Skinless chicken breasts are a standard backbone of healthy weight-loss plans. Because chicken has no carbs and just 5 g of fat per 3- to 4-oz. serving, many dieters rely mostly on chicken for their protein requires. Whether you choose the breast or a skinless thigh or leg– which are similar in low-fat content– chicken is an exceptional source of lean protein and has essential nutrients, including iron and zinc.
How to Prepare Chicken for Weight Loss Effect
A skinless breast or thigh can become as diet-busting as a Big Mac if you suffocate it in gobs of butter or a heavy coat of breading. Go simple on the fat– mist, do not soak, the meat– and baste poultry with your favorite herbs mixed into low-sugar fruit juice, wine or vinegar tempered with a little sugar-free sweetener. Similarly, low-fat plain yogurt with tarragon and mustard stirred in is an excellent substitute for high-calorie mayo in chicken salads.
Broiling, baking, grilling and poaching are ideal ways to prepare chicken when you’re trying to slim down, but keeping the meat moist can be an obstacle. To keep the chicken juicy, marinade it in low-fat buttermilk spiked with garlic, paprika and poultry seasoning overnight or at least a few hours before cooking. Marinades consisting of acids, such as citrus juice and vinegar, break down the fibers in chicken, resulting in optimum juiciness. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or bake the chicken in parchment or aluminum foil packages to wind up with a moist bird.
It’s How You Sauce It
Become a food-label sleuth to sniff out high-sugar and high-fat sauces that might undermine your weight-loss efforts. Watch for surprise sugars, high-fructose corn syrups and other sweeteners in barbecue sauces. Numerous commercial marinades and ready sauces can turn your healthy chicken breast into something looking like dessert. Lean and luscious ways to dress your chicken consist of fruit salsas, sauces made with pureed vegetables and fruits enlivened with herbs, or make a creamy sauce with canned vaporized skim milk and low-fat shredded cheese.
It’s How You Serve It
Misjudging portion sizes can thwart a diet. A 3- to 4-oz. serving of chicken is roughly the size of a deck of cards or an adult’s palm– that’s the palm only, not the fingers. This means a single skinless chicken breast or thigh or more skinless legs. Portion sizes in restaurants are out of control, as well as so-called healthy choices can reasonably feed two adults. When you’re eating in restaurants, demand a to-go container when you purchase your meal. After being served, box up half the food right away so you will not be lured to clean your plate.