The holidays are behind us and, if you’re like me, all those sweets, cocktails and high-calorie foods have left you bloated, out of sorts and a little heavier than you’d like. My suggestion? Lighten up with lemons.
Lemons aren’t a slim-down magic bullet, but they’re a terrific way to add flavor to food and drinks without a ton of calories. You can add them to still or sparkling water, garnish food with them and use their juice and peels in dishes to ratchet up flavor. Peels can be grated and added to salads, chicken or fish dishes or blended into smoothies or soups for a citrusy twist.
And lemons are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Lemons are high in vitamin C, folate (vitamin B-9), potassium, flavonoids and compounds called limonoids that may help fight cancer cells and lower cholesterol. They’re also associated with good heart health and the citric acid in lemons may help prevent and break up kidney stones.
A quarter cup of lemon juice contains 31 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C and 3 percent of folate — all for around 13 calories. A whole raw lemon contains 139 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C intake, and has 22 calories.
Lemons are available nationwide anytime, but winter RVers in Florida and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas will find inexpensive fresh lemons October-April. Lemons also keep well. Toss a couple in your RV’s refrigerator and they’ll last several weeks.
Have a favorite lemony recipe you’d like to share?
Email [email protected] with “Lemons” in the subject line.
This is one of my favorite recipes from Eater’s Choice: A Food Lover’s Guide to Lower Cholesterol by Dr. Ron and Nancy Goor. Easy to make, this recipe is a blend of sweet and tart that’ll become a favorite. And it contains only 223 calories per serving!
- 8 boned and skinned chicken-breast halves (I use bone-in thighs)
- Juice of 2½ lemons
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + 2 tablespoons water
- 1-2 lemons, sliced thin
Place chicken in bowl and cover with lemon juice and marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put butter and olive oil in shallow baking pan and melt in oven (about 5 minutes).
Combine flour, salt, paprika and pepper in plastic bag. Remove chicken from marinade and coat each piece with flour by shaking it in bag.
Remove pan from oven and lower heat to 350 F.
Place chicken in pan in single layer.
Peel the yellow peel (zest) from two lemons and chop fine with brown sugar in food processor (or grate and add to brown sugar).
Sprinkle lemon zest/sugar mixture on each chicken breast. Combine lemon juice and water and sprinkle evenly over chicken. Put one lemon slice on each breast and bake chicken for 35-40 minutes until cooked through.