Preparing healthy and immune system boosting meals is difficult and costly, right?
Whenever we hear healthy food, or healthy meal we do not immediately picture an image of something tasty and easy to make. But the truth is, a healthy and tasty meal is not an oxymoron. These words can actually be placed in the same sentence the meal doesn’t need to be expensive!
And, if we can prepare that meal in under 1 hour, wouldn’t that make a healthy meal even better? I am sure it would!
What ingredients are in healthy food?
We need vegetables of course, so for this meal, we have chosen:
- green lettuce, 3-4 hand sized leaves
- carrots, 2 medium sized pieces
- tomatoes, 3 medium sized
- garlic, 2-3 cloves,
- young onions, 2 pieces
- red peppers, 2 medium sized
Regarding the carbohydrates, we have brown rice (1/2 cup) and one of the healthiest source of proteins – chicken breast (1 cup). The fat is coconut oil.
Why these veggies?
The main reason why vegetables are so important to us is due to the fact that they are packed with vitamins and minerals. They control the main functions of the body, so if we don’t get enough, our body malfunctions, our immune system declines, and we get sick. Organicfacts also lists numerous reasons why it’s essential to eat at least 5 portions of vegetables per day.
Green lettuce is one of the greatest sources of vitamins A, C, K, B vitamins and minerals. It is great for healthy vision, bones, and skin with a lot of antioxidants to fight off metabolic damage.
Carrots owe most of their nutrition to their color which originates from carotenoids. Care to guess where the name “CAROTenoids” comes from? And another is beta-carotene, which is the precursor of vitamin A, which means that it is turned into that vitamin in the body. Besides vitamin A, there are also vitamins C, K, B6, potassium, manganese, thiamin, niacin and folate.
Tomatoes – although technically a fruit, are often bought and sold as a vegetable…after all it grows closer to the ground than most fruit. Tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene which has been linked to the reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. In addition, there are of course vitamins C and K, potassium and folate.
Garlic – is very often called the strongest natural antibiotic in the world. In just one ounce there is manganese, vitamins B6 and C, selenium, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, iron and B vitamins. Studies show that garlic can help in fighting colds, flu and other infections.
Green onions/ scallions are one of the healthy foods that lend a great deal of flavor to a dish, as well as nutrition. With their slightly spicy taste, they bring benefits for eye and bone health with carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and K as well as lutein and zeaxanthin.
More than vitamins and minerals…
In addition to all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, vegetables are also packed with fiber. Fiber is essential to avoid bowel issues and constipation, which can accompany a diet that is too high in animal protein or refined carbohydrates.
Fiber also increases the feeling of fullness and thus helps us maintain or lose weight.
And, last but not the least, skinless chicken breast is added. Chicken breast is a great source of lean protein. We need protein for proper body functioning as it is the building block of the body. But besides being important for our muscles we need protein for essential bodily function, as enzymes and hormones are also proteins. When we go to sleep and rest, our body needs protein to repair itself.
Just 4 ounces of chicken breast provides us with a little over 30 grams of protein, and 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per 2 lbs of bodyweight is recommended for the average person. It is also low in calories and adds more vitamin B6 to our diet and our immune system health.
Now that we know why this meal is good for us, let’s see how to prepare it
First, cut the skinless chicken breast into ¾ of an inch thick slices, and lay them in a pan with 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil, and saute them on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Do not overheat the oil. Medium heat and 10 minutes are enough to get them nice and crispy without over drying them.
Boil the brown rice until you can easily squeeze it with the spoon. It takes longer than white rice to cook it, but beside patience, stirring, and occasionally adding more water it couldn’t be more straight-forward. After it is cooked, drain the rest of water. This water can be saved, and used as a nutritious drink or even as skin beauty treatment.
While the rice is cooking, take 2 tomatoes, wash them and cut them into halves and put them into a blender. Blend them into an even, paste-like liquid. In a frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and heat it just a little before adding the tomatoes from the blender.
Slowly heat it up, add 50ml of water, and occasionally stir while waiting for it to boil. If the color of sauce appears too pale in the beginning, it is fine. Later it will darken when it starts to boil.
While waiting for the sauce to boil, crush or finely slice the garlic and add it to the sauce. Also, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and basil and oregano in the amount of about ¼ of a teaspoon. When the sauce begins to boil, slowly decrease the heat and continue stirring for the next 5 minutes until it reaches the desired density.
Take carrots, young onions, red peppers, and the remaining tomato, wash them and chop them into rings, or slice them julienne style.
Now, let’s plate it all up. Wash the lettuce and place it on the plate, cover it with sauce, place the meat on the sauce, and pour the sauce over it. Beside the meat, pour the rice and again sauce over it so that it keeps in the moisture and adds more flavor. Add all your vegetables and a few pieces of fresh parsley leaves, to compliment the tomato in each bite.
It usually takes about an hour to prepare this 2-person meal, which isn’t bad to get so many nutrients from healthy food which will boost your immune system health, keep you strong, and healthy, and ready to tackle everything that a new day may challenge you with.