An often challenging task with bariatric surgery is figuring out how to make your favorite foods more bariatric-friendly. After all, we don’t want to give up our favorite foods completely. Since I love a good challenge, I’m always trying to invent new recipes that are low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates, but high in protein and super delicious. These chicken parmesan meatballs fit the bill. It’s a fun twist on a traditional meatball and can be served in a variety of ways. They are delicious by themselves, with a salad or served over protein pasta. Although you should wait until you reach the soft foods stage of your post-bariatric diet to make these meatballs, you should try bariatric-friendly meals before surgery. You’ll get used to the flavors and techniques to set yourself up for success. Chicken parmesan meatballs are a delicious meal full of protein.
Making Recipes Bariatric-Friendly
I used to make chicken parmesan meatballs often when I was married. They were a quick weeknight meal that my ex-husband and I both loved. While I only have to worry about myself these days, I still make these meatballs pretty often. I love them. I was inspired to make these meatballs after reading a post on Facebook about chicken parmesan sliders. It sounded like a good idea to make them into meatballs that we could eat with pasta or put on sub rolls for chicken parmesan meatball subs. They were so good, and they quickly ended up in my weekly rotation of dinners.
When I had my bariatric surgery, I knew I wanted to still make the chicken parmesan meatballs. I took out some of the breadcrumbs from the original recipe and replaced it with whole wheat breadcrumbs and extra cheese. Making simple food swaps for recipe ingredients allows me to turn an old favorite into a bariatric-friendly favorite. I approach every recipe I want to transform into something bariatric-friendly in this manner. I look at the ingredients, choose which ones may not fit a bariatric lifestyle, and then ask myself what I can use to replace it. I’ve had some misses over many tries, but for the most part, my recipe transformations are a hit.
Ways to Eat Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Before bariatric surgery, I could probably down four or five chicken parmesan meatballs plus a huge helping of pasta, sauce and cheese. Now, one or two meatballs are plenty, and I have some kind of vegetable side with it. I think roasted broccoli or zucchini, seasoned with garlic and parmesan cheese, makes an excellent side. You could also do a side salad with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Alternatively, zoodles would make an excellent base for under the meatballs to eat with them.
If you want the spaghetti and meatballs feel, I suggest getting Banza Chickpea Pasta. I have tried a few different varieties of high-protein pasta, and I think this one tastes the best. It’s made from chickpeas instead of flour, so the protein content is pretty high. You only need a small scoop of pasta to fill you up with the meatballs, so don’t think you need to make a huge pot to go with your meatballs. You can find these noodles on Amazon or at Target. I’ve also made pasta salads, macaroni and cheese, chicken alfredo and baked spaghetti casserole using Banza Chickpea Pasta, and it all turns out great.
What Post-Op Phase Can I Eat Meatballs?
As you are preparing for bariatric surgery, you may be wondering which phase you can eat these chicken parmesan meatballs. Since you can start eating ground meats during the soft foods stage, you should wait until at least then to eat these. However, remember that your stomach just had major surgery and needs time to heal. It might not be ready to digest these meatballs quite yet. If you aren’t sure, always wait. It’s probably best to wait at least six months from surgery to try these meatballs.
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Since you’re preparing for bariatric surgery, remember that the most successful bariatric patients make changes before surgery. If you can get used to eating bariatric-friendly foods before surgery, it will make it easier after surgery when you’re adjusting to your new life and your new body. Plus, these meatballs are great if you’re trying to eat healthier, as you’re not using fatty ground beef in the meatballs at all. And really, they are so tasty, that even non-bariatric people love them. I hope they become part of your regular dinner rotation.
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
First, gather all of your ingredients:
- Ground chicken
- Parmesan Cheese
- Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
- Italian Seasoning
- Tomato Sauce
- Garlic Powder (or two cloves minced garlic)
- Olive Oil
- Mozzarella Cheese slices
Step One: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray. Set to the side.
Step Two: In a mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings. Don’t be afraid to mix it with your hands!
Step Three: Shape them into 12 chicken parmesan meatballs, a little bigger than a golf ball and place them onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Step Four: In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce with olive oil and mix well. Spoon evenly over the meatballs. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Step Five: Carefully pull the meatballs out of the oven. Add one teaspoon of spaghetti sauce over each meatball. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and top with one slice of mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional five to seven minutes, or until the cheese melts and begins to slightly brown.
Step Six: Let cool on pan for one to two minutes. Use a metal spatula to remove from the pan to the plate and make sure to get all of that yummy, gooey cheese onto the plate. Enjoy!
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese plus extra for topping
- 1/2 cup Whole heat breadcrumbs
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 12 slices mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil. Spray with cooking spray.
- Combine the ground chicken, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, pepper and spices in a bowl. Use your hands to combine well.
- Form 12 meatballs from mixture. They should be slightly bigger than a golf ball.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup marinara sauce and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix well. Add 1 tsp marinara sauce mixtures to the top of each meatball. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp marinara sauce to the top of each meatball and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Add one slice of mozzarella cheese.
- Place back in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until cheese melts and starts to get golden brown.
Make These Tonight!
Next time you need a delicious and quick weeknight meal (like umm, tonight?), try these chicken parm meatballs! They’ll soon become a family favorite, and you’ll make them often. They are high in protein, low in fat and carbs and super delicious. You can eat them with a variety of sides (including pasta!), and your whole family will love them! Give them a try today (as long as you’re pre-op or passed the soft foods stage of the post-bariatric diet). Let me know what you think and what you eat with them!
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You should wait until you are at the soft foods stage at the very least before eating meatballs. Ideally, you’ll wait until you are at least six months from surgery to have any kind of meatballs. This ensures enough time has passed for your stomach to heal properly. Always consult your doctor if you’re not sure.