Guest post by Ryan Pierson, dietetic intern
Finding time to cook a meal right after work can be a hassle, especially if we’re cooking for more than one. A time saving piece of cooking equipment is none other than the Crock-Pot slow cooker. You can rest assured that all of your cooking responsibilities can be placed on the slow cooker. Just throw some food in the pot in the morning and it’ll work its magic throughout the day so your meal is prepared for you by the time you get home.
Chicken tacos have always been a go-to meal for my family. They can be a quick, easy, and healthy meal to create. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (released on January 6, 2016) emphasized consumption of lean meats rather than fatty meats. Chicken is a lean source of protein (meaning it has small amounts of saturated fat) filled with bone-healthy minerals like phosphorus and calcium that can help us to meet this guideline.
The new guidelines also emphasize consuming at least half of all grains as whole grains. We can achieve this goal by using whole-wheat tortillas instead of refined flour tortillas. Whole-wheat tortillas are filled with dietary fiber, which can help to lower our risk of heart disease and give us a feeling of fullness quicker to achieve our New Year’s weight resolutions!
Another goal we can meet in this meal from the new guidelines is shifting our dietary fat sources from saturated fat to monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids. Avocados are nutrient-dense and filled with heart healthy monounsaturated fats (such as oleic acid). This unique type of fruit is also associated with decreased total cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels.
This easy and nutrient-dense recipe can be made in about six to seven hours. Enjoy!
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chunky salsa
1 small jalapeño, sliced (if you like your tacos spicy)
1 avocado, sliced
8 whole-wheat tortillas
1. Lay the chicken breasts in a 3-quart slow cooker. In a separate bowl, mix the lime juice and chili powder together. Pour this mixture over the chicken breasts. Cover the slow cooker and turn it to the low setting. This will cook the chicken within 5-6 hours.
2. Remove chicken breasts from slow cooker using tongs. Let the chicken cool for 1-2 minutes before using two forks to shred the meat. After shredding, return the meat to the slow cooker. In a separate bowl, mix the frozen corn, salsa, and jalapeño slices. Pour this mixture over the shredded chicken in the slow cooker. Stir mixture of ingredients in the slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
4. Remove mixture and place onto whole-wheat tortillas. Add avocados and any additional ingredients to the tacos.
Ryan Pierson is completing his dietetic internship this May prior to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). He received his undergraduate degree in Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Sciences from the University of Vermont while participating as an NCAA Division 1 athlete in basketball. Ryan is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), which he utilizes in conjunction with the skills he has developed through training and experiences.
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