Figuring out how to meal plan for daily intermittent fasting (IF) can be a bit tricky, since you need to be carb and calorie cycling in order to see the benefits of IF on your body composition over time (ie fat loss and lean muscle gain). So I've decided to start creating all my recipe posts as full meals that correspond to either a Low Cal/Carb Day or High Cal/Carb days, to make it easy for you to start incorporating into your daily fasting routine.
I myself don't fall into any particular "diet" camp. I'm not Paleo, I'm not Vegan, I'm not Atkins....I like to have flexibility in my nutrition, and enjoy ALL kinds of foods (including treats), and I'm even flexible with my IF when I'm not focused on getting leaner. But animal protein is a staple in my weekly menu, and from a macros perspective, it's a much easier way to ensure that you get in quality protein without having an abundance of carbs - especially if it's your LOW crab/calorie day.
But being a creature of habit, and eating chicken every week, it can get preeeeetttty boring, right? So I'm always trying to think of ways to jazz up this simple bird AND to add more nutrition to it AND to have it fit with my Intermittent Fasting lifestyle. So when I played around with this recipe a week ago, and it came out DEEELISH, I knew I had to share it with you!
There's a few amazing ingredients in this "breading". First off, the base is roasted almonds that are ground fresh, giving it an amazing flavor and adding much needed healthy fats - super important on your LOW cal/carbs days! Without fats, you are gonna be HAAANGRY (hungry + angry) - so don't shy away from good fats. You need them! And because it's almonds, it's also gluten-free (GF).
I then added one of THE best spices: turmeric (curcuma longa). This ancient spice is a great antioxidant, helps improve brain health, and lowers inflammation in the body. I'm sure you've heard of the latest trends with "Golden Milk" or "Golden Lattes" - you're fave morning bevvies served up with a good dose of turmeric. While I havn't tried a Golden Latte yet (what am I waiting for?!), I knew I wanted to spice up ;) this recipe.
The last powerhouse nutrient I added to this breading was nutritional yeast. I've been hearing about it for years from some of my favorite bloggers like Tosca Reno and Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows! but I just never got around to using it. Then I picked some up from my local health food store and was shocked at how much nutrition is in it. In just one quarter TEASPOON, you get an INSANE amount of vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid (important in pregnancy), and B12. AND it tastes cheesy, yet it's dairy-free (DF)! Perfect if you have any dairy sensitivities or follow a vegan diet.
Of course, when you have a LOW cal/carb day, the focus is going to be on getting in protein, healthy fats, and of course, veggies! I try to have green veggies at each main meal, and veggies from the brassica (broccoli) family should be a staple in your weekly menu. They're super important for balancing hormones, especially as a woman, so I try to get 3-4 servings in weekly. But just be warned, eating a lot of asparagus will cause your pee to smell, and of course there's broccoli/cauliflower farts - oh joy! That doesn't stop me from eating them though lol.
Hope you like this recipe - if you try it let us know in the comments below!
Golden Almond Chicken with Cheesy Asparagus
Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 30min | Total Time: 40min | Yield: 6-8 servings
900 grams boneless, skinless chicken breast (~4 large breasts)
3/4 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
500 grams asparagus spears, washed and ends trimmed
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
Squeeze of lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
In a coffee grinder or food processor, pulse the almonds until you get a coarse grind. You will also have chunks of almonds, and that's ok!
Place the ground almonds in a medium-sized bowl, and add nutritional yeast, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and turmeric.
In another small bowl, whisk the egg.
Using a fork, dip the chicken breast into the egg, then into the breading, making sure to coat it evenly. Put any large pieces of almond you find on top of the chicken. Place into a large baking dish, and bake it in the oven for ~ 30 minutes (or until your chicken is no longer pink on the inside).
While chicken bakes, prepare a steaming basket for the asparagus. Steam them for 6-8 minutes, or until they are bright green and tender-crisp. Remove them from heat.
Make your plate: Half/one chicken breast with half the steamed asparagus. Sprinkle one teaspoon of nutritional yeast, a pinch of sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice over the asparagus.
NOTE: This amount of asparagus is for 2 servings. You can quickly steam up more for meals later in the week (tastes waaaay better fresh!).