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Is Grilled Chicken Healthy? (And How to Best Prepare It)

Is Grilled Chicken Healthy? (And How to Best Prepare It)

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When done right, grilled chicken is an excellent healthy meal. Especially if you can get it pulled right at 165 degrees and keep it nice and moist through out the cook. Grilling chicken is definitely a low-fat cooking method and this is even more true if you remove the skin.

One thing to note about grilling chicken is the carcinogens that can be created when grilling. As noted by curetoday.com, there are actually two types of carcinogens that can form from grilling.

The first one is hetero-cyclic amines (HCAs). Hetero-cyclic amines form when any muscle meat is cooked at high temperatures.

The second one is poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons form when fat drips from the meat onto the flame. The chemicals then rise in the smoke and flames and stick to the meat.

With that being said, the best way to cook chicken is by baking it in the oven. You can keep the temperature at a lower level (250-300 degrees). This will likely be your best healthy chicken preparation option.

When grilling chicken there is obviously no way around the HCAs carcinogens but you can also smoke the chicken indirectly if you have a Big Green Egg (or Kamado style grill).

To do this, you can keep the grill under 300 degrees and also cook the chicken indirectly which will eliminate the fat from being able to reach the flame.

To further grill a healthy chicken one obviously wants flavor too. Most BBQ sauces are high in sugars, calories, sodium…so it is best to avoid these. To get more flavor out of your chicken it is recommended that you smoke it to give it some flavor.

You can also marinade it in which there are healthier options then BBQ sauce. Also, stay away from breading as this method of cooking chicken will also make the grilled chicken less healthy.

All in all, chicken is an excellent source of healthy protein. While there is always a risk with carcinogens you have to live life too. Minimize the risk and enjoy!

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