Meatless Monday: Collard Wraps

Collard Wraps

Put down that tortilla. Stash away that boring white bread. And bring out those summer greens to your kitchen counter. It’s time to reinvent your lunch, starting from the base level — the wrapper.

Late July calls for light fare that will cool you down, not weigh you down. It calls for meals you can easily pack up and head with to the park, and ones that are every bit as fresh as they make you feel. What’s our go-to for that? Meet the Collard Wrap.

Collard leaves provide the perfect green plate for packaging up your favorite flavorful ingredients. They’re sturdy, come at a 5-calorie-per-leaf price, and have way more vitamins and nutrients than your traditional wrapper can boast. They’re also our current topic of discussion for today’s Meatless Monday, and while we’ll relish them for dinner tonight, our minds are already traveling to this weekend with our cooler on the beach. We’ll have these waiting inside. Portable wraps are a meal made for traveling adventures, and these are adventurous as they come. (I.e., goodbye peanut butter and jelly. We appreciate your willingness to travel, but you are simply no fun. Nor do you make us feel fresh on the beach.)

Collard Leaf


So as you plan out your next traveling trip, picnic, or simply tomorrow’s workday lunch, consider trying something new and calling on the collard leaf. It’ll provide the platform for a fun and healthful lunch, in which you can really roll up any of your favorite savory sandwich materials. Just make sure to include a little healthy fat, such as avocado or olive oil, to loosen up those leaves, and pull all the flavors together. Our food blogging LifeVester, Grace, brings us a roundup of unique ideas to get you started in the event you’d like to extend beyond your standard sandwich fare.

Click here for recipes…

Plan Ahead: Freezer-ready Chicken Cutlets with White Wine and Garlic

marinade ingredients2

Food blogger and business owner Trish Ryan is constantly looking for healthy options to feed herself and her family. She is the founder of Time for Dinner, a meal planning service designed to help you enjoy healthy meals with your family.

In this post, she makes preparing dinner a [cool] breeze with a little help from your freezer.

Making the most of your time

The extension of evening daylight hours is the perfect reward after surviving a long winter. The extra sunlight and warmer temperatures just beg us to soak up some extra Vitamin D outside and to accomplish our 10,000 daily steps goal outside. (Experts recommend setting a goal of walking 10,000 steps per day for improving health. If this is new to you, consider taking this advice and making it your goal, too!)

However, breathing in all that fresh-air can leave you famished. The solution? Before your hunger impulses tell you otherwise, the answer is not a quick bag of chips. That’ll only counteract the benefits you’re hopefully getting from a little extra outdoor moving time the spring weather prompts. Instead, with a little planning ahead, an entire healthy and delicious meal can be ready for you in minutes when you walk ravenously in the door from a spring day well spent. All you need to do is put your freezer to use.

There are lots of meals that translate well to the freezer. Next time you make dinner, consider doubling the recipe and freezing half in individual serving-sized containers for later. Here’s a recipe to get you started.

This recipe gives chicken cutlets a marinade that will actually infuse them with flavor while stored in the freezer. They’ll keep for up to two months. When ready to use – for instance, on a day you know will be packed with activities – thaw the night before in your refrigerator. The following day, you’ll have the base to a meal that can be ready in no time. Serve with your favorite veggie and whole grain, like wild rice with mushrooms, roasted broccoli and/or cauliflower with walnuts.

Chicken cutlets_ rice and mushrooms

Chicken Cutlets with White Wine and Garlic

Active time:  10 minutes        Total time:  20 minutes

Serves 4

For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Chicken cutlets (about 1 1/4 pounds total)

When ready to cook:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Chopped parsley (optional), for serving
  1. Stack cutlets in a double layer in a 1-gallon freezer bag. (If you purchased chicken breasts, slice each in half lengthwise.) In a small bowl, combine butter, wine, garlic, and thyme and whisk to combine. Season with pepper. Pour marinade into bag with cutlets and freeze. (To freeze, press the air out of the freezer bag, seal and freeze flat, up to 2 months.)
  1. To serve, thaw chicken in refrigerator overnight. Remove cutlets from bag and discard marinade. Gently shake chicken to remove liquid and season with salt. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add cutlets to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes total, flipping halfway through and adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with parsley and serve.

Time for Dinner is a tool that helps you avoid pitfalls and make it easier to stay on a track towards healthy eating. All members are provided recipes for five simple, healthy meals including side dishes each week. Each meal plan is created to be efficient and eliminate waste, and ingredients are maximized to create balanced dinners that play off each other. Members are also provided with an organized shopping list, cost estimates to help keep you on budget, a list of pantry items you will need, and guides to meal preparation.

As a LifeVest Health reader, enjoy a special rate ($14 off an annual membership). To join visit:

Putting the Kitchen Police Behind Bars; Why nagging in the kitchen could really mess things up

We remember it as children and now we do it to our own kids.

“You have to clean your plate”

“Eat your broccoli, otherwise NO dessert!”

“No more junk food!”

Parents are policing the kitchen, and it isn’t for better or worse. The only thing this could be a recipe for is disaster!

The second one is told not to do something, the desire to do just that thing ignites. Rebellion, in any form, could really hurt someone and the effects are showing up in people’s health. Studies have shown that teens who were told to stay away from junk food developed such an allure for it that this warning really backfired. It doesn’t always turn out this way, but scientists believe the more policing around the issue, the more likely it is to back fire. We suggest steering your kids away from processed and over sugary foods, but not hounding them about it. Parents need to provide the tools and knowledge to their children and let them practice the skill set of being healthy and not scrutinize or micromanage them in the kitchen.

Another kitchen crisis that could be affecting people and their appetites is the pressure of ‘clearing their plate.’ Being told to lick the dinner plate clean may have ensured that veggies were eaten, but it also said ‘ignore signals from your stomach and keep eating!’ It is important to eat slowly and stop eating when one is full, but it is no surprise that that signal got screwed up when the end of dinner meant a clean plate, rather than a full stomach.  Listen to what your body is telling you, and also keep that in mind if you are cooking for others. The best lesson you could instill would be to stop eating when you are full, not just when your plates been emptied. If you are concerned about someone eating the healthy parts of their meal, start serving smaller portions of each. If your child is still hungry, they can enjoy another small serving of whatever’s for dinner, but they will learn to eat whats on the plate but to also stop when they are full.

If you are cooking for picky eaters, get everyone involved in creating the dinner menus. Get creative with recipes and allow others to chose which healthy foods they’d like to have for dinner.

Getting everyone to eat well and eat what is for dinner is easier said than done, we know. But too much pressure and policing could take a turn for the worst and set the stage for health issues in the future.