After much practice and many humbling cooking mistakes, I now happily create healthful, yummy alternatives to many less body-friendly favorites. Do you equate "gluten free" with the taste of cardboard or the feeling of deprivation? Think again. Gluten free can be fabulous. Today I'm serving up two dishes you wouldn't think of as good for you – crispy chicken nuggets and french fries! See how a few tweaks makes eating without gluten part of an uber-healthful, anti-inflammatory diet.
Just beware of many gluten free packaged foods which can be filled with as much junk as any other processed foods. And if you want to learn how to go gluten free, check out my book Gutsy here.
Sweet potatoes help satisfy a sweet tooth as we wean ourselves off of sugar. They also offer more nutrition than white potatoes: more fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals potassium, calcium and manganese. Even better, my new favorite discovery, purple sweet potatoes, are a powerhouse of nutrients with more antioxidants than orange ones according to the Cleveland Clinic. Like blueberries, dark purple and red plant foods are disease-fighting champions.
Since plant foods are so vital to our good health, I recommend serving an abundance of colorful vegetables at every meal. Beyond their nutrients, they are alkalizing, blood sugar-stabilizing, and they reduce scary inflammation. I recommend cooking at least two veggies with this meal below – some cooked, some raw: maybe sautéed broccoli or spinach with lemon and a salad of romaine lettuce or arugula. Choose organic produce and chicken to avoid added pesticides and hormones. Enjoy this month's healthy take on fast food.
Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets
4 organic boneless chicken breast halves, about 2 lbs (Ask the butcher to fillet each breast half so that you end up with eight thinner breast halves.)
1/4 c olive oil
4 c organic brown rice crisp cereal
1/4 c chia seeds
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c dried minced onion flakes
2 T dried thyme
2 T dried oregano
1 T paprika
1 T turmeric
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t red pepper flakes, optional
Preheat oven to 400º. Pour olive oil onto sheet pan and spread to cover pan. n a medium bowl, lightly scramble the egg and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients. Mix well with hands to combine. Slice the chicken into 1" x 2" strips. Place the chicken pieces into egg. You can do this in several groups. Stir to coat each piece with the egg. Lift chicken out and let it drain a bit back into bowl. Place egg-coated chicken pieces into dry ingredient bowl. Mix well to coat chicken. Pour chicken pieces onto sheet pan. Separate pieces so that they are in a single layer. Place pan in oven. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning all pieces over gently with spatula after 10 minutes.
3 purple sweet potatoes
1/4 c olive oil
1 t Himalayan salt
Preheat oven to 400º. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and widthwise. Place flat side down and cut into 1/4" strips. Turn wider strips on their sides and slice again into 1/4" slices. Pour olive oil onto sheet pan. Place all potato slices onto pan. Sprinkle with salt. Use hands to toss potatoes and salt until they are coated with oil and well tossed. Spread out to a single layer on pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until browned at edges, using spatula to flip potatoes halfway.