Though they have been much maligned, lemons are not actually your enemy, and they're also not just for making into lemonade or garnishing your vodka sodas.

Lemons are actually incredibly nutritious—they're an incredible source of vitamin C, providing 64% of your daily value, and they also contain smaller amounts of b-vitamins, potassium, zinc, and magnesium.

The citric acid in lemon juice can also help prevent kidney stones, and lemons can  increase your ability to absorb iron from food, thus lessening your risk of anemia. Healthy phytochemicals produced by lemons are also thought to suppress weight gain and fat accumulation, which is what makes lemon water such a popular drink with dieters.

If you're brave enough to eat a lemon whole, you'll also get to enjoy the health benefits of their soluble pectin fiber, which can increase your feelings of fullness. But if you prefer your lemon more palpable than pulpy, the distinctive sour taste of cooked lemon or fresh lemon juice can be just what it takes to give that extra kick of flavor to your healthy recipe for nearly no extra calories. The suggestions below are a great start!

1. Sweet Lemon Chicken

Ingredients

  • 100 grams thinly sliced chicken
  • 1/2 lemon with rind
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup water
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Stevia to taste (optional)

Directions

Slice up 1/2 lemon into quarters and add to water. In a small saucepan, boil lemon quarters until pulp comes out of the rind. Add broth, chicken, Bragg’s, and spices and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked and sauce is reduced by half. Deglaze periodically with water if necessary. Garnish with fresh lemon slices, lemon zest, or mint. Makes 1 serving (1 protein).

2. Lemon Prawns and Spinach

Ingredients

  • 100g prawn meat (head and tails removed)
  • 3 cups spinach (or amount allowed)
  • 3 Tblsps water
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or 1/2 lemon if you like things less lemony)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic salt
  • Black pepper

Directions

Pre-heat non-stick fry pan over MED heat. Add water, garlic, and prawns. Cook 3-5 mins or until prawns just turn pink. Add water as necessary. Squeeze in juice of 1 lemon. Add spinach. Toss in salt & pepper. Cook uncovered until spinach wilts.

3. Lemon Dill Fish

Ingredients

  • 100 grams any kind of whitefish
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Sauté fish with lemon juice, vegetable broth, and vinegar. Add garlic, onion, and fresh dill. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until fish is completely cooked. Garnish with lemon wedges. Makes 1 serving (1 protein).

4. Lemony Spinach and Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 100g chicken
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or substitute 1 cup water for 1 cup chicken broth)
  • 1/2 lemon with rind
  • 1-2 cups loosely packed spinach, cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp thyme or to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Lightly brown the chicken in small saucepan with a little lemon juice. Add the onion, garlic spices, and chicken broth. Add lemon with rind and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add the fresh spinach during the last five minutes of cooking.

5. Lemon Pops

Ingredients

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Powdered stevia to taste

Directions

Mix stevia to taste into lemon or orange juice. Pour into Popsicle molds and freeze. Makes one serving (1 fruit).

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