"Heart-shaped bowl of fruit and veggies"Heart Healthy Recipes & Cooking Tips

Embarking on a journey towards improved health through bariatric surgery is a significant step, and it’s essential to prioritize cardiovascular health post-surgery.  In this support group blog post, we’ll explore practical tips and insights to nurture your heart health on this transformative path.

1. Regular Exercise Routine:  

  • Start with low-impact activities like walking and gradually progress.
  • Consult your healthcare team for a personalized exercise plan.
  • Incorporate both aerobic exercises and strength training to enhance cardiovascular fitness.

2. Heart Healthy Nutrition:

  • Emphasize a balanced diet with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Monitor your intake of saturated fats, sugar, and sodium.
  • Stay hydrated to support overall cardiovascular function.

3.  Vitamin & Mineral Supplementation:

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for post-bariatric surgery supplements.
  • Ensure sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals vital for heart health, such as vitamin D, B-complex vitamins, and magnesium.

4.  Regular Medical Checkups:  

  • Schedule routine checkups with your healthcare team to monitor your cardiovascular health. 
  • Keep track of blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and any other relevant markers.

5.  Behavioral Changes: 

  • Address emotional eating habits through support groups, counseling, or therapy.
  • Practice mindful eating to enhance awareness of food choices and portion control.

6.  Smoking Cessation: 

  • As you are already aware, you must stop smoking before your bariatric surgery.  (There can be no nicotine detected during the test performed to determine whether smoking cessation has occurred.)  This should be a priority, especially to reduce your cardiovascular risks.
  • Seek support from healthcare professionals or support groups for smoking cessation.

7.  Stress Management:  

  • Incorporate stress-reducing activities like mindfulness, meditation, or yoga.
  • Prioritize adequate sleep, as it plays a crucial role in heart health.

8.  Community Support:

  • Engage with your bariatric surgery support group for mutual encouragement.
  • Share experiences, challenges, and successes related to cardiovascular health within the community.

Navigating the post-bariatric surgery journey requires dedication and a holistic approach to health.  By prioritizing cardiovascular well-being through a combination of lifestyle changes, medical guidance, and community support, you’re setting yourself on a path to a heart-healthy and fulfilling life.  

Remember, each step forward is a triumph, and you’re not alone on this transformative journey to a healthier YOU!

Heart Healthy Recipes

Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken with Quinoa Salad


  • Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, or oregano)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Quinoa
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Feta cheese (optional)


  1. Marinate chicken in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, chopped herbs, salt, and pepper.
  2. Grill chicken until cooked through and juicy.
  3. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  4. Dice tomatoes, cucmber, and red onion; mix with cooked quinoa.
  5. Drizzle olive oil, add salt and pepper, and toss the salad.
  6. Serve grilled chicken on a bed of quinoa salad.  Top with feta if desired.

Baked Salmon with Roasted Vegetables


  • Salmon fillets
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Lemon zest
  • Assorted vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini)
  • Fresh herbs (dill or parsley)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven.  Place salmon fillets on baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle garlic powder, lemon zest, and herbs over the salmon.
  3. Chop vegetables and arrange around the salmon.
  4. Season vegetables with salt, pepper, and a touch of olive oil.
  5. Bake until salmon is cooked through, and vegetables are tender.
  6. Garnish with fresh herbs before serving.

Cooking Tips:

  1. Portion Control:  Use small plates to help control portion sizes and prevent overeating.
  2. Lean Proteins:  Opt for lean protein sources like poultry, fish, and tofu to support muscle health.
  3. Steam or Grill:  Choose cooking methods like steaming or grilling to retain nutrients without added fats.
  4. Herbs and Spices:  Enhance flavor without extra calories by using herbs, spices, and citrus instead of excessive salt or heavy sauces.
  5. Hydration:  Stay hydrated, but be sure to drink in between not during meals.
  6. Meal Prep:  Plan and prepare meals ahead to ensure nutritious choices are readily available.

Remember to consult with your bariatric dietitian educator or bariatric surgery healthcare team for personalized advice based on your specific dietary needs post-bariatric surgery.



Janet Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE
By Janet Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE
Janet Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE is Garnet Health Medical Center's Bariatric Surgery Program Director. 

She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the State University at Oneonta and her Master of Science in Education from Queens College University. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Registered Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist, holds an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics certificate of Training in Obesity Interventions for Adults and is a member of the Integrated Health group of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

She brings more than 35 years of clinical, educational and leadership experience to Garnet Health Medical Center, where she spearheaded the Bariatric Surgery Program in 2008, received Accreditation for the program through the ASMBS in 2011, re-accredited the program through the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) in 2014, 2017, currently and continues to lead the program with passion.

Janet can be reached at 845-333-2123 or

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