Thursday, September 24, 2009

Picking Your Meal Apart

Don’t you sometimes wonder when your eating a supposed healthy meal, what is really healthy about it, what it can do for your body, and what vitamins and such it provides? I usually just jump at the word healthy, but for today’s meal, I wanted to see what it was really doing for me!

The meal:


Swiss Chicken with Roasted Fruit Compote

(recipe below)


Butternut Squash Fries

(recipe here)

[[Picking It Apart]]

    • Chicken (4 oz breast)
  • 4 ounces of chicken provide two thirds of your daily protein requirements
  • A serving of chicken supplies 72% of the RDA for niacin, a B vitamin that can protect DNA from cell damage and has cancer-preventative properties.
  • That 4-ounce serving of chicken also provides nearly half of your RDA of the trace mineral selenium that is essential for manufacturing glutathione, a powerful immune boosting and cancer-fighting enzyme.
  • Vitamin B6 in chicken helps process carbohydrates and helps regulate blood sugar.
    • Cheese
  • Cheese contains a high concentration of essential nutrients, in particular high quality protein and calcium, as well as other nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin, and vitamin B12.
  • Certain cheeses such as Cheddar, Swiss, blue, Monterey Jack, and process American cheese, among others, have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of dental cavities.
  • Because cheese is a calcium-rich food, its inclusion in the diet may help reduce the risk for osteoporosis.
    • Apples
  • Apples are source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of arteriosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system.
  • It is a good idea to eat apples with their skin. Almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin. Eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content.
    • Cherries
  • Cherries, along with many other berries, are a rich source of antioxidants. They help prevent or repair the damage that is done to the body’s cells by free radicals. This means that antioxidants replace free radicals in your body before they can cause any damage.
  • Cherries are rich in two important flavonoids, isoqueritrin and queritrin, which act as antioxidants and work to eliminate byproducts of oxidative stress, therefore slowing down the aging process.
  • Melatonin is also found to help the body’s natural sleep patterns. Since the body so rapidly absorbs melatonin, cherries can increase melatonin levels in the blood, therefore improving the way you sleep.
    • Butternut Squash
  • Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects such as spina bifida.
  • As if this weren't enough, butternut squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content. Incorporating more of this hearty winter staple into your diet could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.


Sounds like a power-packed meal to me! I bet a lot of you eat great tasting meals filled with tons of benefits. Maybe take a few minutes this weekend and pick apart your meal. I’d love to see a picture and the health benefits your getting—so email me at and I will post my favorite next week! =)


Swiss Chicken with Roasted Fruit Compote Recipe



  • 1 oz red wine vinegar
  • 1.5 oz apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 c chopped Fuji apple
  • 1/2 oz unsalted butter
  • 3.25 oz of Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 3.25 oz of frozen bing cherries, thawed


  • For the marinade: Place the red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, the mustards, and honey in a food processor. Turn it on and drizzle in the olive oil until fully incorporated. Marinate the chicken breasts overnight in this mixture. Or in my case, I did it for 3 hours, and it worked fine!
  • Preheat 12-inch skillet sprayed with nonstick spray on med-high. Remove chicken breasts from the marinade and transfer to a plate. Season them with salt and pepper. Cook each chicken breast about 4 minutes on both sides, and transfer back to plate. (Chicken breasts will still not be fully cooked, so do wash your hands and take precautions with using raw meat!)
  • For the stuffing: Peel, core, and very roughly chop the apples. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium/high heat and add the apples. Cook the apples for roughly 5 to 10 minutes or until they are deeply browned. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the Swiss and cherries and mix. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  • For the chicken: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a slit in the side of each breast (in the thicker part) about 1-inch wide, creating a pocket almost as large as the breast itself. Stuff the breasts with the apple stuffing mix – cramming in as much as possible without ripping the breast.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast.

Great blend of sweet and savory flavors!


Krista said...

Great breakdown! I've never thought to do something like that before. Hopefully I can actually get some time to cook a proper meal this weekend so that I can break it down for ya!

Thanks for the recipe, too!

Jenny said...

great analysis of that meal -- it sounds perfect :)

p.s. that may be the world's cutest toaster, ever.

Kim said...

First of that a Hello Kitty toaster oven? How adorable :D I want one! You did a great job of breaking all that down and explaining the benefits. It would be interesting to take a "unhealthy" recipe and break it down in the opposite way. I should do that with a Paula Deen recipe :D

Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries said...

Love your "picking apart" segment.. I think it's so important to know just what our food is contributing to our bodies (aside from yums haha)

Anonymous said...

hey girlie! I HAD to start followin' your blog because we have the same name and age! my name is Cassandra (pronounced cahsahndra, not cahsaandra) but everyone calls me Cassie for short. I just started college this year and my own blog in july. if you get a chance please check it out :)

Anonymous said...

omg, is your middle name leigh??? mine is lea (pronounced lee)! this is too crazy!

Erica said...

oh my gosh! I am sooooo excited to see your hair. You must promise to post pics. Love this breakdown! Its good to truly understand if/why a meal is "healthy"- hleps you make good decisions!

Shannon, Tropical Eats said...

Cute new blog layout!!! This is one power packed meal like you said.. butternut squash is so good! PS girly I changed my Healthy Beach Bum blogger account to a Wordpress account.. and have a giveaway going. Have a lovely weekend!! <3

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