“Often people tend to avoid dinner if they had a huge office lunch,” says Naazneen Sali-Ameen, Nestlé Health and Wellness Manager, “but the problem with this is that skipping a meal causes your blood sugar levels to nose-dive.”
Why is that important?
“Our bodies break down food into sugar and this sugar is used to fuel us. If we don’t consume it in the right amounts, or we don’t eat the right kind of ‘sugar’, it affects all our organs. The result is that you start feeling tired and sometimes listless. Your body shifts into ‘conservation’ mode to hold on to energy, rather than expend it, and as a result, it slows your metabolism,” explains Sali-Ameen.
“If you have overindulged during the day, instead of skipping dinner altogether, opt for a light meal, consisting of a lean protein, like fish or chicken breast, and a quick butternut salad with some greens like spinach or watercress.”
One of her favourite winter dinners is chicken chilli, a recipe from the Very Best Baking By Nestlé.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1½ pounds (0,7kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 to 1½ cups mild salsa verde
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained
- 1 can pinto beans, drained
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup loose-pack frozen corn
- 1 can NESTLÉ® IDEAL Medium Fat Evaporated Milk
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
- Baked tortilla chips and light sour cream for serving (optional)
Heat oil in large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add chicken, cook on each side until golden. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover.
Add onion to the same saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Stir in cumin and coriander, cook for 30 seconds. Stir in salsa verde, cannellini beans, pinto beans, water and corn. Cook for about 10 minutes or until hot.
Cut or shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to saucepan along with any accumulated juices on a plate. Stir in evaporated milk and spinach, cook for a few minutes just until heated through and spinach is slightly wilted.
Serve topped with crumbled tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream.
Serves 8 (1 cup each) | Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins
What about dessert?
“My personal favourite in winter is poached pear and homemade custard with reduced amounts of sugar,” says Sali-Ameen.
If you’re in a rush to satisfy the craving, a shortcut would be to slice a ripe pear into a ramekin, sprinkle some cinnamon on top and microwave for about one minute. Pour homemade custard over it, add some slivered almonds and voila! Sweet tooth satisfied, but also a proper serving of fruit and some calcium too.
Time to unwind
Feeling stressed is just one of the reasons we often turn to fattening, comfort food. So how does this dietitian unwind after a busy day?
“I have a 14-month-old busy boy, so my winding down happens only when he goes to bed,” says Sali-Ameen, “I believe that wellness includes the mental, emotional and spiritual, just as much as physical in order to live a better life. My hubby and I do our evening prayer together, then have a cuppa.”