Chicken: Healthy, Tasty and Convenient
Food Fitness. Nourish your body.
Staying healthy requires a sensible eating plan that includes a varied diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat. Luckily, there is lots of room for choice and personal preference in a healthy eating plan.
A healthy diet does not have to be bland or time-consuming to prepare - chicken to the rescue! According to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, a total of five to seven ounces a day of foods from the meat group (meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts) supplies protein for building and maintaining muscle, iron for healthy blood and other essential vitamins and minerals.
As one of the most versatile meats, chicken is easy to prepare and well-suited for a variety of tasty recipes. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs can go from refrigerator to table in about 15 minutes. In addition, the fat content of a three-ounce skinless portion of whole roasted chicken is less than half of beef and about one-third of pork, and most fat in chicken is unsaturated, which can actually help lower blood cholesterol.
Boneless skinless split chicken breasts are a good staple to have in your refrigerator. They are marinated to give consumers the most tender, juicy chicken possible. They are also simple and easy to prepare, and provide a good base for many recipes. Plus, they are less than 100 calories each.
The options for adding flavor to your dinner without adding fat are limited only by your imagination. Enhancing the flavor of your chicken with herbs and spices, flavored vinegars, wines, soy sauce and citrus juices.
Cooking methods such as boiling, roasting, grilling or poaching help avoid added fat. If you want to saute your chicken, use a non-stick pan or non-stick cooking sprays to eliminate the need for oil or butter. You can also try sauteing in a small amount of chicken broth, which adds flavor.
Choosing chicken for a meal is a great way to cut calories and fat ; however, many get bored with chicken. Nutritionally, chicken cannot be beat. It is a great source of protein, provides vitamin B and other essential nutrients your body needs and is lower in saturated fat than other meat.
To help reduce fat when fixing chicken, the American Dietetic Association offers these suggestions:
- Prepare boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs using low-fat cooking methods like stir-frying and grilling.
- Instead of adding oil when cooking, use a nonstick pan or cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Roast, bake, oven-fry or grill the chicken pieces -- preferably on a rack -- to allow fat to drip off during cooking.
- Remove the skin from chicken after cooking instead of before. A thin membrane between the skin and the flesh of chicken holds moisture in the meat while it cooks, yet it keeps fat out. The result is juicy chicken with less fat.
Here is an easy-to-prepare, healthy, nutritious dinner entree that uses roasted garlic herb marinated chicken breasts. Prep time is just 10 minutes and completion time is 25 minutes, which means you can serve a delicious, healthy meal in just over half an hour.
Roasted Chicken Breasts Recipe
10-ounce package of GoldenPlump Marinades boneless skinless chicken breast fillets, roasted garlic herb flavor
1 15-ounce can chili beans in chili sauce
1 15-ounce can black beans
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 11-ounce can mexicorn (corn, red and green bell peppers)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
8 flour tortillas
Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Place small amount of oil in skillet; add chicken breasts and cook for 4-1/2 to 6-1/2 minutes per side, until no longer pink and juices run clear.
Slice cooked chicken into half-inch cubes.
In large saucepan or Dutch oven, add cubed chicken, chili beans, black beans, diced tomatoes and mexicorn. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Quick Chicken Stir-Fry
In a large, nonstick skillet or wok, heat 3/4 cup Asian-style broth and add five cups cut-up fresh vegetables (such as celery, carrots, broccoli, green onions or others). Bring to a boil; cover and cook five minutes or until vegetables are softened. Mix two tablespoons cornstarch with remaining broth and add to skillet. Cook until mixture oils and thickens, stirring constantly. Add one package (8 to 10 ounces) cooked, carved chicken breast and cook until chicken is heated through. Spoon over leftover rice or boil up some minute rice. Top with a splash of reduced- sodium soy sauce, if you like. Serve-with suggestion: Crusty bread.
You may also find of interest...
- Nutritious Chicken Thighs
- Poultry vs. Beef
- Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets (Healthy Recipe Archive)
- Chicken Fingers Parmesan (Healthy Recipe Archive)