest Blogger Bio


Rose Archer is the founder and chef of True You Food. A medically-inspired, chef-taught culinary video series that teaches post weight loss surgery patients how to cook healthy food that they'll love. With over 100 videos and 85 worksheets in a 10 module program, you will learn to be confident in the kitchen, love what you're eating and never diet again!


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