Quick, nutritious & delicious

by Khushboo on March 20, 2013

Side note before we get started: It’s a shame that there is no synonym for “quick” which ends in -ous ;)!

At the end of January, I started an online correspondent course with the University of California, San Francisco on Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.  I just completed the course and enjoyed every second of it, especially as it was so eye-opening.   Amongst other things, I learned how to specifically plan well-balanced meals & dietary interventions for individuals who are at risk/diagnosed with various health issues including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Out of the various assignments which we  completed, our last one was my favorite

To prepare a dish at home & provide visual documentation, put together an independent nutrient analysis and discuss its purported effects on health promotion or disease prevention.

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Initially after reading the requirements, I was ready to pull out the big guns.  I started Googling various elaborate recipe for inspiration but ended up going the opposite route with a Broccoli & Chicken Stir Fry.  I chose to create this dish because of its nutrient content, taste and, most importantly, its simplicity.  A huge reason why people shy away from eating a healthy diet is because of the belief that cooking nutritious meals is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive; this dish proves that such is not the case.

Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry – serves 2

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast, 2 medium breast sliced
  • Broccoli, 2 cups of florets
  • Sesame oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Low-sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons

Method

  1. In a heated pan, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  2. Add the chicken and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.  Keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, stir fry the broccoli for 2 minutes until it is bright green & tender.
  4. Add back the chicken to the pan, along with the remaining sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  Stir fry until well-combined and the chicken has heated through.
  5. Serve with your choice of carbohydrate (e.g. brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat noodles)
Chicke & Brocolli stir fry lable

Figures do not include rice

Even though this dish only consists of 4 ingredients and requires minimal culinary skills, the health benefits of it are extensive.  For example:

  • This dish is calorie-controlled and can therefore aid weight loss.  By reducing the risk of obesity, this kind of dish also lowers the risk of various lifestyle-related issues like heart disease, diabetes & cancer from developing.
  • The protein content in chicken ensures that bodily cells are strong & healthy, and also provide the amino acids necessary for healthy skin, nails, muscles, cartilage and blood.
  • Opting for lean sources of protein like chicken breast is especially helpful for patients looking to lower their blood pressure.

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  • Given the antioxidant properties of broccoli, its effect on health promotion & disease prevention is vast.
  • Broccoli’s high vitamin C content helps fight against attack from free radicals.
  • As a fibrous food, broccoli can lower the risk of colorecteral cancer and diabetes developing.  With relation to the latter, fiber reduces glycemic response and therefore the demand for insulin.
  • Sesame oil can contribute to a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease as it reduces LDL cholesterol levels.

Don’t even get me started on discussing the nutrient value of adding in brown rice ;)!

What’s your go-to recipe for a healthy meal?

How long do you tend to spend on cooking dinner?  Most nights I spend 20 minutes or less in the kitchen. 

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Karina C. March 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Woo you just made my evening so much easier with this quick recipe and thank god it is something Sach with like so only need to make one dinner tonight, otherwise been making separate meals for the both of us. Thanks KT!

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 8:57 am

I aim to please 😀

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Sonal March 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Wow well done Khushboo, that’s amazing that you completed this course! Especially when it’s something that you are so passionate about 🙂 This dish looks so delicious I would just substitute the chicken for salmon and i’m set! I really like to make meals quickly at dinner, my go to meal right now is a warm salmon salad: I stuff a bowl with spinach leaves, avocado and any other veggie in my fridge and cut up the salmon into pieces to stir fry and put on top. Drizzled with balsamic vinegar – this is my favourite!

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 8:58 am

Ohh your go-to meal sounds awesome…love the combo of salmon & avocado! If you have some feta or chevre on hand, I bet either would make a yum addition :)!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin March 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Sometimes I love a good simple meal! You can never go wrong with a lean protein + vegetable + complex carb.

Dinner totally varies for me. Sometimes I spend an hour and a half making it (like last night’s homemade meatballs and homemade pasta sauce), but other nights it takes me just 20 minutes.

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 8:59 am

I sure hope those spaghetti & meatballs were delicious…although I am almost certain they were ;)!

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles March 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Cannot go wrong with a simple stirfry! I definitely agree that a lot of people get the idea that cooking healthy meals is complicated or expensive – clearly that’s not the case! Simple and delicious 🙂

It usually depends on my schedule! On the days I have class until 5:30, I’m usually going for a slow cooker or a quick meal that takes 30 minutes or less to put together. if I have a bit more time, I’ll take my time to put together something that takes an hour-1 1/2 hours…I usually draw the line there though!

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:00 am

I don’t own a slow cooker but the idea of chucking things in a pot and letting it cook all day sounds ideal for busy days :)!

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Parita @ myinnershakti March 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Love tofu, quinoa, and roasted veggies with some kind of sauce on top! Can never go wrong with that!

And this looks so delicious and SIMPLE – that’s my favorite part! I’m so proud of you for completing the course. I tried my best but life got in the way…stupid work :)…will be blogging about that soon!

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

Thank you so much :)! I thought the course could have been improved by allowing an extra week or 2 to those who weren’t able to complete the course on specific weeks because let’s be honest, sometimes other priorities do come first!

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl March 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Stir-fry is one of my go-to meals! It is just so quick and easy to make, plus it always incorporates tons of healthy vegetables and protein. So perfect! 🙂

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:04 am

So perfect and so versatile :)!

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Anita Menon March 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Usually a lurker in your space; I take this opportunity to un-lurk and congratulate you!

