New Jersey Bariatric Center moves to Telemedicine

Telemedicine now available at NJBC

In our effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and accommodate our patient’s needs, New Jersey Bariatric Center now offers telemedicine appointments.

Scheduling a Telemedicine Appointment

Call our office at 908-481-1270 or click here to schedule a telemedicine appointment. After scheduling, patients will receive a confirmation email from us with a link to access their appointment.  Telemedicine appointments will be conducted via The platform is secure, easy-to-use and allows patients to stay connected with their New Jersey Bariatric Center doctors.  Telemedicine appointments are available for current and new patients.   

What to Expect during a Telemedicine Appointment

During a telemedicine session, patients will speak directly with a member of the New Jersey Bariatric Center clinical staff – surgeons, physician assistant or nutritionists – based on the type of appointment they schedule. Current pre-op patients can stay on track for their future procedures, new patients can learn about weight loss surgery procedures like the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass and post-op patients can maintain their care and follow-up.

At New Jersey Bariatric Center the safety of our patients, staff and communities we serve is a priority.  We hope by introducing telemedicine to our patients during the NJ Coronavirus Stay-At-Home Order we can keep everyone safe, healthy and on their weight loss journey.

For more information about scheduling a telemedicine appointment or if you have questions about an existing appointment, please call our office at 908-481-1270. 

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Wegovy®, Saxenda® or Qsymia®: Which Prescription Weight Loss Medication is Best for Me?

Currently, there are several FDA-approved anti-obesity medications available to patients who qualify.  These medications include  Wegovy®, Saxenda®, Qsymia® and a few more in clinical trials like Mounjaro™, but with so many choices how do you know which medication is best for you? Let’s review everything you need to help you decide. 

Do I Qualify?

First, determine if you meet the criteria for medical weight loss. 

How Do The Medications Work?

Each weight loss medication is designed to decrease hunger while simultaneously increasing feelings of satiety, leading to reduced food intake and overall absorption of calories. 

Wegovy® & Saxenda®

Wegovy® (semaglutide) and Saxenda® (liraglutide) are both injectable prescription medications that assist in weight loss by mimicking a hormone that targets areas of the brain that regulates appetite and satiety (fullness), this can help with your overall portion control and ultimately weight loss.  

Wegovy® contains semaglutide, an active ingredient originally used only for the treatment of diabetes in a medication called Ozempic®.  When it was determined that the use of semaglutide to treat diabetes also helped the diabetic patients lose weight, Ozempic underwent a clinical trial for FDA-approval to treat obesity. Today we know this medication under the brand name Wegovy®, which is prescribed at a higher dose to treat obesity.

Wegovy® is a once-weekly self-administered injection and Saxenda® is a daily self-administered injection. Studies have shown that these medications are seeing slightly more weight loss (15-20% of total body weight) compared to Qsymia®. This means that a patient who weighs 200 pounds can expect to lose between 30-40 pounds on average with Wegovy® & Saxenda®


Another commonly prescribed weight loss medication is Qsymia®, otherwise known as Phentermine/Topamax. Phentermine is a stimulant that  works as an appetite suppressant and its combination with Topamax helps to control food cravings. 

Qsymia® is a daily extended release tablet, which means the medication slowly releases over time giving the patient a longer lasting overall suppression of appetite, as well as helps to control cravings and snacking. The average weight loss is around 10% of total body weight which means a patient that is 200 pounds can expect to lose an average of 20 pounds.

On the Horizon: Mounjaro

Mounjaro, also known as Tirzepatide, is a medication that is FDA-approved for diabetes, but is currently in clinical trials for approval for obesity.  Mounjaro works by targeting GLP-1 receptors, proteins involved in the control of your blood sugar. This can lead to increased feelings of satiety.  Mounjaro also mimics another hormone called GIP or glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide. This can help decrease the amount of food eaten. Early results of the studies are showing a higher percentage decrease in body weight. 

