In America, chicken is one of the most popular types of meat. It’s not only available in a variety of preparations, but it’s also easy to find and easy to prepare.
Though it’s often seen as a mainstay of the American diet, you may not be sure just how healthy it is.
Chicken is a great source of many key nutrients, including protein, niacin, selenium, and phosphorus.
Chicken is rich in an array of important nutrients and can be an excellent addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet.
With so many healthy choices when it comes to chicken, choosing how to prepare it can make a difference in your diet.
Studies show that eating more protein can increase feelings of fullness and help to maintain lean body mass. It can also help with losing weight.
Protein is great for muscle growth, and when paired with resistance training it also helps improve your body’s metabolism, increase endurance and promote overall wellness.
A large percentage of your daily calories should come from protein-rich foods. Protein is an important part of a healthy diet that helps keep bones strong.
Not all types of chicken are created equal. Some chickens have thicker flesh, while others have less fat and more muscle.
Fried and breaded foods like chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken, and chicken tenders are typically high in unhealthy fats, carbs, and calories.
Many types of chicken are also heavily processed, including lunch meats. Processed meat intake has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. When buying processed meats, you need to be careful to avoid high sodium and preservatives.
Some common chicken preparation methods are healthier than others.
Here are a few of the best choices:
- Grilled chicken. Grilled chicken can be a quick and healthy way to boost your protein intake. Consider adding some vegetables to the grill to help round out your meal.
- Baked and Slow Cooker chicken. Baking or slow cooking your chicken is a great weeknight dinner option, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. In addition to being low in fat and calories, baked and slow-cooked chicken is rich in important nutrients.
- Stir-fried chicken. Try stir-frying chicken with a bit of olive oil and your favorite veggies for a high-fiber, protein-packed meal.
The bottom line
Chicken is rich in a variety of important nutrients that can benefit your health.
However, it’s important to choose healthy types of chicken and opt for cooking methods like baking, slow-cooking, grilling, steaming or stir-frying rather than deep-frying.
Finally, be sure to enjoy chicken as part of a balanced diet alongside a variety of other healthy protein-rich foods.
Try this delicious anti-inflammatory Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore recipe to see just how good a healthy preparation can taste.
Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore
- 2 onions thinly sliced
- 3 lbs bone-in chicken breasts or thighs skinned
- 28 oz canned plum tomaotes chopped
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp capers (optional)
- 20 pitted Kalamata or green olives chopped if desired
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 large carrot peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch fresh parsley or basil stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 18 oz cauliflower rice prepared to your liking
- Placed sliced onion in Crock-Pot or slow cooker and cover with chicken.
- In a bowl, stir tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, broth and oregano. Stir until well blended and pour over chicken.
- Add bell peppers and carrots to the Crock-Pot.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is tender and cooked through.
- Stir in capers, olives and herbs just before serving.
- Serve over prepared cauliflower rice.
Want free anti-inflammatory recipes, downloadable resources and efficiency tips and tricks from a professional chef? Of course, you do! Click here for the secret sauce!