There’s no doubt chicken is one of the healthiest meal options. With several studies indicating that red meat can lead to several health issues, it leaves chicken to be the healthy choice. Some people feel chicken breast gets plain to eat after a while. Fortunately, chicken can be made in several different ways to satisfy many cravings.
Table of Contents
- Nutritional Value
- Health Benefits
- Choosing your Chicken Breasts
- Storing and handling Chicken
- Cooking Chicken Breast Tips
As an essential source of lean protein, chicken is the staple in many individual diets, especially those who have a specific exercise regimen. People who eat chicken have a higher chance to maintain an optimal metabolism and muscle mass. Chicken breasts are considered a low-carb food as they don’t have any carbohydrates.
When it comes to calories in chicken, it can become tricky. The size of the chicken breast will have to be taken into consideration when trying to calculate the calorie count. A normal serving size of chicken breast is three ounces, which is also the size of your palm. By eating chicken breast that comes from the store, you’re likely eating over that amount. By keeping the skin on the chicken, caloric count will be higher. For example, if you were to purchase a whole chicken breast with skin, you would be potentially eating a whopping 366 calories.
Healthy Ways to Cook Chicken Breast
The good thing about chicken breast is that you can prepare it in several ways, including healthy ways. It’s ideal to be cautious on how you cook your chicken as you could unintentionally add several calories and fat. Healthiest preparation of chicken includes boiling, broiling, or roasting. When you sauté’ or fry your chicken in oil or butter, you add unnecessary calorie and fat. Adding condiments, such as barbecue sauce can also rack up calories.
Chicken breast provides several health benefits. One of the advantages is by consuming chicken breast is the low-fat protein. Additional benefits include excellent sources of selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. As long as chicken is cooked in a healthy way, sodium can be kept at a low amount.
Chicken breast has a beneficial amino acid called tryptophan. This amino acid provides a comfort feeling after consumption. Someone who is feeling “blue” may benefit from increasing their poultry intake, which will increase their brain’s serotonin levels. Levels of serotonin can improve overall mood and diminish stress.
Bone Loss Prevention
If arthritis or osteoporosis is a concern of yours, eating more chicken can provide you the benefit of avoiding bone loss as you age.
An amino acid, homocysteine, is known to lead to cardiovascular disease. Chicken breast can reduce levels of homocysteine.
Good Source of Phosphorus
Chicken has an optimal source of phosphorus, which is a crucial mineral that supports bone and teeth health. Additionally, phosphorus can help keep the liver and kidney healthy and improve nervous system function.
Your immune function, hormones, metabolism, and thyroid can benefit from selenium. Chicken breast has a beneficial amount of selenium.
Chicken breast has Vitamin B6. This type of vitamin keeps blood vessels healthy and can keep your energy levels optimal.
Rich in niacin, chicken breast can help protect the body against cancer and other DNA damage. Although it can’t prevent cancer on its own, it can certainly help.
Because chicken breast has sufficient levels of beta-carotene, alpha, retinol, and lycopene, it’s beneficial for eyesight.
Promotes Healthy Tissue Growth
If you experience dry skin in the winter, cracked mouth, chapped lips, or mouth sores, chicken breast may be ideal to add in your diet. Because of the Vitamin B2 in chicken, it can reduce skin problems and even help heal damaged, dry skin.
Choosing Your Chicken Breast
Chicken is considered a budget-friendly meat. Because of that, it’s important to know how to choose your chicken in the grocery store. There may not be much left over at times because it’s such a high-demand food. The types of chicken usually include boneless, skinless, and whole. By knowing the differences with these types, you can cook your meals easier. Another aspect to keep in mind is the small and color of the chicken. Even though you find chicken breast at the store, it doesn’t mean it’s not spoiled or about to be spoiled. To avoid bad chicken, make sure the one you choose is creamy white to a deep yellow color. To make sure you have enough chicken breast for your family, one thing to consider is that two halves of chicken breast equal approximately 12 ounces total and makes two servings.
