Best Health - - CONTENTS - by ABBEY SHARP, RD | pho­tog­ra­phy by AN­GUS FERGUSSON food styling by ASH­LEY DEN­TON | prop styling by LAURA BRAN­SON

Chicken = your go-to sum­mer meal

Whether you’re BBQing it or bak­ing it, you can’t go wrong with poul­try for a healthy dinner. Its high-pro­tein pro­file makes it a go-to for both man­ag­ing hunger and build­ing mus­cle. Kinda brings a whole new mean­ing to “win­ner win­ner, chicken dinner.”

WHAT’S FOR DINNER? IF YOU’RE LIKE most Cana­di­ans, chicken is a pretty good guess. Ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics Canada, the av­er­age Cana­dian eats about 30 kg of this lean meat an­nu­ally.

We say it’s a fam­ily favourite for good rea­son: Chicken is one of the lean­est sources of high bi­o­log­i­cal value pro­tein, clock­ing in at a whop­ping 19 grams per 3-ounce por­tion. And that might be good news for your waist­line! Pro­tein, like that found in chicken, helps re­duce our hunger hor­mone, grehlin, and in­crease our sati­ety hor­mone, pep­tide YY, help­ing us feel fuller longer and fuel our busy day. One study even found that women who increased their pro­tein in­take from 15 per­cent to 30 per­cent of their daily calo­ries, re­duced their to­tal caloric in­take by 441 calo­ries with­out any ad­di­tional changes or re­stric­tions.

There’s also a rea­son why chicken is a favourite among the fit­ness model and ath­letic com­mu­nity — it’s an ideal source of mus­cle­build­ing fuel! One sys­tem­atic re­view of the lit­er­a­ture found that in­creas­ing pro­tein helped en­hance mus­cle mass and improve ath­letic per­for­mance.

Pro­tein has also been shown to help pre­vent mus­cle mass loss while los­ing weight, and keep­ing the body’s me­tab­o­lism revved up. And speak­ing of me­tab­o­lism, the fat-burn­ing ben­e­fits don’t end there. The body uses more en­ergy to me­tab­o­lize pro­tein than fat or carbs, so re­searchers have found that peo­ple on higher pro­tein di­ets burn about 260 more calo­ries per day com­pared with those con­sum­ing lower amounts of pro­tein.


This makes for a great Sun­day night BBQ. When sta­tioned like a tri­pod be­tween the two chicken legs, crisp ap­ple cider de­liv­ers a sweet flavour and ten­der meat. And while you could keep it au na­turel, we say it’s not BBQ with­out a sticky glaze. Our sweet and tangy ver­sion will not dis­ap­point. We sug­gest whip­ping up a dou­ble batch and slather­ing it on ribs, pork ten­der­loin and wings.


1 tbsp (15 mL) ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 1 onion, finely diced

1 ½ tsp (7.5 mL) fresh thyme leaves 2 cups (500 mL) straw­ber­ries, minced 3 tbsp (45 mL) bal­samic vine­gar

3 tbsp (45 mL) honey

Pinch each of salt and pep­per


1 ½ tbsp (22 mL) minced fresh thyme leaves

1 ½ tbsp (22 mL) fresh lemon zest 1 tsp (5 mL) smoked sweet pa­prika 1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt

1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black pep­per 2 tbsp (30 mL) ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 1 (3 to 4 lb) whole chicken

1 can (473 mL) of dry al­co­holic ap­ple cider

4 whole sprigs of fresh thyme


1. Pre­heat your BBQ to medium-high (about 375°F) with the burn­ers on only one side of the grill.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Add in the onion and thyme, and sea­son with a pinch each of salt and pep­per. Sauté on low heat un­til it be­gins to caramelize and turn an am­ber colour, about 45-50 min­utes.

3. Add in the straw­ber­ries, bal­samic, and honey and in­crease the heat to medi­umhigh. Cover with a lid and sim­mer un­til the straw­ber­ries break down and soften. Re­move the lid and cook to thicken for 2 min­utes, then trans­fer to a high-power blender or food pro­ces­sor and purée un­til very smooth. Sea­son with salt and pep­per, to taste.

