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Creating a health-spa dinner that you can enjoy at home


If you've been to a spa recently, you already know this: The food is good. And if you haven't, we've got a surprise for you. The days of bland, meager fare served in the name of weight loss are over.

Modern spa meals are creative, substantial, even luxurious, yet most of them feature entrees that are a diet-friendly 300 calories or less. Eating like this is such an easy way to drop pounds, it seems unfair that it's a treat reserved for those lucky enough to visit an expensive health resort.

To help you create a spa experience at home, Eating Well called some of the nation's top fitness havens and asked them to share their recipes for the fabulous food they serve their guests.

This menu comes from Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass. Make Canyon Ranch Tandoori Chicken a meal by serving it with 1/4 cup Cucumber Raita, 1/2 cup green peas and 1/2 cup basmati rice. Total calories? Only 385!

Canyon Ranch Tandoori Chicken

Makes 4 servings

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

4 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds), skinned and trimmed of fat

In a shallow glass dish, stir together yogurt, onion and garlic. Add lemon juice, cilantro, paprika, cumin, turmeric, ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Add chicken and coat well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly oil a wire rack or coat it with nonstick spray. Set rack over a foil-covered baking sheet.

Place chicken on prepared rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned and no trace of pink remains in the center. Serve hot.

Per serving: 185 calories; 22 grams protein; 9 grams fat (2.6 grams saturated fat); 1 gram carbohydrate; 145 milligrams sodium; 80 milligrams cholesterol; 0 grams fiber

Cucumber Raita

Makes about 1 cup, for 4 servings

1/2 teaspoon olive or canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced

2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon rice-wine vinegar

pinch of ground cumin

dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl.

Add cucumber, yogurt, cilantro, honey, vinegar, cumin and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 35 calories; 2 grams protein; 1 gram fat (0.1 gram saturated fat); 5 grams carbohydrate; 30 milligrams sodium; 1 milligram cholesterol; 0 grams fiber

Pub Date: 02/03/99

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