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I had the pleasure of speaking with world-renowned gold medalist Natalie Coughlin a couple days ago.  Natalie is an amazing swimmer –  the most decorated female athlete of both the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Games – who is looking to add to her medal collection at the 2012 London Games.

As Natalie begins a rigorous training schedule prepping for her next Olympics, she shares advice on healthy eating including tips incorporating her fave dried fruit, California Plums, for which she is a national spokesperson.

Natalie started swimming as a young girl, attended UC Berkeley  where she won a number of national titles and has 11 Olympic medals to date.  She was a fan favorite on the prime-time reality competition show Dancing with the Stars and has been mentioned as a possible candidate to play Wonder Woman. Listen to the podcast to find out about her Olympic training, her future aspirations, and what she does while on vacation.

And for all you foodies, here is the recipe for one of Natalie’s favorite meals, Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich. Banh mi sandwiches have hit the mainstream, and this version with turkey meatballs is sure to become one of your favorites. California Dried Plum purée gives these spicy meatballs their moist texture, without adding fat.

Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Serves 5

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup California Dried Plum purée
1/4 cup chopped canned water chestnuts
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 baguette sandwich rolls (8-10 inches long) or 4 (8-10-inch) pieces baguette
2 jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced (seed if desired)
20 sprigs cilantro
Sriracha mayonnaise*
Carrot and daikon pickles**

In a large bowl, mix turkey, dried plum purée, water chestnuts, green onions, fish sauce, garlic, sriracha sauce and salt. Chill for 30 minutes to make it easier to form into balls.

Heat oven to 350°F. Divide meatball mixture into 20 portions. Moisten your fingers with water and gently roll mixture into balls. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake meatballs about 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Cut rolls in half horizontally and remove some of the crumb to make room for the filling. For each sandwich, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on insides of 1 roll. In bottom half of roll, layer a few slices of jalapeño, 4 meatballs, 4 sprigs cilantro and 2 tablespoons pickles. Cover with top half of roll.

*Sriracha mayonnaise:  stir together 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce. Refrigerate, covered.

**Carrot and daikon pickles:  place 1/2 cup julienned carrots and 1/2 cup julienned daikon in a nonreactive bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt just until sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature and pour over carrots and daikon. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate, covered, overnight. Drain before using.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 403

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