Chicken can be a healthier option than red meat, especially if you choose the chicken breast meat. However, many people prefer the taste of chicken thighs. They are easier to cook, and often less expensive as well. Either option can be healthy if you prepare your chicken meat the right way.
A 3-ounce serving of roasted chicken thigh meat without skin has 180 calories, 22 grams of protein, 80 milligrams of cholesterol and 10 grams of fat, including 3 grams of saturated fat. A 3-ounce serving of roasted chicken breast meat without skin has 140 calories, 26 grams of protein, 70 milligrams of cholesterol and 5 grams of fat, including 1 gram of saturated fat. Although the chicken thigh has a lot more fat, only 2 grams of the extra fat are the unhealthy saturated fat that can raise your cholesterol levels.
The serving of chicken thigh meat provides you with 30 percent of the daily value for niacin, 15 percent of the DV for phosphorus, vitamin B-6 and zinc and 10 percent of the DV for riboflavin. The chicken breast meat contains less of some micronutrients, providing only 6 percent of the DV for zinc and riboflavin, but more of others, providing 60 percent of the DV for niacin, 25 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6 and 20 percent of the DV for phosphorus. You need niacin, riboflavin and vitamin B-6 for turning the food you eat into energy and phosphorus and zinc for forming DNA.
While there are some nutritional differences between the meat of these two parts of the chicken, cooking methods can make a big difference in the fat content as well. Trim off any skin and visible fat, and then choose a cooking method that doesn't use any added fat, such as roasting, baking or grilling. Some people cook chicken breast with fatty ingredients to add to the flavor, while with chicken thighs this isn't necessary.
To get even more flavor out of your chicken for less cost, buy chicken that is still on the bone. Meat on the bone has more flavor. You can also cook it with the skin still on and remove the skin when the chicken is cooked. If you really want chicken off the bone, you can easily do this yourself and save a bit of money since boneless, skinless chicken is sold at a much higher price.