How to Cook Chicken the Healthy Way

Overview

There are a lot of ways to cook chicken, from tasty fried chicken to heart-healthy poached chicken. Roasting and baking are healthy alternatives, but beware how poultry absorbs its own juices while roasting or baking. Grilled chicken is the healthiest choice because the fat drains out of the chicken, while absorbing a lot of flavor from the grill. Buy Grade A, organically fed chicken breasts, either fresh or frozen. The breast, or white meat, contains leaner meat than dark meat, and is the better choice for a healthy heart and low fat diet.

How to Cook Chicken the Healthy Way

Step 1

Thaw frozen chicken breasts overnight in the refrigerator. Remove all the fat, or skin, from the meat if skinless chicken is not available.

Step 2

Rinse chicken breasts thoroughly. Juice one lemon, lime or orange and rub the juice all over the chicken breasts. Rub a blend of fresh or dried herbs, such as rosemary, sage and cilantro into the chicken. Alternatively, marinate chicken rather than using a rub. Combine 1 tbsp. of olive oil with the juice from a lime, lemon or orange. Add a mixture of your favorite seasonings. Shake and coat the chicken pieces with marinade inside a freezer bag. Refrigerate the freezer bag of marinated chicken for one hour or longer.

Step 3

Brush the barbecue grate, or the interior of an indoor grill, with olive oil to prevent chicken from sticking. Mix some liquid smoke into the oil for extra flavor.

Step 4

Grill your chicken at a low temperature of 230 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit over a longer period of time to prevent dry and charbroiled meat on the outdoor grill. Cooking chicken by indoor grill takes half the time due to both sides of the meat receiving equal heat. Cook until the juices run clear. Prevent overcooked or undercooked chicken by using a thermometer. Insert thermometer inside the breast. Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5

Rest the grilled chicken on a platter for 15 minutes so the natural juices can redistribute throughout the meat, preventing dried out chicken. Cover the cooked chicken with foil to prevent cooling too quickly. Serve grilled vegetables with the chicken for a delicious healthy meal made on the grill.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not thaw frozen chicken in room temperature or leave chicken sitting out at room temperature for long periods. Avoid unhealthy bacterial growth by thawing chicken either in the refrigerator, a sink filled with cold water or in the microwave.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon, lime or orange
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Seasoning
  • Outdoor or indoor grill
  • Liquid smoke
  • Meat thermometer

References

  • Samonella and Safety

Who Can Help

  • Chicken Safety and Storage
  • Health Benefits of Grilled Food
  • Good-For-You Grilling
Keywords: grilled chicken, low-fat chicken, cooking healthy, healthy chicken

About this Author

With 10 years of academic writing/editing experience, Rain Morie took the leap into independent writing, editing and photography in 2006. Publications Morie has written for include "AllVoices," Today.Com and Bright Hub. Morie has a fine art education in dance and photography. She returned to university to complete a B.A. and master's in sociology and psychology.

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