The other day I went to buy some of the individual bags of flavored waters for my kids. I was thinking that they would be preferable to the no-sugar-added juice boxes I normally offer to hydrate them in the car. Water, I reasoned, is always a healthier choice than juice.
What a surprise, then, to see that one of the most popular brands of these water bags listed high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient and sucralose as the fourth!
Some believe our current epidemic of obesity and skyrocketing health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can be directly traced to the abundance of high fructose corn syrup in our packaged foods. It is a highly processed sweetener, one of the many synthetic sweeteners available that fool the body into secreting extra hormones and packing on the pounds.
Results from an 8-year study of more than 1,500 people by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, suggest that those who drank diet sodas gained more weight than those who didn’t.
Organic, unrefined, unbleached sugar from sugar cane is always a more health-conscious choice over high fructose corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-k and sucralose.
Additional healthy options to satisfy a sweet tooth might include locally-collected honey, real maple syrup, nothing-added fruit juices and brands of chocolate syrup that don’t contain trans-fats or high fructose corn syrup.
Here’s a tangy recipe that uses citrus and honey to be sweet and healthy without resorting to synthetic ingredients to cut calories.
Citrus-Ginger Chicken with Root Vegetables
Servings : 4
4 Tbsp. ginger, freshly grated or 1 tsp. dried
4 Tbsp. honey
4 pieces chicken, fresh or frozen
1 sweet potato, cut in 1/2 " chunks
1 parsnip, 1/4" slices
1 turnip, 1/4" slices
1 cup broccoli florets
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray inside of 3 1/2- or 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven and lid with olive oil or vegetable oil.
Wash the orange and lemon carefully and grate the zest from 1 of each into a small mixing bowl. Add the dry or grated ginger to the bowl and the honey. Slice the fruit in half and squeeze the juice from the scraped lemon and orange into the bowl and stir well until honey dissolves. Slice the remaining fruits into thin rounds and arrange in the bottom of pot in alternating order (orange, lemon, orange, lemon, etc.) to cover in a single layer.
Arrange chicken pieces on top of the citrus rounds and pour 1/2 of juice mixture over chicken, spreading to cover. Layer with sweet potatoes, parsnips, and turnips and cover with remainder of juice mixture, making sure to include the chunks of zest and ginger. Top with a final layer of broccoli florets.
Cover and bake for about 53 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully-cooked meal wafts from the oven.
This is a tangy dish with an unexpectedly sweet, zesty flavor that is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I enjoy serving this to company and seeing their surprise when they discover that they've been enjoying turnips and parsnips—vegetables with undeserved negative reputations.
I prefer to leave the skins of potatoes, parsnips, and turnips on and simply scrub them well and remove any eyes or bad spots. Peeling is always optional in a Glorious Pot Meal and vegetable skins add many vital nutrients while aiding digestion. Once you peel a vegetable it is no longer a “whole food.” On the other hand, I can live without chicken skin.
Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Elizabeth Yarnell is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, inventor, and author of Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach to Dutch oven cooking. Surprisingly, Elizabeth didn’t discover parsnips or turnips until she was in her 30s. Visit her online to subscribe to her free newsletter at www.GloriousOnePotMeals.com. Her unique cooking technique holds US patent 6,846,504.