By Maelee Sutton, Dietetic Intern
This shredded chicken recipe is full of flavor yet requires minimal hands-on cooking time. All you need to use is a crock pot! The versatility of this recipe cannot be beat; with its Hispanic influence, it is perfect for burrito bowls, tacos, salads, nachos and more. What’s even better is this recipe can be made in bulk and saved in the fridge for the week.
Tomato: The principle phytochemical in tomatoes is called lycopene, which gives tomatoes (and other red fruits and vegetables) their notable bright red color. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant, helping to reduce risk of several cancers and heart disease (i) Cooking the tomatoes actually helps your body absorb and use the lycopene more easily, maximizing the positive effects (ii).
Lime: The juice of a lime is rich in ascorbic acid, more commonly known as vitamin C, which helps in wound healing and immune system strengthening. It also contains anti-nausea properties by neutralizing stomach bile. (iii)
Chicken: Very high in protein, chicken is crucial to building and maintaining muscle. Consumption of protein can help reduce cancer-related weight loss and assist in the maintenance of lean body mass. (iv)
Garlic: One of the most poignant additions to this dish, it packs a nutritional punch on top of its flavor. The nutrients found in garlic are comprehensive and diverse, including potassium, zinc, calcium, etc (v). As a result, its benefits are also diverse, spanning from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to reducing risk of various cancers. Its antioxidant properties widely benefit the body’s immune system and strengthen its defense against sickness (vi).
Onion: Another strongly flavored allium vegetable, the onion brings various health benefits as well. Onions are high in vitamin B6, which helps with hemoglobin synthesis and thus overall blood health. It is also high in magnesium and calcium, which play a role in bone health among other uses. Overall, onions have been shown to assist in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention (vii).
- 1.5 lb chicken breasts (2-3 breasts)
- ½ cup diced tomato (canned or fresh)
- ½ cup diced white onion (approx. ¼ medium onion)
- 2 tbsp of garlic powder
- 2 tsp cayenne (optional for spicier taste)
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- Juice of one small lime
- Place the chicken breast in the slow cooker/crock pot
- Season with garlic, cayenne, paprika and chili powder
- Dice onion and dump into slow cooker
- Pour in the lime juice
- Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or high 3-4 hours
- When the breasts are cooked, shred with two forks
- Cover and finish cooking on low for 30-45 minutes
- Serve with corn tortillas, over a salad, or however you like
- This recipe makes approximately 5 servings. Double for a family-sized meal prep! You could also try this recipe in an instant pot with a much shorter cooking time
- Sub 2 tbsp garlic powder for 2 tbsp of minced garlic if you have fresh garlic
- To make a taco salad, start with salad greens, top with chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion, diced bell peppers, and black or pinto beans, and toss with the shredded chicken and dressing of your choice
- To make a burrito bowl, simply follow the salad recipe, but replace ½ salad greens with brown rice
- For delicious tacos, fill soft corn tortillas with shredded chicken, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream
- Singh, P., & Goyal, G. K. (2008). Dietary lycopene: Its properties and anticarcinogenic effects. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 7(3), 255-270.
- Weisburger, J. H. (2002). Lycopene and tomato products in health promotion. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 227(10), 924-927.
- Subha, G. (2013). Medicinal properties of lime and its traditional food value. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences ISSN, 2319, 555X.
- Pasiakos, S. M., Cao, J. J., Margolis, L. M., Sauter, E. R., Whigham, L. D., McClung, J. P., … & Young, A. J. (2013). Effects of high protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial.
- Ansary, J., Forbes-Hernández, T. Y., Gil, E., Cianciosi, D., Zhang, J., Elexpuru-Zabaleta, M., … & Battino, M. (2020). Potential health benefit of garlic based on human intervention studies: A brief overview. Antioxidants, 9(7), 619.
- Tsai, C. W., Chen, H. W., Sheen, L. Y., & Lii, C. K. (2012). Garlic: Health benefits and actions. BioMedicine, 2(1), 17-29.