Bariatric BBQ

Getting an invite to a family or friends barbecue is always exciting, but when you have had bariatric surgery, the second thought is often about not being able to eat. Many years after my RNY surgery, going to a bbq remains a bariatric challenge as there is hidden sugar in many summer dishes and pork remains much too dense for me to eat unless I want to test it and upchuck in the bushes.

Here are a few tips, some of which were learned the hard way so you don’t have to! Have a great start to your summer.

1. Do NOT trust bbq sauce. The stuff in a plastic bottle has tons of high fructose corn syrup that is like injecting sugar with a syringe. Don’t use it. Even a little. INSTEAD, make and take a bowl of my Homestyle SF BBQ Sauce and no one will want the chicken doused with the stuff from the plastic bottle!

2. Cole slaw is a good news-bad news food. Bad news is that store bought cole slaw has high fructose corn syrup or sugar that can cause you to throw up on your new sandals (not a Princess move). GOOD NEWS is that slaw is easy to make and my Blue Cheese Slaw recipe below tasty, plus you can slop it on even a dry burger to make it bariatric edible.

3. I always take something that I am able to eat in case the food at the bbq is not bariatric friendly. Shrimp Deviled Eggs, Mexican Seafood Cocktail, Cheddar Cheese Brownies are portable and tasty for everyone!

4. Dessert can be deadly. There will definitely be some cake or dessert at a bbq! Either make my No Bake SF Strawberry Cheesecake or go super simple and TAKE A WATERMELON. Don’t wing it, as people will feel sorry for you and that is a party killer unless you enjoy playing victim.


No Sugar BBQ Sauce

5 from 1 reviews
Homemade No Sugar Barbecue Sauce
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Most bottles of barbecue sauce have enough sugar to just about kill a bariatric post op. This is one of those products that uses a small serving size to appear to be low in sugar and calories - often showing 2 teaspoons or even 1 tablespoon of sauce - and coming in at 10 or more grams of sugar. Make a big bowl of this no sugar sauce and keep it in the fridge to last for a couple of weekends of saucing chicken and ribs. Its so good your friends will tell you to bottle it!
Serves: Makes 4 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup Smuckers Sugar Free Apricot Preserves
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until golden brown and softened. Reduce heat to low and add ketchup, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, preserves, salt, pepper, chili powder, and Liquid Smoke; simmer 30 to 45 minutes, until mixture is thick and delicious.
  2. Sauce those ribs, burgers, and chicken!

 Blue Cheese Cole Slaw

5 from 1 reviews
Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
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Too many people buy cole slaw these days and it is not nearly as good as homemade. This version has blue cheese and is exceptional. Everyone will love it and its great for wetting down bbq chicken or a elevating a plain burger patty.
  • ¾ cup Hellmanns Light Mayonnaise
  • One 6 ounce cup Fage Total Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces crumbled blue cheese - I love Maytag Blue Cheese
  • 1 small head green cabbage - I slice mine with a knife as I like shredded and not grated - or you can use 2 pounds of Cole Slaw mix and skip the carrots!
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled, shredded or grated
  1. Whisk the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, mustard, vinegar, celery salt, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add the shredded cabbage and carrots and mix well. Fold in the blue cheese and chill before serving.


13 thoughts on “Bariatric BBQ Tips: How to Navigate the Sauce and Slaw!

  1. Jason says:

    Out of curiosity, couldn’t the 3 cups of ketchup in the recipe contain the High Fructose Corn-syrup and/or sugar?

  2. Suzanne Picott says:

    Both the bbq sauce and Cole slaw recipes are amazing! I do, sometimes, add tiny mandarin oranges to he Cole slaw in honor of my mos recipe. But that’s where the similarities end. This is sooooo good. Not a lot of those oranges btw… mostly for color

  3. Mary says:

    Is there a recipe for tuna macaroni salad that isn’t all mayo or miracle whip. i miss not being able to ear that. Definetly will have to try the BBQ sauce. I bought a couple SF but there was only one that tasted any good.

    • Suzanne Shaw says:

      If you have weight loss surgery Macaroni isn’t a good that’s going to lead to long-term success whether or not you put mayo on it. It’s not the mayo we need to be aware of always, sometimes some foods are just off limits. 😉

    • Suzanne Picott says:

      Maybe tuna, chopped celery, halved cherry tomatoes and a sf dressing. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have sugar free mayo. I might even add black olives because they appeal to me.

  4. CeeJay says:

    Please forgive my ignorance. I had gastric sleeve surgery June 6th and I continue to read and seek knowledge and experiment a bit, to find what works best for my tummy and my budget! I was wondering whether the bottled sugar free barbecue sauces and doctoring them up,to get more flavor would be a less expensive option for someone like me, on a fixed income. Your thoughts.

    • Suzanne Shaw says:

      Try them the way they are first. Remember sauces are an enhancement, not a Flavor changer. The food itself has a lot of wonderful flavors if you let is shine!

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