Baked chicken is the dinner of choice for many people in the United States, providing a tasty protein source that is lower in fat and calories than many other varieties of meat. In addition to its nutritional value, baked chicken baked offers versatility to home cooks -- you can serve it plain or dressed up with herbs and spices, marinades and sauces, including barbecue, Alfredo or tomato sauce. Baked chicken is a healthy option for most people, although those eating a restricted-calorie diet may need to remove the skin.
Calories and Serving Size
A 3.5-ounce serving of baked chicken with skin serves up 239 calories, or 11.9 percent of the calories you can consume in a day if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. A 3.5-ounce serving of chicken compares to the shape and size of a standard deck of cards or a bar of soap.
Baked chicken serves as an excellent source of high-quality protein, with 27.3 grams per serving. Your diet requires 46 to 56 grams of protein each day, so a serving of baked chicken helps you satisfy a significant amount of your nutritional needs. Because of the skin on this chicken, fat content is quite high -- 13.6 grams per serving. You can lower the amount of fat by discarding the skin, but you lose some flavor by doing so. The target amount for fat intake ranges from 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories, so if you find yourself below that range, consider eating the skin to provide your body with the fat it requires to function.
Vitamins and Minerals
Eat a serving of baked chicken, and you take in 52.5 to 60 percent of the niacin, or vitamin B-3, you need each day. The niacin in baked chicken helps to improve your body's circulation and ability to make a variety of hormones. You also take in 42.1 percent of the daily recommended amount of selenium, which plays a critical role in fertility and protects your immune function. Additionally, baked chicken is a good source of phosphorus and vitamin B-6, and contains smaller levels of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin B-12 and vitamins A, D and K.
Eat baked chicken if you suffer from some bowel problems. Research published in the January 2007 issue of the journal "Inflammatory Bowel Diseases" notes that study participants who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome had a lesser reaction to chicken than other types of foods. Researchers encourage handouts for outpatient therapy to detail dietary guidelines, such as eating chicken, that can help you avoid irritable bowel syndrome attacks.
- USDA: National Nutrient Database: Chicken, Broilers or Fryers, Meat and Skin, Cooked, Roasted
- American Cancer Society: Controlling Portion Sizes
- MedlinePlus: Protein in Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3
- MedlinePlus: Selenium in Diet
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Outpatients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Using a Food and Beverage Intolerance, Food and Beverage Avoidance Diet
- Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology: Selenium, A Key Element in Spermatogenesis and Male Fertility