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:04 am

Welcome Anita :)! …and hope you will be unlurking more often!!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. March 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I have to say that I absolutely love your take on this project! I definitely think that lots of people get intimidated when they see long and complicated ingredients lists, and end up with a somewhat skewed perception of what healthy eating is. I used to be all about prepping elaborate meals and would spend hours in the kitchen, but lately I’ve been all about simple and quick ones. A complex carb, some veggies, and a lean protein is a formula that I love to follow, and if I don’t feel like doing that, then there’s always a big old yogurt mess bowl, right? 😉

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:05 am

You know my take on brinner…when inspiration fails, you can never go wrong with standby breakfast options :)!

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Alex @ therunwithin March 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm

stir frys are the best go to because they are so easy and cheap to cook.

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:05 am

Yessir!

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Meghan @ After the Ivy League March 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I found this fascinating to read! And this is totally a dish that I see myself making fairly often. Brown jasmine rice + sesame oil/soy sauce and mixed veggies is one of my favorite stir fry dishes. I had no idea about the health benefits of sesame oil either, I just really like it! It’s delicious.

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:06 am

Haha isn’t that the best- when something you love turns out to be actually good for you…win-win :)!

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Allie March 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Yes! I love stir fries for simple, quick and healthy–you get your veggies, your protein and your flavor–and it’s all good for you! I can’t believe I haven’t whipped up a stir-fry since I’ve returned to eating meat, thanks for the inspiration to get on it, it’s not like it’s difficult 😉

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:07 am

Get frying, girl ;)!

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health March 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm

yay for completing the course 🙂 🙂 I love quick stir fries like this on most week nights or just substitute for pasta with some sauce. I spend less than an hour on most days.

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

It’s been way too long since I’ve had pasta for dinner…that might have to change tonight :)!

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Ally March 21, 2013 at 2:46 am

Spontaneous nutritious and delicious lol … Love your blog xo

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

Thanks so much Ally 🙂

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish March 21, 2013 at 7:32 am

When you told me about this course, I had no idea it had been through UC! I actually took a number of extension courses through UC Berkeley before I started grad school. 🙂 Unfortunately, none of my projects were as much fun as this one, though!

I love the simplicity and healthfulness of this recipe, but I’m even more in love with the flavors–the coupling of sesame oil and soy sauce is one of my go-to seasonings for meat and vegetables! And I couldn’t agree with you more–as health promoters and nutritionists, I think one of our most important tasks is to educate others about the ease at which a nutritious and delicious meal can be prepared. You definitely accomplished that!

When I need a quick meal, I usually turn to a stir fry, egg scramble, or a simply roasted piece of fish and salad. 🙂

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:10 am

You phrased it perfectly Sara about the responsibility of health promoters & nutritionists- it comes with the territory whethe or not it’s written in stone :)!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset March 21, 2013 at 7:48 am

This is a nice, nutritious, delicious and quickICIOUS (tehe) recipe, thanks for sharing madam! And yeah, that last word sounds super odd, although I did try and make it work 🙂
My go-to healthy mood is something like this.. perhaps a sweet potato for the rice though, just cause I love emmm

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

Quickious…haha I should have just used that ;)! I have developed an addiction to sweet potatoes over this past week- can’t go wrong with ’em!

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Jess March 21, 2013 at 8:11 am

I love broccoli! That course sounds really interesting!

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

It sure was! 🙂

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honeywhatscooking March 21, 2013 at 9:51 am

chicken and broccoli is like one of my favorite things to order at a Chinese restaurant.. even though the sodium is high, you know it’s chicken and broccoli and it’s high in protein.

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Between you & me, I use regular soy sauce at home ;)….our bodies need sodium!

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Katy March 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Delish! I love stir-fries.. they are so easy. I do have a weakness for oyster sauce though.. it makes everything taste SO delicous.

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I need to give oyster sauce another shot….for some reason, I don’t seem to remember actually liking it!

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets March 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I love this post and what a cool class you are taking. I wish everybody had to do something like this because they might realize just how easy nutritious meals can be and still incredible delicious. I actually make a similar stir fry but instead of using soy sauce, I use some olive oil, a boatload (no joke) of garlic and add in some halved grape tomatoes at the end. It’s delicious. I also do lots of veggie stir fry where I chop up all the veggies on Sunday night and then during the week, it’s as easy as tossing everything into the pan. Great job!

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Khushboo March 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm

That’s the best part about stir-fries…its versatility means the flavor options are endless- your combo sounds yum :)!

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Brittany March 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm

What a fun assignment, PERFECT for a foodie blogger right!? The meal looks delicious, and I love the stats! Amazing! On average I spend 30 minutes cooking dinner if it’s a meal. If it’s more of a snack/throw together then maybe 10. A good go to meal for me is rice and beans with HELLLAA veggies!

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Khushboo March 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

Hahah when I was reading the assignment, I was just thinking “For real? I do this on a regular basis ha”!

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Kym March 22, 2013 at 12:18 am

This reminds me of a quote I just read “complexity is easy, simplicity is hard” People just accept the myth that eating healthy is difficult, expensive, etc so they just opt not to do it! The truth is, it’s as simple as what you’ve outlined – a protein, veggies, and carbs. My go to, quick healthy dish is just baked white fish. Lay it out, bake for 10 minutes, DONE! 😛

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Khushboo March 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

Great quote! Baked fish is ideal…and as if it wasn’t easy enough, I rarely feel the need to add seasoning/flavoring to fish!

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Liz @ I Heart Vegetables March 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

I love me some broccoli 🙂 I’d totally make this with tempeh! I don’t spend more than like 20 minutes on dinner usually!

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Khushboo March 22, 2013 at 9:15 am

I tried tempeh once and wasn’t a fun…I think I need to give it another go :)!

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