I want to talk about blood sugar… again! A dip in blood sugar can make you irritable and tired (‘hangry”) and can precipitate cravings for sugar, carbs and even alcohol. The best way to avoid cravings is to stop them before they start. One way to manage this is to eat plenty of protein. Protein slows digestion of sugars so you can avoid that energy draining, anxiety producing roller coaster ride. Because it takes longer to digest, it will instead provide a more long lasting and sustainable source of energy.
Chicken breast is a great source of lean protein. It provides 23g per 4oz serving. It also provides a healthy amount of B12 which helps with energy levels and supports the normal function of nerve cells. It plays a role in metabolising and synthesizing serotonin, the mood stabilizing neurotransmitter. Additionally among protein’s many benefits, it helps repair cells and make new ones, and builds muscle.
While this recipe calls for a small amount of sugar, this isn’t an instance where I’m concerned about blood sugar spikes precisely because of the amount of protein. If you are off sugar completely, (yay, you!) you can omit it or try maple syrup or honey to add the sweetness to balance the tangy and spicy dish.
I was craving this last week but didn’t have shallot or ginger. I made it anyway, omitting these two ingredients. It was still delicious!
Prepping the lettuce
For the lettuce cups, remove the core and slice off a half inch from the bottom. Hold the head of lettuce stem side up and hold under cold running water to loosen the leaves. Then peel from the stem end to release the leaves. I sometimes trim them with kitchen sheers to neaten them up and make them more uniform but this is totally optional. They’re not meant to look perfect.
What you’ll need for this recipe
- Ground chicken or turkey
- Brown sugar
- Fish sauce
- Chile garlic sauce
- Iceberg or butter lettuce
- Chopped peanuts, sliced chiles, cilantro and extra lime wedges for topping (optional)
Then the fun part, filling the cups. Make sure to stir and scoop up any liquid that’s collected at the bottom of the pan. Top with chopped peanuts, sliced chiles, and crispy rice noodles if desired, with extra limes to squeeze on top.
This is a fun dish that’s also filling and good for you.
- 3 Tbl minced ginger (from about a 2 inch piece)
- 3 Tbl minced shallot (1 large)
- 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
- 1-2 Tbl canola or other neutral flavored oil
- 2 Tbl Brown sugar
- Juice of one lime
- 1 Tbl fish sauce
- 2 Tbl chili garlic sauce
- 1 head iceberg or butter lettuce
- chopped peanuts, cilantro, crispy rice noodles (optional)
- Prep lettuce by removing core and peeling leaves off to make cups.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add shallot and ginger and sauce without coloring 2-3 minutes.
- Add chicken or turkey and sauce, stirring and breaking up pieces as you go.
- Cook chicken until just cooked through and no longer pink. 5-7 minutes.
- Off heat add lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce and chilli garlic sauce.
- Combine thorougly.
- Add more lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce and/or chili garlic sauce if desired to balance the spicy, sweet and sour to your taste.
- Fill lettuce cups with filling and top with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and crispy rice noodles if desired.