When choosing your chicken breast, ensure that the package says “U.S.D.A Grade A rating.” Most of the chicken in a grocery store is inspected prior to being delivered but it’s important to be cautious for your own health and safety. Secure packaging is another thing to pay attention to. Once in a while you may come across meat in the store that isn’t packaged very well, which could deplete the freshness of the product. The sell-by date is also critical. Sell-by dates usually present the date that indicates the last day the chicken breast should be purchased. When purchasing chicken beyond the date of the package, you could be jeopardizing your health. The color of the chicken should never be gray or smell like anything other than you’re used to. When you take the chicken breast out of the freezer to thaw, refrain from putting the chicken on the counter to thaw. It’s best to thaw chicken in the microwave or refrigerator. If you do use the microwave, it’s best to cook the chicken directly after.
Storing and Handling Chicken
Fresh and raw chicken shouldn’t be stored in the fridge any longer than two days. If you plan on cooking the chicken after two days, you should freeze it.
You can safely freeze chicken for up to two months while it’s in its original packaging. To freeze chicken longer than two months, double-wrap or use freezer paper to re-wrap it. Ensure the packaging is air-tight will keep the chicken as fresh as possible.
As you handle raw chicken, keep in mind that anything that touches it should be clean. Additionally, raw chicken should always be rinsed thoroughly and patted down prior to cooking. Knives and cutting boards need to be washed with hot water and scrubbed down when handling the chicken. The reason you must be cautious with raw chicken is because it’s notorious for harboring bacteria. If you happen to ingest bacteria from the raw chicken via utensils, hands, etc. you risk getting food poisoning. Thankfully, following proper safety tips can help keep you safe when handling chicken.
Cooking Chicken Breast Tips
With chicken breast being so commonly used as a staple in many family dinners, some cooking tips may help. It can be overwhelming to get your chicken to cook the correct way.
Marinate to Increase Flavor
Just because chicken breast is a fast, easy meal doesn’t mean it has to be tasteless. If you know you’re cooking your chicken breast for dinner the next night, take it out ahead of time and let it marinate. When you go to cook your chicken, you will have a powerful, tasty, flavor that you may have been lacking before.
Roasting Instead of Poaching
If you’re poaching your chicken and wondering why it’s not coming out the way you were hoping, try roasting it instead. When you roast your chicken breast, it intensifies and concentrates on the flavor. To try out the roasting method instead, set your oven to 375 degrees for chicken breasts. To enhance the it even more, sear the chicken breasts on each side before putting them in the preheated oven. The benefit of doing this is that it will help to form a crispy texture and develop an attractive golden color.
Overcooked Chicken Breast
Before you toss your overcooked chicken breast, know that you can re-add moisture. Fortunately, it’s possible to fix the chicken that you just thought you ruined. Your dinner is not ruined. What you need to do is great a sauce pan and add a bit of mayonnaise in the pan or Greek yogurt. If that doesn’t sound appetizing to you, feel free to add a bit of chicken soup to the bottom of the pan. After you add what you want in the pan, add your chicken breast and heat slowly but make sure not to put it back in the oven. Let the chicken breast soak up the ingredients that you put in the pan.
Cooking Chicken on the Stove – Baked Chicken
The best way to cook chicken on the stove is to add a dash olive oil, pepper, and a small amount of salt. Heat those ingredients up before adding the chicken. Once the chicken breast is added, cook each side for 10 minutes each until fully cooked. Cooking the chicken slowly will reduce the chances of your chicken becoming overcooked.
Grilling Chicken Tips
When you are attempting to grill chicken, watch the seasonings you add cautiously that have a high sugar content. The reason to watch the sugar content is that it could cause the chicken to burn if the grill temperature is set at a high temperature. If you’re basting, wait until the chicken is mostly cooked. It’s best to make sure to cover the grill when cooking chicken breast so it will cook evenly. When considering which tool to use as you cook your chicken on the grill, avoid using a fork as it will cause the juices to escape. Instead, use a wide and metal spatula. By remaining patient while your chicken is cooking on the grill will allow it took cook more evenly. Although you may think you’re doing the right thing by moving it consistently while it’s cooking, it’s best to just leave it and only move it midway while cooking on the grill.
Chicken in the Oven With Foil
The less clean-up is best, right? You can keep splatters and other messes at bay by cooking your chicken breast in the oven, wrapped in tin foil. This option allows you to roast your chicken breast. All you need to do is lightly spray heavy-duty tin foil and place the chicken breast in the foil. Before you wrap the chicken up, you can add some seasonings, such as herbs, onion, or garlic. For an extra blast of flavor, you can add some vegetables in the foil with the chicken. The next step is to fold the edges of foil and sealing it around the chicken. This method takes approximately 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.