GINNA PARSONS: Website keeps me motivated to stay healthy

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

About six months ago, I was searching the web for a recipe when I clicked on one of those ads on the side of the page for weight-loss motivation. The site was www.sparkpeople.com, and it has been a tremendous inspiration for me.
Every day in my email, I receive spark tips and spark highlights from members of the spark community. People share their real-life weight loss journeys and photographs and testimonials. The site also provides recipes, exercise strategies and health information – and it’s all free. The founder is a multi-millionaire who just wants to help other people reach their life’s goals.
Along the way, I purchased a book from a local bookstore called “The Spark,” which is a New York Times bestseller. It contains a 28-day plan for losing weight, more before-and-after photos, testimonials and a few recipes.
One of the recipes is for Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken. According to Chris Downie, the author, this recipe is the most popular recipe at sparkrecipes.com and has been rated more than 2,700 times.
I think this chicken would be good wrapped in a tortilla or stuffed inside a hard shell. Add some shredded lettuce and diced tomato, and you’re good to go.

Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning (recipe below)
1 cup low-sodium petite-diced canned tomatoes
1 cup diced onions
1⁄2 cup diced celery
1⁄2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup salsa
1⁄2 cup water
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream
Salt-Free Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Place chicken in a slow cooker. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the meat, then layer the vegetables and salsa on top. Pour water over the mixture and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (internal temperature of meat should reach 165 degrees). When ready to serve, shred chicken with two forks and then stir in yogurt.
Serves 8.
Nutritional info per serving: 165 calories, 2.5g fat, 253mg sodium, 2g fiber.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.