Chicken is high in protein, low in fat and low in cholesterol, making it a good selection for a healthy diet. Our bodies require a certain amount of protein daily and the body does not store protein so we need to replenish it each day. A 3-ounce portion of chicken provides a large amount of our daily requirement for protein. Our bodies also require fat in our diet, which allows us to absorb vitamins that are fat-soluble and energy producing. But, too much fat is not healthy.
Chicken is lower in fat than most other meats and over half of the fat is unsaturated fat, the type that helps lower cholesterol. The white meat is lower in fat than the dark meat of the chicken but the dark meat is higher in iron, an important nutrient for a healthy body. Shown below is a list of suggestions on how to make chicken even healthier:
- Remove the skin from the chicken before eating. The skin can be removed either before or after cooking to reduce the fat content by almost half. Leaving the skin on during cooking will provide juicier meat.
- Trim all excess fat from the chicken before cooking.
- Rather than using fat, such as butter and oils, to enhance the chicken's flavor, try other ingredients, such as flavored vinegars, herbs, spices, or citrus fruit.
- Cook chicken without the use of fats by baking, roasting, broiling, grilling, or poaching. Pan fry or stir-fry in olive oil or use a fat free nonstick cooking spray.