When and if  it receives FDA-approval for the treatment of obesity, we will post an update. 

When deciding which weight loss medication is right for you, it's important to consider the average weight loss; side effects; whether or not you prefer injections or capsules, and obesity-related conditions. 

As with all weight loss medications, there are side effects. It’s important to discuss the side effects of any medication you are taking with your healthcare provider. 

The team at New Jersey Bariatric Center developed a comprehensive medical weight loss program from our experience treating and guiding patients on prescription weight loss medications during the last decade. Our experience taught us that weight loss goals are successfully achieved when doctor visits and weight loss medication are combined with long-term support and consistent nutrition education and counseling. To request more information on our medial weight loss program or to request an appointment, click here


Singh, G., Krauthamer, M., & Bjalme-Evans, M. (2022). Wegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management. Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research, 70(1), 5–13.

New Cleveland Clinic Study: Bariatric Surgery and Lower Mortality Rates of Heart Attack Patients

Heart attack is the leading cause of death in the US, and obesity is one of the main risk factors. A study by the Cleveland Clinic analyzed the data of almost 300,000 patients with obesity and the results showed  lower rates of mortality and complications1 among patients who suffered a heart attack with a history of bariatric surgery compared to those who never had bariatric surgery. 

The results of the study indicate how effective weight loss can be in preventing premature death and severe complications, and how bariatric surgery plays a significant role. The Cleveland Clinic data showed that compared to patients with obesity who did not have bariatric surgery, bariatric surgery patients were 3 times less likely to die of a heart attack. Also, they had less severe complications such as respiratory failure (2.2% vs 4.2%) and were less likely to die while hospitalized for the heart attack (0.8% vs 2.3%). 

How Bariatric Surgery Can Help

Obesity is a disease that bariatric surgery does not cure, however, losing weight with weight loss procedures such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass lowers the body-mass index (BMI) which decreases strain on the heart muscle. With less excess body weight, the heart works less to pump blood and does not need to overexert itself, reducing the risk of a heart attack and the risk of more severe complications if someone does have a heart attack. Combined with diet and exercise, weight loss with bariatric surgery contributes to the resolution or reduction of other health conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure, as well.

Losing Weight with Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery - gastric sleeve and gastric bypass - starts weight loss by reducing the size of the stomach and slowing down the secretion of hunger hormones called Ghrelin. With a smaller sized stomach, you feel fuller on smaller portions of food. With the gastric sleeve, on average, patients lose between 40-70% of their excess body weight as early as 12 months after the procedure. And, with gastric bypass, not only do patients lose weight because they cannot eat as much, they also absorb fewer calories resulting in an average of 60-80% of their excess body weight lost.

Early Intervention

The report underscores the importance of early intervention in patients with obesity. Speak with your doctor if you struggle with obesity and are concerned about a heart condition to find out if bariatric surgery may be an option for you. At New Jersey Bariatric Center we offer additional resources along with bariatric surgery to help you achieve long-term sustainable health. Our team provides nutritional counseling, meal planning, recipe ideas and virtual exercise classes to help patients maintain healthy habits and sustain weight loss both before and after surgery.

For more questions or to make an appointment, give us a call at 908-481-1270. 


  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, May 20). Bariatric surgery impacts heart attack outcomes. Cleveland Clinic, from 
  2. For heart patients, bariatric surgery may lower risk of future cardiovascular problems. (2022, January 3), from 

Healthy or Not: Is Greens Powder Good For You?

Greens powder is a dietary supplement made from powdered fruits and vegetables. Lately it is becoming more popular but is greens powder good for you and can it be added to a bariatric diet? The short answer is yes but with medical clearance and, it should not be used as a replacement for a healthy, bariatric diet.

Check with your doctor first

Before adding any supplement into your diet, we always recommend checking with your doctor first. This way you can rule out any interactions with other medications or medical conditions you may have. And, if you’ve recently had weight loss surgery whether it's gastric sleeve or bypass, we advise waiting until you are at least one month post surgery to add greens powder. This way you can focus on your protein intake to help maintain lean body mass. 

