If you're looking to cut back on both extra carbs and excessive time in the kitchen, then this delicious one-pan meal that is made all at once in the oven is right up your alley. Though satisfying all on its own, you can bulk up the meal with baked sweet potatoes slathered in coconut oil and a side of coleslaw dressed in lemon juice, mashed avocado, and a dab of honey.
Oven-baked "naked" chicken tenders and zucchini fries with zero breading but ALL of the flavor!
About this recipe
Both the chicken and the zucchini are seasoned with delicious herbs and spices that are Autoimmune Protocol compliant and full of flavor.
Onions can be wonderful for the thyroid! Red onions are full of antioxidants, in particular. Note that eating cooked onions versus raw may be best for your thyroid as the cooking process reduces the amount of quercetin in them, as quercetin may inhibit thyroperoxidase activity.
Garlic may help to inhibit the growth of thyroid cancer cells, according to one study, but more research is still needed. According to biologist Louis Pasteur, garlic also has an antibacterial effect against bacteria like H. Pylori—a common underlying issue in those with autoimmune thyroid conditions.
Keeping a shaker full of pretty-in-pink, mineral-rich Himalayan salt is not just a lovely way to decorate your kitchen counter; it is also a great way to keep your electrolytes in check. Balanced electrolytes are vital to the adrenal harmony that is essential for thyroid balance. Add a sprinkle of pink salt to your morning glass of water and a squirt of lemon juice for a frugal, easy, sugar-free sports drink!
Forget spending two hours in the kitchen heating a deep fryer, breading chicken cutlets with multiple bowls of dredging and battering, or getting grease splatter all over the countertop.
This super easy version of chicken fingers and fries is much healthier for your thyroid versus drive-through fast food. It's also one of those meals where you only dirty up a couple of dishes and then wash them up while the meal cooks.
This recipe easily doubles, too, so that way you can get ahead with some meal prepping. All you have to do is have another large sheet pan on hand and space your oven racks about five inches apart. Voila - double the dippable chicken fingers and veggie fries fun!
If you've not yet tried meal prep, you are SO in for a mini-vacation during the week when you do some batch cooking on the weekends or your days off.
Envision and feel the metaphorical breeze now: It's Tuesday at 6:30 pm, you've just gotten off work, and your tummy is starting to grumble. You may even be feeling the "hangries." But you don't fret because you know you have a pre-made meal waiting for you to reheat and enjoy!
The hangries come when you start to feel grouchy because your blood sugar has dropped, and you need to eat STAT. It's almost inevitable that they come on when there is no food to be immediately consumed. This state of hunger can lead to opting for fast food, junky snacks, or simply not eating because you are exhausted from the lack of balanced blood sugar. Unfortunately, when your blood sugar is imbalanced, your thyroid function is affected, leaving you feeling even more fatigued and stressed.
A remedy to this problem is to have some thyroid-healthy meals and snacks ready to eat before the hangries strike. Getting ahead of your hunger by utilizing meal planning can make all difference in the quality of life and food choices.
Meal prep tips for a happy, hangry-less thyroid
Keep it simple
When you sit down to plan out which recipes you want to eat next week, try not to pick out several complicated, lengthy options. Choose recipes that take 30 minutes or less to whip together. This way, you won't feel stressed out when the batch cooking day arrives, and you are staring at multiple 15-ingredient, 30-instruction recipes. Instead, feel relieved that if you cook three meals that day, it will only take you 90 minutes because the recipes you picked out were quick and straightforward.
Divvy up your batch-cooking days
You may not be able to fathom spending three hours straight in the kitchen, making 5 or 6 simple recipes. The time can add up quickly, especially when you have thyroid fatigue! Try cooking just your meats for 90 minutes on a Saturday and then making the veggie sides on Sunday. Or if you are making one-pan meals, make two recipes on Saturday and the remaining recipes on Sunday.
Use grocery delivery
Many stores have shifted to accommodate for online grocery shopping. Personally, this has been a lifesaver for me. I look at my grocery list, add everything to my online cart, and someone brings everything to my doorstep on my delivery day. Such a precious time and energy saver!
This Zucchini and Chicken Fingers recipe is one of those stress-free, quick recipes that you'll want to cook on repeat over and over again.
Try new spices for an Italian or Mexican flare. Give dusting them with a bit of coconut flour or tiger nut flour before baking a go. Get creative with it and try new veggies like rutabaga or turnip, and different meats too, like salmon fingers or steak fingers. Easy recipes never have to mean boring!
Zucchini and chicken fries recipe
One-pan meal alert! A grown-up, coconut-free AIP version of kid food that's fun for dunking and dipping. Serves 3.
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4" thick fry shapes
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into the same size as the zucchini
- 2 tsp avocado oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp onion powder, divided
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder, divided
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, divided (Sub ginger if you plan on eating this dish with your fingers!)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt, divided
- Dried or fresh parsley for garnish (Optional)
- Place an oven rack in the top 1/4 of your oven, and set to broil at 500 F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment if desired, trimming the exposed paper off of the edges so that it doesn't burn.
- Add the chicken pieces to a medium mixing bowl, and drizzle with half the oil. Sprinkle half of the seasonings over the top, then mix well to coat evenly.
- Line up the pieces evenly in a single layer on half of the parchment. Now add the zucchini to the bowl, and repeat with the oil, seasonings, and mixing.
- Line up the zucchini on the other half of the parchment in the same manner.
- Broil for 6 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through, and zucchini has barely softened a bit.
- Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.