With 2017 well underway, many people (including myself) are looking to make this the healthiest year yet! Living in Vancouver, we’re spoiled for choice. With endless options for dining out and top notch grocery stores on every street block you’d think it would make eating healthy an easy task, right? Wrong. With all of these great choices, come confusing marketing tactics that are almost as difficult to navigate as it is avoiding that slice of late night Uncle Fatih’s.
We started the New Year with a quest to eat at home and for less, Gary and I made our way to the new Loblaws City Market at Arbutus Ridge. With our weekly meal plan in hand and taking note of lunch date with my girlfriend and her two kids, we were ready to divide and conquer the aisles. We don’t often cook for kids, but I know enough to understand they’re likely not going to chomp down on a kale salad with quite the same enthusiasm as I would—so it was on my list to pick up something kid friendly.
About four aisles into my list, I came across the President’s Choice Guiding Stars program. I had heard a bit about ‘Guiding Stars’ from the TV ads but hadn’t really taken a closer look. I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills who paired me up with a nutritionist who helped understand the program and easily choose ingredients to prepare a nutritious meal for my friend’s child – chicken fingers! We talked about how the more stars a product has, the more nutrient dense it is. She handed me a recipe card for chicken fingers and together we swapped out the frozen meal for skinless, boneless chicken breast, quinoa and gluten-free bread crumbs. We reconvened at the check out and went home to give the new recipe a try.
I cooked my usual ‘Sunday afternoon mountain of quinoa’ (PRO TIP: Having cooked quinoa on hand ensures a quick protein fix so you’re not tempted for the bad foods!) and portioned out a bit to help bread the chicken tenders. Gary added in the gluten-free crumbs and squeezed together until the quinoa moisture was spread evenly to the crumbs. I sprinkled the chicken tenders with salt, garlic, paprika and a bit of pepper; dipped it into an egg mixture and coated with the quinoa/crumb mixture. After placing the chicken onto a baking sheet, we popped it into the oven and twenty minutes later my chicken nuggets had been upgraded!
Shortly after, my girlfriend came barrelling through the door with gum boots, raincoats and backpacks flying. I expertly arranged my chicken tenders in the form of a sunflower with dipping sauce in the middle and we both held our breath as the kids took their first bites. My girlfriend assuring me the kids were picky eaters and would turn their nose at the finest cuisine. I’m happy to say that the kids (and Gary!) ate the chicken fingers faster than we could keep them coming! I sort of felt like I had conquered Everest– I seriously don’t know how moms do it. My girlfriend was impressed and even snapped a pic of the recipe to put in her rotation! See recipes below for how to make these items in your home.
I want to ensure you have the opportunity to create easy, nutritious meals for you and your family or friends! Tell me the meal you want traded up, or how you trade up your current favourites in the comments below using #TradingUp for your chance to WIN a $150 President’s Choice Gift Card!!!
CHICKEN FINGERS – TRADED UP
- Skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 3-inch long tenders
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (traded up from using only breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (traded up from white breadcrumbs)
- 4 tablespoons free range egg whites (traded up from white, caged eggs)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (traded up from vegetable oil)
- Spread out the cooked quinoa on a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil.
- Mix in gluten free crumbs together and the over the quinoa.
- Squeeze together until the moisture of the quinoa is absorbed.
- Place the eggs whites in a shallow bowl.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt, garlic powder, pepper and paprika.
Dip the chicken in the egg and then into the quinoa mixture, turn over and coat.
- Place onto a baking cheat.
- Brush with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees until translucent and crispy, about 20 minutes.
SWEET POTATO FRIES – TRADED UP
- 3 small sweet potatoes (traded up from white potatoes)
- Olive oil (traded up from vegetable oil)
- 1/2 TSP ground cinnamon / cumin mix
- Salt and pepper
- OPTIONAL: sprinkle of non GMO cornstarch (just a coating helps with crunchiness)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut sweet potato into 2 inch long by 1/4 inch sticks (keep skin on).
- Place them in a mixing bowl. Drizzle oil, salt and pepper, cinnamon/cumin mix (optional cornstarch).
- Toss till coated.
- Transfer to cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, toss, bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
Images by Olivia Ann Photography
Dress from Barefoot Contessa
Thank you to President’s Choice for sponsoring this post. All comments and opinions are my own.