If You Want Chicken on a Diet, Your Best Bet Is to Boil It

Americans now eat more chicken than beef, according to a 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. The average American eats nearly 60 pounds of chicken per year. Economic factors, ease of preparation and the healthiness of the meat may be a cause of the rise in chicken consumption. Using boiled chicken while dieting is an economical, healthy way to prepare this low-calorie, nutrient-rich food.

Boiled Chicken for a Diet
Credit: Tatiana Volgutova/iStock/GettyImages

Benefits of Boiled Chicken

Boiling chicken with the skin removed results in tender meat with no added fat or calories, provided you do not add oil or high calorie ingredients to the water. If you fry or bake chicken with the skin intact, you may be tempted to eat the skin, which contains the majority of the calories and fat. Eating boiled chicken while dieting helps you control your calories. Additionally, eating chicken may benefit your colon health, according to a research study presented in the "American Journal of Gastroenterology."

A Look at Calories

Boiled chicken contains 43 calories per 1 oz. serving. The USDA's standard 3-oz. serving of meat translates to 129 calories. If you eat 3 oz. of boiled chicken each day, you will consume between 7 and 9 percent of your calories for the day, if you eat either 1,500 or 1,800 calories. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines indicate that you need a daily protein intake of 4 to 5 oz. at either of the above calorie levels. You can add another 1 to 2 oz. of chicken each day, or eat another protein such as seafood, beans or lean beef to meet your requirement.

Beneficial Nutrients in Boiled Chicken

Boiled chicken adds little fat to your diet, which helps you stay within the 20 to 35 percent recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A 3-oz. serving contains 2.5 g of fat, and none from saturated fat. Chicken gives you no fiber or carbohydrates, and is a healthy choice if you use a low-carbohydrate diet plan as your weight loss method. The high protein content, at about 25 g per 3-oz. serving, aids your weight loss efforts by helping your fullness level. A March 2011 study published in the journal "Obesity" found that people who reduced their calories, and ate three larger, high-protein meals per day, felt more satisfied and were less likely to eat at night.

Serving Suggestions for Boiled Chicken

After you boil the chicken, remove the meat from the bones. Shred the meat and use it in chicken fajitas, chicken noodle soup or a healthy chicken salad made with Greek yogurt and grapes. Add sauteed onions to cooked brown rice, and top with a 3 oz. piece of boiled chicken that you season with fresh herbs and minced garlic. Use the boiled chicken as your protein for sandwiches. Boiled chicken also freezes well for later use and makes a tasty addition to your favorite lasagna recipe or for chicken chili.

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