Chicken breast meat is an excellent source of protein. Since it's an animal product, chicken contains all the essential amino acids you need.
Chicken breast meat is lower in fat than most cuts of red meat, so it can help you reduce your saturated fats and calorie intake. Chicken breasts can be cooked and served in a variety of ways, and might make a healthy choice for a barbecue or tailgating party.
A typical chicken breast piece, roasted without the skin (there are two breast pieces per bird) has:
- 142 calories
- 26.68 grams protein
- 3.07 grams fat (less than one gram saturated fat)
- 25 milligrams magnesium
- 220 milligrams potassium
- 64 milligrams sodium (check the labels for processed chicken meat)
- 0.86 milligrams zinc
- 0.89 milligrams iron
- 23.7 micrograms selenium
- 0.098 milligrams riboflavin
- 11.79 milligrams niacin
- 0.83 milligrams pantothenic acid
- 0.516 milligrams vitamin B6
- 73.4 milligrams choline
- 0.29 micrograms vitamin B-12
A piece of chicken breast meat with the skin has more calories and fat than a piece without skin. A roasted breast piece (with skin) has 193 calories and 7.62 grams fat and a deep-fried breast piece has 364 calories and 18.48 grams fat.
Chicken breasts are available in the fresh meat department of your grocery store. You'll find boneless, skinless breast meat, regular chicken breasts, or you can buy a whole chicken that includes dark and white meat. You'll also find several forms of chicken breast meat in the freezer section.
Read the labels, some processed chicken breasts are treated with broth, which adds flavor, but also adds sodium and preservatives. You can also find chicken breast pieces that are breaded and ready to fry or bake in your oven. But they're much higher in calories and fat than plain unbreaded chicken.
Organic chicken breasts may also be available in your grocery store, or at a local health food store. Organic chickens have been raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. You'll find that information on the label.
Keep your chicken breasts low in fat and calories by choosing healthy cooking methods. Roast chicken without any breading, or use chicken pieces in a stir fry. You can also bake or grill your chicken, or use cooked chicken pieces in soups or stews.
Here are some healthy recipes I found on About.com that call for chicken breast meat:
- Basic Baked Chicken Breasts
- Basil Lemon Chicken Breasts
- Baked Honey Mustard Chicken
- Low Fat Cream of Chicken Soup
- Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts
- Low Fat Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew
United States Department of Agriculture. "What is organic production?" Accessed May 20, 2012. http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml.
United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database Release 24. "Nutrient data for 05058, Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat and skin, cooked, fried, batter." Accessed May 20, 2012. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/827.
United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database Release 24. "Nutrient data for 05060, Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat and skin, cooked, roasted." Accessed May 20, 2012. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/829.
United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database Release 24. "Nutrient data for 05064, Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted." Accessed May 20, 2012. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/833