(Family Features) If spending additional time in the comfort of your home has you rethinking the family menu and looking for new ways to enjoy nutritional meals, rest assured you can make better-for-you food choices without losing mouthwatering taste.
Easy, efficient at-home recipes like Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken, Burrito Beef and Cauli Mac and Cheese can all be made in less than an hour while reducing the intake of carbs and unnecessary sugars. All are part of a balanced Atkins low-carb lifestyle, a long-term, healthy eating approach focused on high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats.
The eating approach, which is a more flexible version of the popular ketogenic diet, offers a balanced mix of foods containing fiber-rich and nutrient-dense carbohydrates while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and the “hidden sugar effect” – when carbohydrates convert to sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugar, but your body does.
Introducing your family to smarter food choices can also support your immunity. According to research published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” simply substituting whole grains for refined grains has a modest effect on gut microbiota and immunity. Refined grains have had most of the fiber milled out of them, leaving a refined carbohydrate that impacts your body the way sugar would. Opt for whole grains to get the fiber you need, along with protein and healthy fats.
Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
- 1 3/4 cups coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons basil
- 1 tablespoon xylitol (sugar substitute)
- 1 ounce cilantro
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1 teaspoon lime zest (optional)
- 20 ounces boneless, cooked chicken breast
- 20 ounces broccoli flower clusters
- In bowl, mix coconut milk, basil, xylitol, cilantro, lime juice, salt and garlic. For more citrus flavor, add lime zest, if desired.
- Add chicken, broccoli and sauce to 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag. Squeeze out any air and seal bag. Freeze bag flat up to 1 month.
- To cook: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat oven to 350° F.
- Place in glass 8-by-8-inch pan and bake 20-25 minutes.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
- 2 pounds beef arm chuck roast
- 4 tablespoons green taco sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 large scallions or spring onions, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Trim fat from beef. In slow cooker on low heat, cook beef, taco sauce, garlic, onions, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin and salt 8 hours, or until beef is tender.
- Using two forks, remove beef and shred. Mix beef with 1/2 cup cooking juices before serving.
- A Low-Sugar Swap to Satisfy Cravings
- While spending more time at home than normal, those snack cravings can be hard to shake. Rather than relying on easy-to-grab eats from the pantry or freezer, focus on more nutritious choices that don’t sacrifice flavor.
- Turn to a creamy solution to satisfy your hunger such as the Atkins Milk Chocolate Delight Shake, a filling option for chocolate lovers. The drinks are packed with 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 20% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D and 1 gram of sugar to keep you going throughout the day.
Cauli Mac and Cheese
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 head large (6-7-inch diameter) cauliflower
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper sauce
- Heat oven to 375° F and prepare 9-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Heat large pot of water to boiling and add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Remove stem and leaves from cauliflower. Cut into small pieces and place in boiling water; cook until crisp-tender; about 5 minutes. Drain well then pat between paper towels to remove moisture.
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to simmer. Whisk cream cheese and powdered mustard into simmering cream until smooth. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese, garlic, remaining salt, white pepper and pepper sauce, whisking until cheese melts; about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cauliflower.
- Pour into baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes until browned and bubbly.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken, Burrito Beef and Cauli Mac and Cheese)