I have a few confessions. First of all, I need to lose weight. Second, I don’t cook nearly as often as I know I should. We have food allergies to deal with, and a couple of very, very picky eaters. I compensate for some of our challenges by buying a lot of whole grains and fresh vegetables. I choose low sodium and low fat options where I can. The little things really can add up when you’re trying to guide your kids in choosing healthier food options.
The American Cancer Society has some guidelines for healthier eating, including eating lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. They also encourage you to cut back on processed and red meat, refined carbs, sugar, and fat. When they asked me to share a healthy recipe this holiday season, I had a moment of panic. After all, I love to bake. But then I realized that I do have some healthy tricks up my sleeve. This recipe, in particular, is so incredibly easy, and delicious, and can be made in a super healthy way. You won’t even know it’s a healthy meal. Neither will your kids. For more healthy meals, check out the American Cancer Society’s A Healthier Holiday Table.
I haven’t adapted this much from the way I regularly serve it, but here are my tips for healthy cooking:
- We use chicken, but you can also use turkey, which is even lower in fat.
- I always choose low sodium canned veggies when not using fresh, and I also prefer the low sodium taco seasoning and chicken broth. We add salt to taste at the end, rather than having everything pre-salted.
- The Greek yogurt is much lower in fat than the cream cheese, but make sure to include one or the other. It ties the whole thing together and makes it feel much more decadent than it is.
- Whole wheat or flax tortillas are generally healthier than the corn hard taco shells, but you can also serve this over a bed of lettuce with some corn and black beans.
- I have to sneak veggies into meals. If you do, too, note that the tomatoes are well-integrated into this dish (like a pasta sauce). Add in diced onions, jalapeno peppers, or even another vegetable puree for more veggies in each serving.
- Pair this meal with black beans for a side.
- 32 oz (2 cans) diced tomatoes (low sodium)
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breast or turkey breast
- 16 oz water or low sodium chicken broth
- 4-8 oz cream cheese or 8 oz plain Greek yogurt
- 2-3 packets of low sodium taco seasonings or equivalent, depending on how strong you like your flavors – I also add extra cumin to taste
- Shredded cheese (we prefer Monterey Jack)
- Whole wheat or flax tortillas, or hard taco shells
- Shredded lettuce
- Salt to taste
- Cover the bottom of the crock pot with the tomatoes
- Place the chicken on top of the tomatoes
- Add the taco seasonings
- Add water or broth (the goal is to come close to covering the chicken, but it doesn’t need to be fully covered)
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4, rotate chicken breasts occasionally to promote even cooking
- Remove chicken breasts to a bowl, shred with two forks, return to crock pot
- Add cream cheese or yogurt and stir until melted/combined
- Season to taste
Serve on the tortillas/taco shells with lettuce, some cheese, and, if you’d like, a dollop of Greek yogurt. Unless your family is on the larger side, this will make a lot of leftovers for quick meals later in the week. It reheats well and the flavor intensifies. You can easily cut it in half if you’re not a fan of leftovers.
Disclosure: This post is written in support of the American Cancer Society and their More Birthdays initiative. There was no compensation involved.