Potential benefits of Greens Powders

The benefits of greens powders may vary depending on the specific products and ingredients. The dried fruits and vegetables can be beneficial to add extra vitamins, minerals and probiotics that may be lacking in your diet. These benefits can help support a healthy immune system and reduce inflammation. 

When considering specific brands, we always encourage our bariatric patients to check the nutrition facts label and ingredient list for added sugars. Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood Juiced Greens Powder contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, K, folate, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese, 25 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein per serving. The nutritional label doesn’t list any added sugars or alternative sweeteners which makes it a good choice for a bariatric diet. 

Limitations of Greens Powders

It’s important to note that greens powders should not be used as a replacement for a healthy diet. This is because they do not replace the whole food version of fruits and veggies. Most greens powders are processed by juicing the fruits and veggies, dehydrating them and then grinding them into a fine powder that mixes with liquids. Because juicing any fruit or vegetable lowers the fiber content, greens powders are often much lower in fiber than if you were to consume the fruit or veggie in its whole and natural form. Unless your greens powder has added fiber, we recommend adding it to a protein smoothie along with some frozen fruit to make up for the fiber loss.   

If you’re considering greens powder to add more fruits and veggies into your diet, we recommend adding a scoop to your daily protein shake. Or you can drink them alongside a protein and fiber-filled meal. Keep in mind that after having weight loss surgery, green powders can be gas-inducing. If this occurs, discontinue use and contact your doctor. 

RELATED: Healthier Soda Alternatives

For more questions or to make an appointment, call us at 908-481-1270. 

New Jersey Bariatric Center® Opens New Location in Totowa, NJ

Office to Serve Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass Patients in Passaic County

SPRINGFIELD, N.J., November 30, 2022 – New Jersey Bariatric Center® (NJBC), an industry leader in medical and surgical weight loss, is announcing a new office location in northeastern New Jersey to serve its growing patient base.

Located in Totowa, NJ, this is NJBC’s seventh office within the state. Patients can expect services including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, revision surgery, general surgery, gastric balloon, prescription-based medical weight loss, and nutrition counseling.

“We are excited to bring more options to Passaic county residents who are looking for long-term, sustainable weight loss solutions,“ said Dr. Ajay Goyal, founder of the New Jersey Bariatric Center. “Our team is committed to helping our patients fight obesity and achieve their happiest and healthiest weight.”

The new office space located at 500 Union Boulevard in Totowa, NJ is within close proximity to Routes 46, 23 and 80.

“This new location will also offer more convenience to our patients in surrounding neighborhoods,” said Goyal.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 908-481-1270.

New Jersey Bariatric Center®, a medical and surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Hackettstown and Sparta New Jersey, helps patients achieve long-term weight loss success through the most advanced bariatric surgery procedures, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, LAP-BAND procedures and revision surgery. Led by Ajay Goyal MD, FACS, the team of surgeons James Buwen DO, FACOS, Tina Thomas, MD, FACS and Micheal Fastiggi, MD and physician assistants Samah Morsy and Alexis Begliomini, the New Jersey Bariatric Center’s approach to patient care has resulted in zero mortalities and a complication rate that is lower than the national average. For more information about bariatric surgery, visit

Losing Weight with Gastric Bypass Surgery

How does the gastric bypass help you lose weight? What are the health benefits? How long is the recovery? These three questions are always top of mind for our gastric bypass patients.  If you’re considering gastric bypass surgery to help you lose weight, here are a few important facts to know.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Helps You Eat Less & Absorb Fewer Calories

Gastric bypass surgery helps patients lose weight by creating a small stomach pouch and rerouting the path food takes so you feel full faster and absorb fewer calories. After surgery, the food “bypasses” a large section of the stomach and part of the small intestine, creating an early sense of fullness in your stomach. This approach, which is restrictive (restricts the amount of food) and malabsorptive (reduces the amount of calories absorbed), helps jumpstart weight loss. The gastric bypass procedure also reduces the amount of ghrelin (hunger hormone) in your stomach resulting in less overall hunger. 

