Lemon Chicken Broccoli Sheet Pan Meal
This healthy sheet pan meal comes together in a flash. A hot oven puts a nice touch of brown on the broccoli florets, while the chicken is added halfway through to ensure juicy and tender cubes of protein.
To set off this simple combo a bright and bold green sauce is drizzled on top, made from parsley, lemon, and garlic. The sauce is the boss here and truly makes the dish, so don't skip it.
This recipe happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, AIP, and low-carb. Enjoy on its own, or serve atop your preferred accompaniment, depending on your dietary needs. Toasted quinoa, cauliflower rice, basmati rice, or your favorite GF, Paleo, or AIP pasta.
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Wait, Is Broccoli Okay for Thyroid Thrivers to Eat?
You may have heard that certain otherwise healthy foods like broccoli or cabbage should be avoided by thyroid patients. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that these so-called “goitrogenic” foods contain compounds that can block the thyroid’s uptake of iodine and potentially contribute to developing a goiter (the root word of goitrogen) or enlargement of the thyroid gland.
While this sounds scary and has deterred many Thyroid Thrivers from eating these foods, the recommendation to avoid goitrogenic vegetables is now considered unnecessary by leading thyroid experts.
According to thyroid specialist and author, Dr. Datis Kharrazian, “Any practitioner giving people lists of these foods and telling them not to eat them is outdated.” He also states, "Normal consumption of goitrogenic foods do NOT cause goiter." The exception he lists is soy, which most leading thyroid experts recommend limiting or avoiding in the diet.
The tragedy of what many experts now call the goitrogen myth is that so many of these foods are unquestionably some of the most health-giving, antioxidant-rich, cancer-fighting foods available. Those nutrients are especially important for the vast majority of hypothyroid patients, who in fact have Hashimoto's, or autoimmune hypothyroidism.
Further Reading: Why You Should Get Tested for Hashimoto's
Broccoli is considered one of the healthiest foods around. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it is high in isothiocyanates, which are plant compounds known to prevent cancer, as well as reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Another reason to eat crucifers like broccoli is that they help the body make glutathione, a powerhouse antioxidant that helps balance the immune system, tame autoimmune flare-ups, and protect thyroid tissue.
If you still have concerns about goitrogenic compounds in these foods, the simplest way to diminish any risk is to eat these foods cooked or fermented (like sauerkraut) whenever possible. Cooking and/or fermenting greatly diminishes or eliminates their goitrogenic properties.
The Takeaway: Cruciferous "goitrogenic" foods like broccoli can be highly beneficial for you to consume unless you’re one of the very few who have hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency. Even if you are one of the few, but you love cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, there is a rule of thumb you can apply to reduce any goitrogenic risk: Simply cook or ferment them.
Both my husband and son gave this 2 thumbs up, so I daresay this is somewhat kid-friendly if your kids will eat broccoli– no guarantees though! LOL
This recipe is lovely on its own, but to stretch the servings farther, serve it atop cauliflower rice, basmati rice, toasted quinoa, or your favorite gluten-free, Paleo, or AIP pasta, according to your dietary requirements.
My recipe for Toasted Quinoa is what I used for the photo. That earthy nuttiness was a lovely counterpoint to the bright lemony and herbal flavors.
While going through my rounds of recipe testing, what I loved this on most was Saffron Cauliflower Rice. Here’s the basic recipe:
In a large skillet melt a tablespoon of ghee over medium heat. Add the juice of ½ lemon, and a pinch of saffron threads. Let the saffron steep for a minute or two in the lemon and ghee, then add 2 (10-ounce) bags of frozen cauliflower rice. Season to taste with sea salt, and add extra ghee, lemon juice, or even a drizzle of olive oil as desired.
YUM. Such a lovely yellow to offset the green! And the saffron/lemon combo took this over the top. (I'll work on adding that printable recipe + photo to the site asap.)
- Chicken is a very good source of selenium, which helps to regulate the production of thyroid hormone, convert T4 to T3, and protect the thyroid from stress.
- A 3-ounce serving of chicken provides 84% RDI of the essential amino acid Tyrosine, which the thyroid gland combines with iodine to produce thyroid hormone.
- Broccoli has several health benefits and is regarded as one of the best foods for cancer prevention. Like other cruciferous vegetables it is high in isothiocyanates, which are plant compounds known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Broccoli is on the list of "goitrogenic" foods, and can be eaten cooked and in reasonable amounts to avoid any potential thyroid-inhibiting effect.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is considered one of the world’s healthiest fats. Some of its many scientifically-proven health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, high antioxidants, and reduced risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
- Garlic has many powerful healing properties, which can aid or alleviate some of the symptoms of thyroid conditions such as inflammation, cardiovascular issues, decreased immunity, and increased infection. It can also support the liver in its detoxification efforts.
- Lemons are a very good source of vitamin C, with one ounce providing 36% DV. A study recently shared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism stated, “In patients with hypothyroidism and gastrointestinal pathology, vitamin C improves the abnormalities in serum free T4, T3, and TSH concentrations.”