Cooking for One after Weight Loss Surgery

Steph Wagner

March 3, 2015

Cooking for One After Weight Loss Surgery

cooking for one after weight loss surgery recipes and tips from bariatric dietitian steph wagner on foodcoachme

Tips and recipes for single serving, simple meals

It’s very hard to find motivation when no one else is counting on you for a meal and you know there’ll be more food than you can possibly eat! Why even bother and spend the time in the kitchen for just you?

No one is surprised that living a healthy post-op bariatric lifestyle requires planning ahead and keeping variety in your new diet. When you live alone and eat deli meat and cheese for dinner, after a while, it starts getting pretty old. It won’t be long until you get stuck in a rut and can’t possibly think about what else to do for dinner.

Although for many patients, and in my own past experience, it  can be easier to stick to a healthy diet plan when you live alone.


1. You don’t have to worry about anyone else’s food preferences.

When you only have to think about your own food likes and dislikes, dinner plans are so…much…easier.

2. You don’t have to worry about if there will be leftovers for lunch tomorrow. 

When you live alone, you can make a meal and know exactly how long that meal will last you. You can also freeze half of it and have a “built in” backup plan in your freezer.

**On that note, I’ll link some recipes at the end of this article that are great serving sizes for one.

3. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s tempting food being in the house. 

When you live with others, you can’t always control what’s in the pantry. My husband is an active guy. He runs, has a naturally high metabolism and has the appetite of, well, a man. Plus, if I put him on my low carb diet plan it may not be good for our marriage ;) While he is not picky and does eat what I fix him, he does have a snack cabinet with his foods inside.

That being said, there are some foods that are not allowed in our house. As a courtesy to each other, we have a list of foods that aren’t welcomed. I don’t get terribly tempted by the foods in his cabinet, but if he were to bring in graham crackers or vanilla wafers….contraband! I’d eat the whole box in one night.

4. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s time frame for when to have the meal ready.

When you live alone, you make dinner and sit down and eat it when you want!

Although a word to the wise here, when you are cooking and eating alone…put a sugar-free breath mint in your mouth while you cook to keep from grazing while you make your meal. Sit down at the table and get comfortable eating by yourself at the table. It’s a great time to stop and put a pause on your day and enjoy your meal. Don’t turn on the tv or get on the phone. It’s a healthy practice to have a set meal time at a table.

One more note….

Maybe you live alone but you’re hoping that isn’t the case forever. My suggestion to you – make cooking and eating at home a priority now and that will prepare you even more so when others are in the house. It was a very smooth transition for me to become a wife and make meals for my husband. Why? Because I was already doing it. I would make dinner and sit down and eat it alone. When I got married, I would make dinner and sit down and eat it with him. The only thing that changed was needing to make bigger portions so I had enough for lunch the next day!

Recipes for one:

Cooking videos – these videos are a sample of the “Cooking for One” Video Course available to FoodCoachMe Members. 

My tip here is when you are going to cook, go ahead and make a “normal” sized recipe so you can eat the rest for other meals during the week. If you grow tired of leftovers quickly, freeze half of the meal and reheat it another week when you feel ready for that meal again.

Meals in muffin pans are great single serving meals. A few examples in the recipes below.

Chicken Parmesan Mini Meatloaf  – members recipe

Mini Zucchini Meatloaf 

Blue Cheese Mini Meatloaf 

Classic Mini Meatloaf 

Sun Dried Tomato Mini Meatloaf

I’m also a huge fan of Crockpot meals when cooking for one. You can cook as little as one chicken breast or make more and have leftovers! Here are some of the simplest ones:

Greek Chicken 

Pork Tenderloin with Banana Peppers

Pulled Barbecue Chicken – members recipe

4 Ingredient Green Chile Chicken – members recipe

Barbecue Chicken Salad 

Cheese Steak & Peppers

And finally, a quick and simple stovetop recipe is always welcome. Here are some of my favorites:

Southwest Stuffed Burger

Tasty Tiny Steak Bites 

Simple Salmon Burgers – members recipe

Ranch Taco Chicken Bowl – members recipe

Hamburger Salad

Chicken Avocado Burger

Here’s to always being a better version of ourselves. In every way possible. We may not be where want to be, but we’re better than we were yesterday! Thank God for that :)

– Steph

4 thoughts on “Cooking for One after Weight Loss Surgery”

  1. Hi Cathy! It depends on which meal you are referring to. Each recipe will list how many servings it yields. For postops, I don’t have a set portion size that I recommend for everyone. Instead, I encourage patients to take small bites, eat slowly and identify their own stopping point that is true for them. Here is a great video on “Eating Habits After Surgery” in one of my members video courses. Thank you for the message! You can also reach me by email at

  2. Dear Steph,
    I had surgery back in December 2019. I have lost a total of 125 pounds but I have seemed to hit a snag with food. I started to eat comfort food (process foods). I hit a plateau. Do you have any suggestions? I love your mini muffin portions. Do you think I need to invest in a food processors to make the meat softer?
    Thank you!

  3. @Tayde
    Congratulations on your amazing weight loss! 125 pounds gone has to feel amazing! I would not use a food processor but instead take smaller bites and go slowly. Focus on lean protein and veggies and use a ratio of two small bites protein to one small bite vegetables stopping at your first natural sign of fullness. Then focus on water in between meals and be careful of the snacks/starchy foods/sweets. I would recommend my video course “Hunger and Bariatric Surgery” because controlling hunger means controlling weight!

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