Many Patients Experience Health Benefits After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery typically lose around 60-80% of their excess body weight. Along with losing weight, gastric bypass surgery can also result in the resolution of obesity-related medical conditions such as: 

Recovery After Losing Weight with Gastric Bypass Surgery

On average, patients usually stay in the hospital 1-2 days following a gastric bypass procedure, and are encouraged to be up and walking as soon as they are able to after surgery. Before patients leave the hospital, the NJBC surgical team will make sure that you are tolerating liquids, your pain is managed and you are comfortable moving around. 

As with any surgery there are side effects and risks to weight loss procedures. To read more about side effects and risks associated with the gastric bypass, visit our Side Effects & Risks page.

If you have more questions about  gastric bypass surgery give us a call at 908-481-1270.

*Metabolic and bariatric surgery. (2018, October). In the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from

Move It To Lose It: Exercise after Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve or LAP-BAND® surgery

What is the best exercise for weight loss?  The short answer is “anything you’ll stick with long-term!” But when it comes to weight loss surgery (Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and LAP-BAND®), this often isn’t as simple as it sounds.  Excess body weight, loose skin, a smaller stomach and pre-existing joint or spine conditions are just a few of the things bariatric surgery patients may need to consider when embarking on the fitness portion of their weight loss journey.

Before we get into what bariatric exercises are best or how to exercise, let’s explore why exercise is so important for Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve or LAP-BAND® patients. After all, you’ve probably tried exercise for weight loss before with mixed results so you’re skeptical that you will find something that works for you. Some bariatric patients believe they won’t need exercise because the surgery does all the work to lose the weight. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, studies have shown that a critical factor for the long-term success of weight loss surgery patients is committing to a safe, sustainable exercise program.

Physical activity is the second most important behavioral factor for predicting long-term weight loss success after surgery, second only to improved dietary habits.  By incorporating exercise prior to surgery, patients may experience a boost in metabolism and shorter recovery times.  A recent study also found that adults who add walking to their daily routines following Gastric Bypass improved cardiovascular health and reduced their risk of diabetes.

Are you convinced yet? Before you jump up and tie on your running shoes, you’ll need to learn how to incorporate exercise in a way that maximizes its benefits and minimizes the chances of injury. All it takes is a little careful planning and extra thought and you’ll be off walking, biking and training in no time. And remember, before beginning any exercise or fitness program be sure to consult with your physician or surgeon.

Start SMART. Too often I hear vague statements of intent from my patients, like “I plan to start exercising more.”  I tell them to get SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely – to  improve the quality of their goal and increase the chances it will actually be met. A SMART goal sounds like this: “I plan to start walking on my lunch break at the park near my office beginning next Monday.  My goal is 4 times per week for 30 minutes, weather permitting.”  Now that’s music to my ears!

Start slowly. Don’t make the mistake of going full speed ahead only to regret it the next day.  Start with 5 or 10 minutes and gradually increase to 60 minutes for five or more days per week.  Thinking more like the tortoise and less like the hare will greatly improve the odds of staying committed long term and help lessen soreness or, worse, injury.

Count it all. Activities of Daily Living or ADLs include things like cleaning the house, grocery shopping, doing laundry, parking the car further away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  These little things can add up when done consistently over a period of time, and they don’t require a gym membership or huge time commitment.

Consider the impact. If you have a BMI greater than 30, you’re at increased risk for joint injuries when exercising.  For this reason, it is generally recommended to avoid high-impact activities such as running, jumping and contact sports.  Some of these activities may be accessible post-surgery once you are at a healthier weight, but they are generally not safe choices for beginners.

