This post is a reminder to those of us who have to follow a more rigid diet because of age or health.
Diabetes comes to mind as this seems to affect a lot more people than it used to.
Now you want to entertain your younger members of the family when they visit and you want to enjoy the meals as much as they do.
But how do you do this if their favourite foods are so loaded with carbohydrates and sugar that you can see yourself in a diabetic coma after 3 bites.
Yes that is extreme but why not change the recipe so you can sit and enjoy the food while staying healthy?
Let’s say your 2 grandchildren love chicken fingers. You go to the frozen food aisle and pick up one of the many types and look at the nutrition information. There is no way that you should have more than 2 bites of one finger.
Solution: Pick up some chicken breasts or thighs a box of corn flakes, a box of soda crackers and go home and make your own fingers. You can make the fingers smaller or larger depending on your energy level when slicing them. This takes about 15 min. but you can do it ahead of time and freeze them in meal size portions. What could be easier and you can use the strips for other things like stir fries, or add them to stock and make chicken soup.
But on to the fingers. Here is a recipe I found in the diabetes website.
Yummy Parmesan Chicken Fingers
Preheat oven to 400◦ F (200◦ C)
Baking sheet with rack, rack sprayed with vegetable cooking spray
½ cup (125 mL) finely crushed soda cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
1/3 cup (75 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp (2 mL) dried basil leaves
½ tsp (2 mL) dried marjoram leaves
½ tsp (2 mL) paprika
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, minced
1. In a food processor, combine cracker crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, marjoram, paprika, salt and pepper. Process to make fine crumbs. Place in a shallow bow.
2. Cut chicken breasts into 4 strips each. In a bowl, beat egg and garlic; add chicken strips. Using a fork, dip chicken strips in crumb mixture until evenly coated. Arrange on rack set on baking sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 14 to 18 minutes or until no longer pink in centre. (If frozen, bake for up to 25 minutes)
Buy boneless chicken breasts when they’re featured as a supermarket special and make batches of chicken fingers to freeze ahead. Use fresh (not defrosted) chicken breasts; prepare recipe as directed, placing unbaked strips on a rack set on baking sheet. Freeze until firm; transfer to a storage container. Can be frozen for up to 2 months. No need to defrost before baking. You can also make extra batches of the crumb mixture and store in the freezer.
You can leave out the Parmesan cheese and add a spice or type of cheese your little ones like better. It is your family and you know their tastes better than anyone else. So make the recipe your own.
Now I know you are thinking like I do that chicken fingers are so much better with fries.
Well go ahead but roast them in the oven with salt pepper and a sprinkle of celery salt and they are healthier than deep frying them. Also they make a lot less work and mess. Do some sweet potatoe fries at the same time and you stick more with the sweet potatoe ones and give a couple along with the regular fries to your guests. I am thinking they won’t even notice when they add the ketchup.
So by checking recipes you know they like try to come up with healthier alternatives when planning for their visit.
I know chicken breast is a lot healthier than thighs but I really don’t like the breast as it is too dry so I prefer to use the thighs and just cut them smaller. They look the same and being smaller is not a big deal. Enjoying the meal even if it is a smaller one makes more sense than having a larger portion and not enjoying it at all.
This is just one recipe for at home but I am not saying never take them to a fast food place they love but I will give more ideas for eating out healthy in the next post.
Feel free to comment on my suggestions or add your own.