As the North-east continues to be blessed with glorious sunshine and high temperatures, our thoughts are turning to getting in shape for summer weather.
We all know exercise plays a huge role in transforming our winter bodies, but there’s no point slogging away in the gym if you are not going to devise a healthy diet to help shed those few extra pounds.
Chicken is fantastic if you’re looking for a great source of lean, low fat protein. The protein in chicken lends itself to muscle growth and development, and helps support a healthy body weight and aid weight loss.
It is also rich in vitamin B6 (or B-complex vitamins) and encourages enzymes and metabolic cellular reactions, which means eating the bird will keep blood vessels healthy, energy levels high, and metabolism burning calories so you can manage a healthy weight and activity level.
Here at JK Fine Foods, like our fresh Scottish meat and game, our range of poultry is reared and butchered in Scotland guaranteeing full traceability from field to fork.
Unlike chicken bought from a supermarket, which is often pumped with water and additives, our selection which includes everything from the whole bird to breasts, supremes, wings and stir fry strips, all come straight from suppliers, giving you added reassurance that all produce bought from us is fresh - and we can guarantee that nothing we supply is shock frozen.
So, not only will adding chicken to your diet help with your battle against the bulge, it will also bring a number of other health benefits:
On a chicken high: It might sound silly, but the bird is a natural anti-depressant. High in an amino acid called tryptophan, chicken is proven to give you a boost when you feel down. Eating the bird will also increase serotonin levels in your brain, perking you up in time for your exercise routine.
Good for your heart: The super bird suppresses homocysteine, which is an amino acid that can cause cardiovascular disease if levels are high in the body. So chicken helps to promote a healthy heart.
Help with your health MOT: The bird has a wealth of health benefits to help keep your body in tune. Rich in phosphorus, introducing chicken to your diet means you will add the essential mineral supporting your teeth and bones, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system function.
It is also rich in selenium, which is good for your thyroid, hormone balance, metabolism, and immune function. Chicken is high in retinol, alpha and beta-carotene, and lycopene, all derived from vitamin A, and all vital for healthy eyesight.
Why not kick-start your healthy diet with our delicious recipe for chicken Caesar salad – simple to make after working out at the gym.
Chicken Caesar Salad
6 x chicken supremes
250g Parmesan, shaved
4 slices white bread
6 slices thick cut pancetta
100ml maple syrup
1 small cos lettuce
1 small iceberg lettuce
1 pkt baby gem lettuce
For the dressing
2 egg yolks
1 clove garlic
60g Parmesan, grated
500ml olive pomace oil
Lea and Perrins
Salt and pepper
First make the dressing, place the egg yolk into a food processor with the anchovies, garlic and parmesan and blitz until almost smooth. Next, slowly and add the oil while continuing to blitz. If the egg mixture is not accepting the oil and is starting to split, add a little warm water, then continue to add the rest of the oil until emulsified. Finish with salt and pepper and a few drops of Tabasco and Lea and Perrins to your taste.
For the croutons, remove the crust from the bread and dice. Place in a bowl with a little oil, salt and pepper and bake in the oven until golden and crispy.
For the pancetta, place on an oven tray lined with greaseproof, then lay another sheet of greaseproof on top and cover with another oven tray. Bake in the oven at 170°c for 15-20 minutes or until the pancetta is starting to crisp. Remove from the oven and brush each slice of pancetta with the maple syrup then place back in the oven for 5 minutes to finish.
Heat up a large griddle pan, season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pan and colour on both sides. Finish in the oven until the chicken is cooked through.
To prepare the lettuce, discard any bruised outer leaves and cut into large sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and add the croutons and shaved Parmesan. Next add your dressing, enough to coat the lettuce. Divide between six bowls and carve each chicken on top of the salad. Finish with the crispy pancetta.