The Secret to Marinating Meat After Weight Loss Surgery

Newbies, veterans, non-ops…lend me your ear.

Meat. It is challenging post-op. For some of us it’s chicken, for others it’s beef, but many of us simply have a hard time tolerating meat.I have a solution.

I’ve included this method in many posts, but I feel it deserves a post of its own. In cooking demonstrations, SOMEHOW I have convinced some very strong and brave post-ops to try formerly intolerable meats using this marinating method and MOST were then able to tolerate those meats. So I have hope that if you are just willing to give this a TRY it might work for you too.Do you feel brave? Be brave with me!

The Bariatric Foodie Secret to Marinating Meat

(For me, the challenging meat would be beef, but I SWEAR this works for chicken and pork as well!)

Step One

(Do this either the day before or the morning of the day you plan to cook the meat)

Season up your meat well with basic salt and pepper (or Mrs. Dash or whatever basic spice you like).

Then combine it in a zip-top bag with Greek yogurt and any desired “special” spices (for instance, if you are doing a Mexican dish you might add cumin and coriander, Indian you might add your ginger and garlic, Chinese you might add soy sauce and pepper flakes, etc.)

Step Two

(When it’s time to prepare the meat)
Remove the meat from the bag with a pair of kitchen tongs and shake it gently to remove the excess yogurt. Add any additional spices you wish, then cook it as you would normally cook it. I promise, the yogurt will cook off.

Step Three

See? Nary a trace of yogurt left on this beef!

EAT! That’s honestly it folks. WAIT! That’s not entirely true. If you grill chicken or steak, let it “rest” on the cutting board a few minutes before cutting it. This gives it a chance to reabsorb some of its juices and it remains very tender and moist. A few notes:

  • The longer you marinate, the more tender the meat will become. Once I got sidetracked and marinated some chicken  for two nights and I could literally tear it apart like paper.
  • Yes, this does add a NEGLIGIBLE amount of additional protein to the chicken.
  • I personally don’t notice the taste of the yogurt, but you may. It’s in there. What can I say? But usually if you season the yogurt then season the meat, the meat will taste like the seasoning.
  • I have NOT tried this method with ground meats but I do know it works on smaller cuts of meat, like stew meat as well.
  • Having said that, this does work well if you are changing the form of the meat AFTER marinating it. For instance, if you cube chicken that has been marinated this way it will remain tender. Heck if you grind it, it will as well. I just can’t vouch for mixing this with already ground meat!

In the end, if you want to incorporate things like steak and chicken breasts back into your eating, this method is worth a try. As always, I am a BIG advocate of the “bite test” (take a bite, chew well, swallow, wait a full two minutes for a reaction, repeat once more. If everything goes ok, proceed SLOWLY).I hope this helps you bring the foods you love back to your table!


  1. you are most correct! marinating in yogurt works with chicken as well. In Indian cooking they do this and the meat is very tender… except for the next day, doesn't reheat well.

    I never thought to do it with steak but I will give it a try! Thanks for the ideas!

  2. girltuesday from Australia

    Thank you thank you thank you xxx

  3. girltuesday from Australia

    thank you thank you thank you xxx

  4. Yep….this is a great way to make your meats tender. We frequent a few middle eastern places and that's how they do it!

  5. Azmom,

    I've never had a problem on the reheat of my meats but I do know it can be dicey sometimes!

  6. I have a quick question – I do a lot of slow cooker meals – just cuz it fits my life style. I have to dust my meat with flour and pan sear prior to putting into the slow cooker – makes the stew meat fall apart upon completion – delicious. I hate using the flour (even that small amount) do you think if I used the yogurt and then seared prior to slow cooking it would work equally as well?? Thank Nik – I appreciate the help!

  7. Just FYI you don't have to sear your meat using flour at all. If you let your pan get super, super, SUPER hot, you can simply season the meat and sear it on all sides before throwing it in the slow cooker or in the over if you are braising it.

    Not sure how it'd work out with the yogurt. Like I said, it largely cooks off so I'm not sure you'd be getting any real benefit there.

  8. I have a better idea. You cook and I'll come and eat.


  9. I tried this with chicken the other night. Worked out fabulous! I marinated a chicken breast for 8(ish) hours, sliced it into strips, cooked the chicken on my Griddler, and, after it was all done, I was able to easily cut the strips with my fork. Great tip!

  10. I use a marinate of Worcestershire, soy and red wine vinegar on my steaks and marinade at least 24 hours….. Tender and juicy and FLAVORFUL!!

  11. Thank you I will try this. Don't tolerate meat. Hopefully I will again.

  12. Is there a discernible difference in tenderization when using greek yogurt vs. regular yogurt?

    • I don’t think so. I think I just use Greek because it’s what I always have on hand. In Indian cooking generally they tenderize meat with regular yogurt, not Greek. The same scientific dynamic as at work in both (live, active cultures that pre-digest some of the protein for you). So give it a try and report back on your results!

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