Track wisely. Using a pedometer or app to count steps and record completed activities can be a great motivator, but be wary of the features that estimate the number of calories burned.  Too often these calculations are inaccurate, sometimes by as much as 30%, and there’s a tendency to overeat as a result of believing you expended a specific amount of energy.  If you find you fall into that trap, try setting a non-food reward for meeting a fitness goal, such as a new book for walking 10,000 steps every day for a week.

Train smarter.  Exercise for maximum effectiveness by choosing a plan that incorporates both cardiovascular and strength-training activities. Strength training should consist of two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions for each major muscle group. Aim to do total body resistance exercises two or three times per week.  Lower impact aerobic exercise that raises your heart rate to 50% to 80% of your maximum target and lasts at least 30 minutes should be the daily cardiovascular goal.  And always allow time to warm up and cool down before and after any exercise session. This helps reduce both soreness and the chance of injury.

Get offensive. While I don’t suggest reusing yesterday’s t-shirt, it is a good idea to get offensive when planning your exercise routine.  If joint issues or prior injuries are a concern, consider working with a certified personal trainer to develop a safe and effective routine.  Many strength exercises can be done from a seated position, and activities such as water aerobics or stationary biking may be less likely to cause new or repeat injuries.

Support your skin. Post weight loss surgery, patients may experience loose or sagging skin.  This poses a unique challenge when exercising as chafing can result in discomfort or open wounds.  So what is there to do short of having plastic surgery?  Topical lubricating gels that decrease friction and supportive workout clothes or undergarments can help make exercise more tolerable.

Forget “no pain, no gain.” Or at least learn what type of pain is reasonable versus what isn’t.  Muscle soreness, especially at the beginning, is almost a given.  Cooling down and stretching can help reduce the severity and duration, and it should improve within a few days.  Joint pain, however, is never OK and it is always an indicator to slow down or stop.  Also be sure to get permission from your surgeon before lifting weights as it is generally advisable to avoid anything heavier than 10 pounds for at least the first month after surgery.

Choose the right fuel. Finding the right balance of nutrients to fuel your workout is key. Limitations on portion size and the emphasis on high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods can make this challenging, but it is manageable.  Be aware that extremely low carbohydrate intake can cause dizziness or lightheadedness in some people, so it is important to stop any activity and seek guidance from your doctor or dietitian if this occurs.  Meeting your fluid goals, generally 64 ounces per day, is also essential to reduce muscle cramping and prevent fatigue.  Just be sure to separate eating and drinking by at least 30 minutes before and after to prevent flushing of food or dumping syndrome.

Make some space. Just as important as deciding which exercises to try, is designating time and space to actually do them.  Scheduling time on your calendar for fitness increases the likelihood of following through.  And designating a space for your activities, such as a room in your home, the gym or a nearby park, will help you establish a routine and minimize distractions.

By choosing bariatric surgery, you are making a valuable investment in your future health status.  Regular exercise is the insurance policy that will help support your recovery after surgery and guard against future weight regain.  Follow these tips and you’ll be fit and healthy for many years to come.  Now lace up those sneakers and get moving!

NJBC Eats: Protein Pumpkin Harvest Soup

Cooler weather means one thing - soup season! I love to make a delicious and creamy soup as soon as the temperature drops. One of my Fall favorites is protein pumpkin harvest soup. I added a packet of unflavored protein powder to this soup to add 20g of protein without altering the delicious flavor of the finished product. Protein is an important part of any diet but especially for pre and post-op bariatric patients as it improves lean muscle mass and keeps you feeling fuller, longer. 

To save time, I use my Vitamix blender to make this soup but it could also be made in a food processor or with an immersion blender as well. This is a great recipe to meal prep for lunches or dinners. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think.



  1. Add all the ingredients except for the salt and pepper to the blender. With my blender, I set it to the lowest speed then slowly increase to high. Blend the soup for about 6-7 minutes or until there is steam that comes from the lid (my Vitamix heats the soup as it blends*). Season with salt and pepper as needed. 