4. Mean­while, in an­other small bowl, mix to­gether the thyme leaves, lemon zest, pa­prika, salt, pep­per and oil. Set aside.

5. Re­move the neck and giblets from the chicken and dis­card. Pat the chicken dry with paper tow­els.

6. Drink about half of the cider (yay for drink­ing while cook­ing!) and insert a few sprigs of thyme into the can. Place the can on a flat sur­face.

7. Gen­tly mas­sage the chicken with the rub and ma­neu­ver the chicken’s cav­ity over the cider can.

8. Place the chicken into the cen­tre of the BBQ grate on the side where the burn­ers are off (in­di­rect heat), balanc­ing the chicken a bit like a tri­pod on the can and two legs.

9. Cover the BBQ with a lid and cook for about 50 min­utes be­fore check­ing on it. If the ther­mome­ter in­serted into the meaty part of the leg and breast reaches an in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture of 165°F in both ar­eas, it’s done. When it starts to get close to that tem­per­a­ture (about 155°F), gen­er­ously brush on the straw­berry caramelized onion glaze us­ing a heat-proof brush.

10. Once the chicken reaches 165°F, re­move the chicken from the grill, gen­tly lift it off the cider can and dis­card the can. Cover the chicken with alu­minum foil for about 10 min­utes be­fore carv­ing and serv­ing.

PER SERV­ING: 320 calo­ries, 14 g pro­tein,

11 g fat (2 g sat­u­rated fat), 28 g car­bo­hy­drates, 4 g fi­bre, 31 mg choles­terol, 623 mg sodium



Ready to grad­u­ate from the kids’ ta­ble? Take your chicken nuggets to the next level with this spiced co­conut crust. Ten­der pieces of white meat get dressed in a sweet, spicy and aro­matic coat­ing that will be­come your go-to in­stead of any­thing that typ­i­cally comes with fries and a toy. And be­cause this blank slate pro­tein is al­ways more agree­able with some­thing tasty to dunk into, we’ve got you cov­ered with a low-sugar sea­sonal sweet and sour dip. Laced with real chunks of cher­ries and plums, and a zesty hit of fresh gin­ger, it’s fun enough for the kid­dos, but so­phis­ti­cated enough for adults.


½ cup (125 mL) co­conut flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup (250 mL) unsweet­ened shred­ded co­conut

2 tsp (10 mL) Chi­nese five-spice

½ tsp (2.5 mL) turmeric

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) pep­per

4 tsp (20 mL) white sesame seeds

1 lb (500 g) skin­less, bone­less chicken breasts cut into cubes


1 cup (250 mL) red plums, chopped

1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen cher­ries (pit­ted), chopped

1½ tbsp (22 mL) rice wine vine­gar

2 tbsp (30 mL) honey

1 tsp (5 mL) re­duced sodium tamari 1 clove gar­lic, finely minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh gin­ger, finely grated ½ cup (125 mL) wa­ter METHOD

1. Pre­heat oven to 400°F.

2. Place the co­conut flour in one shal­low bowl, the beaten eggs in an­other bowl, and the co­conut, Chi­nese five-spice, turmeric, salt, pep­per and sesame seeds in a third bowl. Sea­son the chicken breast cubes with a pinch each of salt and pep­per, then dunk each cube first in the co­conut flour, then the eggs, and then the co­conut mix­ture.

3. Lay on a bak­ing sheet lined with parch­ment paper and bake for 10-12 min­utes, or un­til toasty brown and cooked to an in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture of 165°F.

4. Mean­while, add all of the in­gre­di­ents for the plum cherry sauce to a medium saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil. Re­duce the heat to medium-low, and sim­mer for 10 min­utes un­til the plums and cher­ries are very soft and fall­ing apart. Mash to break up the chunks, and cook for an ad­di­tional 2 min­utes with the lid off to thicken slightly.

5. Serve the chicken nuggets with the plum cherry sauce and en­joy warm.

PER SERV­ING: 524 calo­ries, 42 g pro­tein, 23 g fat (10 g sat­u­rated fat), 37 g car­bo­hy­drates, 13 g fi­bre, 73 mg choles­terol, 818 mg sodium


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