Chicken is one of the best sources of lean protein for non-vegetarians. It is also one of the most popular meats out there, as it is cheaper than other meats and more easily available to a majority of meat eaters. It is also most preferred by health freaks, especially those looking to lose weight, as it is also low in carbohydrates as well as saturated or unhealthy fats. Another reason it is most preferred by non-vegetarians is that it is incredibly easy to cook with and can be added to a whole range of dishes, including in breads, snacks, curries, soups, salads etc. This versatile protein is a superstar when it comes to supplying your body with adequate protein on a daily basis. But it's not healthy in all forms. Fried chicken, for example, is without a doubt unhealthy.
The level of nutrition that your weight loss-friendly chicken dish offers depends on the cooking method that has been used. The cooking method indicates how many calories are there in your chicken dish, as well as how easily the protein in it will be absorbed by your body. Some of the most common cooking methods used for preparing chicken include boiling or poaching, grilling, baking and roasting, pan-frying and deep frying. But before we find out which cooking method is the most ideal and healthiest way of cooking chicken, here is a complete nutritional profile of chicken that will convince you to add it to your daily diet.
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Weight Loss: Chicken is ideal for loading up on lean protein
Chicken Nutrition: The Healthy Weight Loss-Friendly Protein
Chicken can help you lose weight, by helping you load up on the crucial protein. When it comes to protein, different parts of a whole chicken have different amounts of protein and chicken breast is the most popular cut of chicken. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming chicken without the skin for a healthier dose of protein. As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100 gm portion of chicken breast contains 31 gm of protein, while same portion of the chicken thigh contains 24 gm of protein. Chicken wings, chicken legs and chicken drumsticks also have relatively high amounts of protein. Chicken also contains two to three times the polyunsaturated or healthy fat, as compared to red meats - this is what makes chicken a healthier alternative to red meats. Whichever cut you prefer to consume, you must know the right cooking method to reduce the number of calories you are consuming and to add protein to your diet in the healthiest way possible.
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Healthiest Ways Of Cooking Chicken:
1. Healthiest: Poaching
Poaching emerges at the top healthiest cooking method for chicken due to its elimination of any form of grease or oil. All you need for this cooking method is water brought to a boil. Once water in your deep-bottomed pan comes to a gentle boil, turn the flame down to low and carefully drop the chicken in the water. Allow the chicken to cook through and then remove it from the water. You're cooking the chicken on low heat, so there's no danger of losing nutrients.
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2. Runner Up: Grilling
Grilled chicken is also another healthy method of cooking chicken. This is because you are only introducing minimal amount of fat to the dish by gently brushing the chicken with olive oil or any other healthy oil. In this method, you will only need to use half a tablespoon to a full tablespoon of oil.
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3. Second Runners Up: Baking and Stir-Frying
Sauteeing or stir-frying your chicken is also a winner when it comes to preserving nutrition and flavour, as well as keeping your dish low in calories. Brush your non-stick pan with oil and stir-fry the chicken bits. Toss it along with vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus etc. Baking or roasting your chicken with some veggies and spices is also not that bad as this method also allows for the chicken to cook well, without using too much grease.
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Needless to say that the amount of grease used in your chicken dishes depends on the portion size that you're cooking. The key to cooking chicken in a healthy way is to keep the saturated fats to a minimum. Know of any other healthy and delicious ways of cooking chicken? Let us known in the comments section below!