*If your blender doesn’t have a soup setting, another option is using a microwave or stove top in a saucepan to heat after blending.

RELATED: Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken

4 Facts About Gastric Sleeve and Weight Loss

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The gastric sleeve, also known as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), is one of the most popular weight loss procedures in New Jersey, and the most performed weight loss surgery here at New Jersey Bariatric Center. 

We get a lot of questions about gastric sleeve surgery from how it helps you lose weight to the health benefits for the procedure. If you’re considering a bariatric surgery procedure, here’s 4 things to know about gastric sleeve: 

1. Gastric Sleeve Helps You Lose Weight in 2 Ways

First, gastric sleeve surgery jumpstarts weight loss by removing a portion of the stomach and narrowing the remaining part of the stomach into a thin “sleeve-like” tube. The reduced stomach size holds less food so you feel full faster, while still allowing for the digestion of key nutrients. The second way is that the gastric sleeve procedure reduces the secretion of ghrelins in your stomach. Ghrelins are hormones responsible for making you feel hungry. Patients on average can lose about 40-70% of their excess body weight after a gastric sleeve procedure. 

2. The Health Benefits Go Beyond the Numbers on the Scale

Not only does the gastric sleeve help you to lose weight, but it can also offer other health benefits and improvements for obesity-related conditions. In a study by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), after gastric sleeve surgery: 

As with any surgery there are side effects and risks to weight loss procedures. To learn more, visit our Side Effects & Risks page.

3. Gastric Sleeve Surgery is performed Laparoscopically or Robotically-Assisted

During gastric sleeve surgery our surgeons make small incisions in the abdominal wall to remove 75-80% of the stomach. This reduces the capacity of the stomach to 3-4 ounces, resulting in patients feeling full, faster on a smaller portion of food. At New Jersey Bariatric Center the surgery is performed either laparoscopically or is robotically-assisted, and usually lasts approximately 1-2 hours.

4. Hospital Stays are Generally 1 Day 

Both methods - laparoscopic or robotic-assisted - of surgery involve smaller incisions through the stomach, which often leads to, for many patients, less pain and a short, 1 day hospital stay, in general. To learn more about recovery at home, post-surgery nutrition as well as returning to work and regular activity, click here.

For more questions about gastric sleeve or to schedule an appointment give us a call at 908-481-1270. To register for one of our free webinars, click here

*Metabolic and bariatric surgery. (2018, October). In the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from

Healthy Habits for the Busy Back to School Season Part 3: Meal Prep

The registered dietitian team at New Jersey Bariatric Center are big on planning ahead, especially when it comes to hectic schedules that can mess with even the healthiest of food intentions. Here are some great make-ahead, meal prep options that can be quickly reheated when you walk in the door from work, school, activities or wherever your day takes you. 

Make-Ahead/Meal Prep Options

Egg Muffins or Crustless Quiche

These are some of our favorite recipes that we created for using  leftover protein and veggies. For a snack anytime of day or for a meal, mix with eggs and your favorite type of dairy or non-dairy milk. Both options are great for a meal prep breakfast.

A Salad Kit and Rotisserie Chicken

These are 2 of my go-to items on a busy sports day. In less time than it would take to order and serve takeout, you can have a healthy meal you’ll feel great about eating. Choose a salad kit from your grocery store or online retailer. I recommend one that has mostly greens and a few nuts, seeds or dried fruit. You can toss this with any other leftover veggies you might have on hand. Top with some chicken and a few slices of avocado and enjoy.

Fiesta Chicken 

If you have a slow cooker, set it in the morning and you’ll have a healthy meal packed with protein, fiber and flavor waiting when you get home. This recipe takes just minutes to prepare and uses lots of pantry and frozen ingredients to keep things simple. It’s family friendly, too!

