Take heart, boys and girls. The first meal in my 17-day-diet series is not a salad. Instead, it tells the tale of how the bland and boring Miss Chicken found her style.
We wanted her a little bolder. A little edgier. We also wanted her to have the power to keep you healthy. To do all that we partnered her with the color orange!
Orange in this recipe comes from juicy cara-cara oranges and Asian carrots, firm dark red ones.
Chicken is a healthy, filling food. For one thing, chicken meat without the skin is a lean source of protein. One 6-ounce serving contains 48 grams. Chicken is also rich in potassium and calcium and has no carbohydrates. Dark meat has a few more calories than the white but has the added benefit of iron.
Grill it or bake it for the best nutrition. Avoid deep frying. If you stir fry chicken, use a light spray of oil on the pan and add a few spoonfuls of water once the pan is very hot to finish the cooking with steam.
If you’d like to marinate the chicken first, stay away from fatty or sugary dressings and instead try just a little bit of lemon juice… or yogurt and seasonings.
The recipe below is one delicious way to cook up your chicken.
Try Cara Cara oranges, from California’s San Joaquin Valley. They’re in the stores now, January through April. Outside, they look like the common-rabble navel orange. But cut them open and you’re greeted with brilliant pinkish red fruit, like the flesh of a pink grapefruit. The taste, though, is exceptionally sweet, with a tangy cranberry-like zing at the back of your throat.
Cara Caras give you vitamin A, plus a lot of C, fiber and lycopene. Lycopene is one of those useful antioxidants we wrote about awhile back.
Naturally sweet, carrots are a healthy addition to your diet, low in calories and fat. Indeed, these crunchy roots deliver tons of goodies like β-carotenes, vitamin A, minerals, and antioxidants.
Oranges and carrots fight cancers, arthritis, obesity, and heart disease.
Roasted orange and thyme chicken
Two servings, suitable for cycle 1 of Dr. Mike’s 17-day diet
- 2 chicken breasts (10-12 ounces)
- 1 orange, sliced and quartered. Save two thin slices for garnish
- 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into sticks, and boiled for 10 minutes
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons red chili paste
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- dill to garnish
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Toss the precooked carrots, orange slices and onions in olive oil. Place in a baking pan and preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Add olive oil to the chicken and put them on top of the veggies. Decorate with an orange slice or two. Add the orange juice and thyme to the baking pan.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the veggies are soft and the chicken browns. Stir the veggies halfway through.
Dieting with the family
As an aside, kids need a healthy meal plan, NOT a diet. But because Dr. Mike bases his guidelines on real foods, no pills, no purchased foods in cans, bottles or bars, no injections… the whole family can safely follow his advice.
Supplement the plates of family members who have no weight issues with foods from cycles 2 and 3 while you hunker down with cycle 1. Remember, it’s only for 17 days! Bonus: you’ll all learn the basics of healthy eating, together. This is the most flexible and balanced approach to weigh control I’ve ever tried. And I’ve tried a lot of them.
Whether or not you want to control your weight, I think you’ll enjoy my recipes using foods on Dr. Mike’s shopping list.
- The 17-day diet, starring Dr. Mike Morano – Intro to his meal plan
- Grocery List for 17-day diet – Let’s go shopping. The foods for the three first cycles are color coded. Focus only on cycle 1 foods (red) while you’re still in the 17-day accelerate phase. On day 18, take a look at cycle 2. And so on. Less confusing!