Skinless chicken thighs are often recommended for dieters because of their high protein content and low fat content. In fact, there are only 173 calories in boneless, skinless, chicken thighs when consumed in a 3.5-ounce serving.
Skinless chicken thighs offer important nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, and are high in protein. They also tend to be moister and more flavorful than chicken breasts. Chicken thighs can play a role in a healthy diet with portion control and the right cooking techniques.
Skinless Chicken Thigh Nutrition Information
Skinless chicken thigh nutrition information includes 173 calories and 8 grams of fat in a 3.5-ounce serving, according to USDA FoodData Central. Compare this to the 157 calories and 3.2 grams of fat in 3.5 ounces of skinless chicken breast. In terms of saturated fat, the thighs contain just 1 gram more than the breast — 2.3 grams versus 1.01 grams.
Skinless chicken thighs are high in protein, with 24.4 grams in a 3.5-ounce serving. This goes a long way toward the recommended daily protein intake — 46 grams for females and 56 grams for males, according to the National Academies of Sciences. Chicken contains no carbohydrates, fiber or sugar.
Boost Vitamin and Mineral Intake
According to a June 2015 article published by Food & Nutrition Research, poultry is a good source of B vitamins — particularly thiamin, B6 and pantothenic acid. It also provides important minerals, including iron, copper and zinc. However, the article also points out that chicken nutritional value is also dependent on the animal's genetics and the food they are fed.
Compared with other types of meat, chicken is low in collagen, or a "tough" protein that supports connective tissue. This makes it more readily digestible, meaning your body absorbs more of the vitamins and minerals provided by this food source.
Chicken thighs are also a good source of selenium. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, this important nutrient that is required for DNA production, proper thyroid gland function and reproduction, as well as its role in helping the body fight infection.
Watch the Fat
Choosing skinless is best because it helps control calories and fat. Calories in chicken thighs with skin increases by 41 when compared to its skinless counterpart. The skin adds another 5 grams of total fat and doubles the amount of saturated fat.
According to the American Heart Association, saturated fats should make up no more than 5 to 6 percent of a person's daily caloric intake. This equates to a maximum of 13 grams if you consume 2,000 calories per day.
Chicken thighs do well with moist, long cooking techniques like stewing and braising. Using them in broth-based soups and chili is a healthy preparation option, but cream-based stews and chowders add significant calories and fat to skinless chicken thighs. Frying thighs is another way to significantly increase the calorie and fat content.
- USDA FoodData Central: "Chicken, Thigh, NS as to Cooking Method, Skin Not Eaten"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Chicken, Broiler or Fryers, Breast, Skinless, Boneless, Meat Only, Cooked, Braised"
- Food & Nutrition Research: "Role of Poultry Meat in a Balanced Diet Aimed at Maintaining Health and Wellbeing: An Italian Consensus Document"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Selenium"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Chicken, Dark Meat, Thigh, Meat and Skin, With Added Solution, Cooked, Roasted"
- American Heart Association: "The Skinny on Fats"
- National Academies of Sciences: "Macronutrients"