Low-Carb Lasagna

This is a great dish to prepare on the weekend and bake or reheat for a comfort food dinner that tastes too good to be healthy. Capello's lasagna noodles made from almond flour are my go-to for this dish. You can also experiment with other options like hearts of palm based pasta or thinly sliced zucchini. For more healthy options, use lean ground beef or turkey and part-skim cheese. Add extra veggies to your meat or sauce for even more fiber and nutrition.

Turkey Veggie Skillet

Slice a few veggies and you’re ready to cook this light and flavorful dish that’s on the table in under 20 minutes. Or better yet, keep pre-sliced veggies in the fridge ready to go. It can be served over salad, rice or cauliflower rice and can be adapted to use up whatever veggies you have on hand.

Armed with these ideas, you’re ready to tackle the back-to-school hustle without losing track of your healthy eating goals.

What am I eating? Taylor Farms Ginger Garlic Meal Kit

Now that the kids are back in school, our schedules seem to be jam-packed with activities. I’m always looking for an easy way to add more veggies to my family’s diet and I was so excited when I came across these Taylor Farm’s meal kits. 

There are 5 different flavor options of these meal kits  - Ginger Soy, Coconut Curry, Ginger Garlic, Pad Thai and Teriyaki. I particularly like the Ginger Garlic flavor stir fry kit. It’s a bag of pre-cut and washed veggies along with a delicious savory sauce. I like that these kits are packed with fiber and nutrient-rich vegetables, low-carb and that you can customize the protein. Not only is fiber important for healthy digestion, but it also helps keep you feeling fuller, longer. You can read more about the nutrition facts in the label below. 

How to Prepare

To prepare the kit all you need to do is add the vegetables to a pan for a quick stir fry, add your favorite protein (I typically use chicken) and then some of the sauce from the packet. If you’re tired of chicken and want to mix things up these would also be good with shrimp, steak, or maybe salmon. 

RELATED: Salmon with Mango Salsa

One tip that I would recommend is not adding the entire sauce packet. Even though these are packed with flavor they are also packed with sugar and carbohydrates. I find that I never need the entire sauce packet to make this meal delicious anyways. These meal kits have definitely saved me some time during these busy weeks of the back to school season. 

Healthy Habits for the Back to School Season Part 2: Healthy Quick Stop Options

At New Jersey Bariatric Center, we understand how hectic weeknights can be between the evening commute, after school activities, and having a healthy dinner. When you’re running low on time and need a quick meal for the whole family, stopping at a fast casual restaurant can be the most convenient option. Here are some healthier quick stop options to choose from:

  1. Dunkin/Starbucks – Try the Dunkin Turkey Bacon Wake-up Wrap (180 calories, 10g fat, 13g carb, 1g fiber, 8g protein) or Starbucks Egg White and Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites (170 calories, 8 g fat, 11 g carb, 12 g protein). An Egg and Cheddar protein box from Starbucks can also be a good choice if you ditch the included bread or crackers (About 390 calories, 22g fat, 21g carbs, 23g protein). This helps to keep the focus on protein and fiber, rather than simple carbohydrates. 
  2. Chick-Fil-A – This chain offers several protein options like a grilled chicken sandwich. We recommend that you lose the bun. Without the bun the nutrition content is about 230 calories,12g fat, 5g carb, 28g protein and with the bun about 600 calories, 35g fat, 35g carbs, 30g protein. Side salads and fresh fruit are also available, making this a good place to stop. Just remember that salad dressing adds additional calories so stick with 1 serving or less of dipping sauce or dressing to keep empty calories in check.
  3. Wendy’s – A quick stop at Wendy’s can refuel you and your crew with a classic cup of chili (small cup: 240 calories, 11g fat, 18g carbs, 16g protein) and a side of fresh apples (35 calories, 0g fat, 7g carbs, 0g protein). Other good choices include salads (about 400 calories, 22g fat, 10g carbs, 40g protein) or a no-bun sandwich made with grilled chicken (without bun: about 230 calories, 12g fat, 5g carb, 28g protein). Avoid high-carb salad toppings like croutons or chips and anything labeled “crispy” as the chicken is most likely fried. 
  4. Chipotle – This is a great option for when you need a filling and fully customizable meal on-the-go. Choose from one of their protein and veggie packed Lifestyle Bowls like the Whole30, Paleo or Keto options which are low in carbs (about 500 calories, 33g fat, 15-20g carbs, 30-40g protein). You can also make your own bowl with a base of greens and fajita veggies instead of rice. Top with your choice of protein, salsa, veggies, beans and guacamole. Go easy on cheese, sour cream and tortillas. 
  5. Wawa – It seems that Wawa stores are popping up all over the place and they can provide some decent choices if you’re in a hurry and you know what to look for. Try one of their made-to-order breakfast bowls with eggs and turkey sausage. Or build your own salad with lots of fresh veggies and protein options to choose from like roasted chicken, turkey bacon, tuna, boiled eggs and turkey breast (about 350-450 calories, 10-30g fat, 15-30g carbs, 30-45g protein). There are also some protein and veggie based soups and side dishes like chili, tomato basil soup and a side of meatballs with marinara sauce (small dish: 240 calories, 19g fat, 10g carbs, 6g protein). Healthier kids meal options plus grab-and-go choices like yogurt or a small bag of nuts make this a great place to keep on your shortlist if a game runs late and you have to grab something fast. 

