Eat Smart with Jan Tilley: Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich

Need a vacation, from your vacation?

Hopefully, this month has brought out the best of your peak performance. In seeking to be the very best, we must not forget the importance of downtime.  Ask any performer and they will tell you the key to their success is ensuring adequate rest and recovery.  In our practice at JTA Wellness, we find that many of our clients have a case of the “go-go’s” (no not the band!); where they tend to be going to a soccer game, going on business trip, going to plan a party, or going to babysit the grandbabies.  Seldom do we hear people state they are taking time out of their day to recharge and let their body recoup. This week we want to challenge you to take charge of some of that long overdue R&R!

Think of the different areas of performance we have discussed this month (cognitive, digestive, emotional, athletic) and how much dedication they require on a daily basis. We have to be actively striving to achieve peak performance, but the strategy lies in the balance of not running oneself ragged; finding the yin to go with the yang, if you will!

Let’s explore the impact of rest and recovery on each of the performance areas.

Cognitive: We all know the feeling of being ‘brain-dead’.  When this happens take a step back and determine the reason behind that feeling. Is the brain not being fueled? Are we overwhelmed or stressed? Take time out of the day to assess your mental prowess.  It is a simple way of slowing down to give the mind the space it needs to perform at its peak.

Digestive: Learning that the gut has a mind of its own means it too needs adequate amounts of downtime. Giving your gut rest through deep breathing exercises, eliminating heavy calorie laden foods, or incorporating fiber rich foods that keep things moving are all solutions to managing your GI recovery.

Emotional: Who doesn’t need an emotional reboot from time to time?  Often when we are feeling emotionally imbalanced, we are simply tired.  Sleep is a time in which the body has a chance to heal and repair itself. Catching enough zzz’s can also affect your body’s reaction to insulin, along with other appetite stimulating hormones. How much is too much?  Click here to learn more about how much sleep we should be getting and its impact on our health.

Athletic: A body in motion will continue to stay in motion, unless there is an outside force getting in the way. Remember, with training more is not always better.  Over-training or over-use of the body can lead to excessive wear and tear. Tapering off before a competition, stretching, adding flexibility workouts are all vital aspects of a training routine.

This week’s Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich is a combination of the art of meal assembly and the ease of a slap together sandwich. Use grilled chicken (that can be marinated and grilled ahead of time), along with a zesty tatziki sauce (purchased or prepared using the recipe below) to create the ultimate performance sandwich on this your day of R&R!

Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich

30 mins + marinade
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

GRILLED CHICKEN

4 (5oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon each ground pepper, cumin & turmeric


TZATZIKI SAUCE

1 large cucumber thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon light sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt

BREAD & SPREAD
2 tablespoons hummus
8 slices artisan bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs fresh dill

Nutrition Information
340 calories, 11g fat, 65mg cholesterol, 780mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 31g protein
(Sodium is dependent on the artisan bread chosen.)

1. Combine chicken, buttermilk, Kosher salt, pepper, curry, cumin, and turmeric in a large re-sealable plastic bag, seal, and turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine cucumber, red onion, sour cream, lemon juice, celery seeds, and Greek yogurt.

3. Grill chicken until cooked through, 5–7 minutes per side. Brush bread on both sides with oil and grill until toasted, about 2 minutes per side; spread with hummus. Layer with chicken breast, tzatziki sauce, sprinkle with fresh dill and enjoy!

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