Dieting with Chicken and Vegetables: How this simple dinner can help supercharge your diet

Page content

Why chicken and vegetables?

Whether you’re trying to cut carbohydrates from your diet temporarily or just trying to eat healthier on a regular basis, chicken and vegetables are a great high protein meal to add to your meal plan. There are standard variations that include substituting the chicken for high protein lean fish, turkey, or pork but after a few days you can get bored. Personally, I sometimes feel like I’ll be on a “diet” for the rest of my life, I eat chicken and vegetables about three times a week but I try to keep things interesting. I want to examine why chicken and vegetables is considered a near perfect meal when you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight as well as provide a few tips to keep your recipes interesting and keep your family coming back for more.

Just four ounces of chicken provides over half of the protein you need each day. Chicken is also a good source of vitamin B and niacin which help prevent cancer and some forms of genetic damage. Four ounces of chicken contain about 72% of your daily value of niacin. Another trace mineral found in chicken is selenium which is a fundamental mineral used in our bodies for thyroid metabolism, antioxidant defense, and immune functions. At just 110 calories and 0 carbohydrates you can feel good about eating it for as often as you’d like, just make sure to remove the skin to halve the amount of fat and saturated fat.

Adding a variety of vegetables to your dinner is the first step in keeping things interesting. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, squash, and sweet potatoes are all great for you and great for your waistline. All of these vegetables are either naturally fat free or very low in fat. They have virtually no cholesterol and are great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Zucchini also has trace amounts of vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.

Need more variety?

You can see how combining these powerful foods can produce a nutritious, low calorie, and low fat meal. That being said, no one can eat the same thing over and over again. It’s important to add variety to your daily meals to ensure you can stay faithful to your diet or healthy lifestyle. Four ways to prepare your chicken and vegetables are traditional style, Italian style, Asian style, and Mexican style. All of these are quick and easy to prepare.

Traditional Chicken

Traditional style is just as easy as adding your favorite seasonings to the chicken and vegetables as you cook them. Personally I use garlic salt and basil to add a fresh herb flavor to the dish. It takes me less than a second to sprinkle some onto the chicken and into the pan of vegetables. If I can, I use fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme. I really enjoy how adding one or two spices changes the dynamics of the dish.

Italian Chicken

Italian style involves preparing a tomato sauce either from scratch or out of the bottle. The tomato sauce itself gives you a full serving of vegetables but I like to add zucchini to give it some extra nutrition. I use whole wheat pasta but you can go without if you’re avoiding carbohydrates.

Asian Chicken

Asian style is basically Asian lettuce wraps. You just need a small bottle of low sodium Teriyaki sauce and a teaspoon of cornstarch. Mix 1/3 of a cup of Teriyaki sauce, 1/3 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and cook the chicken in the sauce. Add water if it’s too thick or cook a little longer if the sauce is too thin. Slice carrots with a vegetable peeler and finely dice broccoli, you can leave the vegetables raw or cook them for just a few minutes in the same pan you use for the chicken. The crisp vegetables add a nice contrast to the dish. I sometimes make brown rice as well but it is not necessary. Use Boston or red leaf lettuce to make the wraps.

Mexican Chicken

Finally, Mexican style involves a packet of taco or chili seasoning from the store. Use about half the packet and 1/3 of a cup of water to make a sauce to simmer the chicken in. Chop the vegetables you would normally use for tacos, things like lettuce, tomato, olives, and onions and mix everything together like a salad or use whole wheat tortillas.

Using variety to keep it interesting

Chicken and vegetables doesn’t have to mean boiled bland chicken and soggy tasteless vegetables. It can mean whatever you want. Take the flavors your family enjoys and try new combinations. Since your main ingredients are virtually fat free and low in calories you can add to it without worrying about adding too many calories to your meal.

Sources

Calories in 4oz Chicken Breast, https://www.calories-nutrition.buddyslim.com/4oz-chicken-breast/

Fruits and Veggies, https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=166