Tandoori Chicken and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Balance is a skill for most of us. We have to learn it, use it, practice it, and, possibly the most difficult, learn to be flexible and create a new balance. This has become evident in my life recently as I have started a new job, am taking MBA courses, have change in gym classes, and would like to fit in a personal life, as well. Before my new job, new MBA courses, and new gym class times, I had much more personal time. I had ample time to plan my week's meals, create well thought out grocery lists, fit in extra running and biking on the weekends, and consistently get to bed by 10pm. But as the world spins it is inevitable that our lives will change. For better or worse, we must learn to adapt and change with it, without losing that balance we worked so hard to find.

If you are anything like me (and the rest of the population), as routines change and your time redistributes itself, you start to look for ways to cut corners. Fresh meats with homemade marinades and sauces turns into prepackaged meats with preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients turns into McDonald's drive through. Fresh and frozen vegetables prepared with fresh herbs, spices, and good-for-you fats turns into microwavable tubs of veggies with packaged processed sauces turns into french fries with your burger. Snacks of fresh cut fruits and vegetables and nuts turns into processed "healthy" snack bars turns into candy bars.

And that's just our diet. Why is that the first to slip? Probably because we do it everyday. Several times a day. Daily. However, because of that fact alone we need to be more cognizant of it. It has probably the biggest single impact on our lives. The better we eat, the better response our bodies will have to stressors like decreased physical activity and sleep patterns. Also, the more likely we will be to limit the stressors in our lives, such as decreased physical activity and sleep patterns.

So how do you balance? First, identify the first corners you cut. Is it breakfast? Hard boil eggs in the beginning of the week, grab two, a banana, and some almonds for a breakfast on the go. Do you opt for the lean cuisine for lunch because it's "easier"? What about pre-cooked and cut grilled chicken strips thrown on top of a bowl of lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes with oil and vinegar (they make pre-cut veggies for your pre-cut lettuce). It takes just as long to throw all that in a container as it does to take out the lean cuisine tray, cut it, cook it, stir it, and let it cool off.  Is drive through easier than baking some pork chops and sweet potatoes?  Both seem pretty fool proof, and one certainly is a lot healthier.

Second big obstacle is children. Yes, I understand that certainly puts a huge road barrier in your way. The nice things about children is that they are at our "mercy". They get to eat what we provide them. Granted, there are certanly things that they prefer which is, unfortunately, often exposed to them through the school system. While we may not be able to change that aspect of their diet, we can control what they eat at home. But it has to be a cooperative effort. Talk to your children and find out what they like. Don't try to force foods on them that they don't like. But, offer it to them, and openly discuss why you are eating it.

Please, think outside the processed packaged box. If you want to fit in more family time, make dinner prep a family affair. Or if planning meals and grocery lists is a mind-boggling endeavour, make a shopping list. Just one. And use it every week. Just get the things that you are out of and stick with a simple ingredient list. Buy pre-cut vegetables if you don't think you'll have the time. Or realize that you can cut vegetables while you fit in that 30-minute sitcom you just have to watch. Besides, then you won't be sitting as much, and your decreased physical activity will thank you for it.

The following recipe takes just a little prep and is super simple to cook.

Tandoori Chicken and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The Food
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1.5" chunks
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 tbs paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp curry
- Dash of cayenne
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Brussels sprouts *quartered, if desired*
- Olive oil

The Prep
The night before, mix the yogurt, ginger, lime juice, spices, garlic, and chicken in a bowl, cover, and refridgerate overnight

The Method
Preheat oven to 350
Toss Brussels sprouts with oil

Spread Brussels sprouts on foil lined and sprayed baking sheet and put in oven on a lower shelf
Drain chicken and placed on foil lined baking sheet (don't need to spray)
Stir sprouts after 30 minutes and increase oven heat to broil
Once broiler is heated put pan of chicken on the top shelf
Cook for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160, turning after 5 minutes
Remove both pans from oven, serve side by side

Enjoy :)

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