The Unhealthy Mistake You Might Be Making When Cooking Chicken

From chicken noodle soup to chicken pot pie, chicken is essential for many classic dishes we know and love. While its versatility makes for a common staple in many people's diets, it also packs a nutritional punch if prepared correctly.

Healthline names chicken as an excellent source of protein, clocking in at 24 grams per serving. Protein is an essential component of your diet because it helps build muscle, maintain weight loss, and reduce certain food cravings (via Healthline).

While there are many different ways of preparing chicken, not all contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Certain parts of the chicken, like chicken breast, are low-calorie and high in protein. But coating and cooking the meat in excess amounts of oil and breading can negate the health benefits.

Fried chicken (while delicious) is one of the unhealthiest ways to consume chicken. In fact, a 2019 study published in the British Medical Journal found that participants who ate fried chicken every day over 18 years had a higher risk of death than those who avoided it altogether. While fried chicken can be a fun treat to indulge in every once in a while, it shouldn't be your go-to source of protein.

The healthier way to cook chicken

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to jazz up a chicken dinner while preserving its nutritional value. According to Healthline, grilling and baking are two of the healthiest ways to prepare chicken. A plain piece of chicken breast without any fun breading or grease to give it flavor can feel boring, but there are plenty of tricks you can employ that will taste so delicious you'll be surprised it's good for you. Marinating your chicken overnight in yogurt or a vinegar-based mix will punch up the flavor while keeping it healthy (via Livestrong). You can also add various herbs and seasonings that will give your dish a kick without adding any extra calories.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), whether you choose to grill or bake your chicken, always be sure to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that any illness-causing bacteria like Salmonella are destroyed.