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6 Healthy Ways to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss

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6 Healthy Ways to Eat Chicken for Weight Loss

 

Hi Ruth,

Chicken is generally considered nutritionally better than beef because chicken fat is less saturated than the fat in beef. Consuming too much saturated fats not only causes weight gain, it also raises cholesterol levels, which in turn increases the risk for heart disease and other lipid-related illnesses.

However, it doesn't give you the green light to eat as much chicken meat as you want and still lose weight. Chicken meat, like turkey, is not always lower in fat than beef.

 

How to Make Chicken a Good Diet Meat

1. If your goal is to reduce fat intake in your diet, chicken breast meat (white meat) is a good choice as it's the leanest part of the chicken, which has less than half the amount of fat in a T bone steak. On the other hand, the dark meat parts – backs, legs, thighs, and wings – are higher in fat. The highest amount of saturated fats is found in chicken skin so avoid eating the skin, whether you're dieting or not.

Although chicken meat is more moist and tender if cooked with the skin on, it makes little difference in the fat content whether you take the skin off before or after cooking. To cut back on fat in your diet, just remember to remove chicken skin and any visible fat left behind before eating.

 

 

2. You may want to choose Cornish hens (young birds) rather than the older broilers and roasters since younger birds have lower fat content. The white meat of a Cornish hen yields 35 calories per cooked ounce while white meat of a broiler has 45 calories per ounce of cooked meat.

 

 

3. Most people love fried chicken and can't resist its crispiness, but ask yourself – is it healthy? Chicken breast meat (skinless) by itself is a low fat meat, but if you bread them and fry in butter or oil, that's adding unwanted calories and fats to your diet. That's why how you cook matters as much as what you eat.

I highly suggest you use healthy cooking methods and techniques to cook chicken dishes – roast, bake, broil, poach, grill, or microwave. If done properly, all these cooking methods produce juicy chicken meat while keeping out extra calories.

Personally, I prefer to cook chicken by steaming, a slower method than boiling but steamed chicken is light and easy to digest. Steaming also retains nutrients and intensifies flavors so I use less seasonings (salt) than most conventionally cooked dishes.

If you to stir fry chicken, make sure to cook it in a tiny amount of oil that's low in unhealthy saturated fat, and high in healthy monounsaturated fat such as olive oil or canola oil. Or, use no calorie non stick cooking spray. Also, throw in a variety of fresh veggies for flavor and dietary fiber. Fiber naturally absorbs water and expands in your stomach making you feel full faster so you eat less.

 

 

4. There are many ways to cut down fat in chicken recipes. For example, you can use fresh lemon/lime juice or vinegar instead of oil or fat in marinades. Marinate chicken with a concoction of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, cilantro, sage or oregano. Broil in white wine instead of butter. Skim off fat from chicken soup/broth by refrigerating it and remove the solid fat on top.

You can look through our archives of deliciously low fat chicken recipes for ideas or use Google to search for more healthy chicken recipes online.

 

 

5. While prepackaged frozen chicken dinner offer convenience and may help with portion control, you shouldn't eat them everyday. Most of the so-called "light" frozen meals are in fact unhealthy when scrutinized with a critical eye.

Therefore, always carefully read the ingredient label to ensure your choice is a healthy one. Pick a a lighter frozen meal that shows the least calories, fat and sodium on the package. You also want to opt for those that include plenty of veggies, grains or brown rice.  

 

 

6. Likewise, chicken salad from a restaurant may seem like a healthy low fat lunch, but it can actually burst your calorie bank for the day. One cup of chicken salad has 417 calories and a total fat content of 31.5 grams. That's about one third of your daily calorie allowance (1200 calories is the bare minimum recommended for women). If possible, always cook your meals from scratch.

Making your own chicken salad at home is much healthier because you have more control over what goes into your body. For example, you can replace high fat mayonnaise with low fat Greek yogurt. Add healthy extras such as crunchy cucumber slices, chopped tomatoes, shredded carrots, alfalfa sprouts, or walnuts.

Be wary of these high calories keywords on the menu when you dine out – au gratin, basted, battered, crisp, croquette, fritters, tempura, and breaded. Also avoid eating these deceptively healthy chicken meals when hunger catches you off guard:

 

Applebee’s Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl (1880 calories, 13 g fat, 4250 mg sodium)

 

Chili’s Buffalo Chicken Ranch Sandwich (1560 calories, 86 g fat, 4010 mg sodium)

 

Baja Fresh Charbroiled Chicken Nachos (2020 calories, 110 g fat, 2980 mg sodium)

 

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken Quesadilla (2141 calories, 133 g fat, 3477 mg sodium)

 

The Cheesecake Factory Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic (2579 calories, 62 g fat, 1983 mg sodium)

 

 

 

 

By Diane Hanson

 

 

I'm getting married in 8 months and I want to lose weight (ideally 5 pounds or more) before my big day. I've recently started taking kickboxing classes and also eating more fresh fruits and vegetables than ever before. For proteins, I usually have chicken rather than beef or fish since chicken is lower in fats compared to beef, and I don't really like fish. What I'm wondering is, aside from removing chicken skin before cooking to reduce fat content, how else can I make chicken meat a part of a healthy low fat diet? – Ruth, Ohio.

healthy ways to eat chicken for weight loss

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