RELATED: Bariatric Friendly Fast Food Options

For more information on healthy options at your favorite fast food restaurants and staying on track, make an appointment to see your dietitian at 908-481-1270.

Healthy Habits for the Back to School Season Part 1: High Protein Snacks

As the lazy days of summer wind down, the back-to-school shuffle starts. Homework, fall sports and extracurricular activities are enough to interrupt even the best healthy meal intentions. At New Jersey Bariatric Center we understand the challenges of eating on-the-go, so we’ve put together part one of a 3 part series on effective ways to tackle the demands of the back to school routine while staying on track with your health goals. The first part of this series is going to outline some healthy, high protein snacks that you can grab and go.

Don’t Leave Home Empty-Handed

One of our most consistent pieces of advice is don’t leave home empty-handed. Pack a few high protein snacks for yourself and your family and you’ll be prepared with healthy choices regardless of what the day throws your way. 


Low-sugar meat sticks and beef jerky are non-perishable and a great way to get some protein on-the-go. Chomps, Archer Farms and Epic are a few good brands to consider. 

Protein Snacks + Shakes

Consider these when you need a snack or meal replacement. Bariatric patients should look for bars and shakes with at least 15 grams of protein and less than10 grams of total carbohydrates per serving. Even kids can grab a shake or bar. Brands like Orgain, Zbar and Perfect Kids offer kid-friendly and convenient options. 

Nuts and Seeds

Snack sized bags of nuts and seeds pack a lot of nutrition into a small serving. Aim for a serving size of ¼-⅓ of a cup to get all the benefits of healthy fat, fiber and protein without going overboard on calories. Lightly salted or seasoned nuts are also good options, just avoid varieties with added sugar. 

High Protein Dairy

A small, insulated lunch bag with reusable ice packs can be a great way to increase the variety of on-the-go healthy options. Low fat yogurt, single-serve cheeses and hard boiled eggs are some great snacks with sources of protein. 

Homemade Cracker Sandwiches

Make some DIY peanut butter crackers that taste (almost) too good to be healthy. Look for crackers made with ingredients like almond flour, cauliflower or seeds for a lower carb alternative to traditional options made from refined flour. Some brands to try are Simple Mills, From the Ground Up and Flackers. Stick with one serving of crackers (or less) and spread with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut, almond or sunflower butter for a crunchy and satisfying snack. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series on healthy fast food options for those hectic weeknights when you’re on-the-go. 

For more information on high protein snacks and staying on track, make an appointment to see your dietitian at 908-481-1270.