Luckily, I don't look at dieting with total dread. I use the time to cut back on cheese and wine (my caloric Achilles heel), and spend a little more money on fresh produce, bright condiments, and fresh seafood.
What I refuse to do:
- Buy skim milk
- Subsist on diet shakes, bars, or cookies
- Base my meals on frozen or prepackaged meals filled with "reduced fat" this or "lite" that (although, I'll eat them in a real pinch when I've forgotten to pack a lunch for work)
- Totally exile bacon, butter, oils, and other fats from my kitchen
With that being said, what you'll see in my diet is real food, with indulgent ingredients used in moderation. I started with a Thai-style chicken salad: It's not authentic to my knowledge, but it's based on ingredients I had in my kitchen prior to going to the grocery store; and for me, it hits all of the right flavor notes that remind me of my favorite Thai place down the street. Who says dieting can't be delicious?
Thai-Style Chicken Salad
Serves 4 as a wrap or with a green salad
2-3 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
2 T. peanut butter (I use an all-natural PB with ingredients: Peanuts, Salt)
2 t. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 t. Sriracha (see this article to learn more: Gourmet Magazine: A Rooster's Wake-Up Call)
1 t. soy sauce
1/2 t. finely minced ginger
1/4 t. finely minced garlic
2 T. chopped scallions
1 T. chopped sweet onion
1/4 c. thinly sliced celery
1/4 c. thinly sliced red bell pepper
Salt & Pepper
To serve: Lavash wraps or tortillas, Boston lettuce leaves, or a green salad
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, sriracha, tamari/soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a sprinkle each of salt and pepper until well combined. Toss in chicken, scallions, sweet onion, celery, and bell pepper, and stir until everything is well coated in the dressing. If needed, whisk in 1-2 teaspoons of water or vegetable/chicken stock. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour for flavors to meld. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve in wraps, with lettuce cups, or atop of a green salad.