The weather outside is crisp and cold and that means it’s time for season’s eatings! Which usually translates into lots of sugar, fat and empty calories.
But it doesn’t have to. There are simple ways to enjoy a hearty, satisfying meal without spooning sugar into your body, thereby weakening your immunity and opening yourself to seasonal illnesses. And calories don’t need to be empty and fatty to taste good—foods that strengthen our health can also taste great.
Garlic, a favorite herb for livening any dish, is perfect for keeping the latest office bug at bay. Greens are full of antioxidants and vitamin C, which also boost immunity, and roasting and toasting them transforms them into tasty eats. The most helpful way to help yourself, though, is to avoid dairy and sugar, both of which have shown to have an effect on our bodies’ ability to fight viruses and bacteria.
What if you want something sweet? It’s that time of year for pies and sweet treats, and the best part of pumpkin pie can be enjoyed guilt-free with the help of eyrthritol, stevia, agar agar and coconut milk.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that tastes seventy percent as sweet as table sugar, is granular and can be used cup for cup in recipes calling for sugar. Erythritol is also all-natural, has zero impact on blood sugar and doesn’t suppress immunity. Nor does it cause the side effects usually associated with sugar alcohols. Stevia helps improve the sweetness of erythritol. It’s an herb a hundred times sweeter than sugar, but has zero calories. Agar agar is a fiber-rich seaweed that’s clear and tasteless. It gels at room temperature and is used as a vegetarian gelatin substitute. Agave nectar is derived from a succulent plant and doesn’t spike blood sugar. These all-natural ingredients can be found at health food stores in the baking aisle.
For a great way to wow your family, whip up this complete meal filled with unique takes on healthy ingredients providing almost half the USDA’s recommended amounts of vegetables and protein. Dive into agave-sweetened Dijon chicken, nosh on crispy garlic kale chips, enjoy the flavor of slow-roasted Brussels sprouts and get your sweet tooth on with guilt-free pumpkin custard!
Agave Dijon Chicken
Makes 4 Servings
Prep time: 25 minutes
4 large, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. agave nectar
¼ cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbs. extra virgin coconut oil
1.) Combine the tapioca starch, onion powder and ground pepper in a shallow dish and set aside.
2.) Combine the Dijon mustard and agave together. Set aside.
3.) Slice the chicken breasts in half widthwise. Place a sliced breast on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap then pound it with a kitchen mallet or rolling pin until it’s a quarter inch thick. Repeat for all breast halves.
4.) Dip a breast half in the mustard mixture, lightly coating it. Then place it in the tapioca mixture and sift the mixture over it, covering completely. Repeat for all breast halves.
5.) Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add 1-tablespoon oil.
6.) Fry the breast halves on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the inside is no longer pink. Repeat for all breast halves.
Garlic Kale Chips
Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
1 bunch kale
2 Tbs. olive or coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. salt
1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.) Wash kale and pat dry. Cut out center stems then shred leaves into 2 inch pieces.
3.) Combine oil, garlic, vinegar and salt. Toss kale pieces with oil mixture, coating thoroughly.
4.) Oil one to two cookie sheets and arrange kale pieces one layer thick on sheets.
5.) Cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until kale is crisp.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 35 minutes
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, yellow leaves removed, halved
1 Tbs. coconut or olive oil
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup blanched almond slivers
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) In a large bowl toss sprouts with oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and almond slivers.
3.) Place tossed sprouts in a shallow roasting pan and cook in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until outside is dark brown or black.
Guilt-Free Pumpkin Custard
Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
2 cups canned pumpkin
2 Tbs. agar agar powder
¾ cup erythritol
½ tsp. stevia powder
1 1/2 cups coconut cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cloves
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer on high until well mixed.
3.) Pour pumpkin mixture into a pie dish and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
4.) Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.
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