Fried foods have long been a staple in the North American diet, with fried chicken being a particularly popular comfort food. While undeniably delicious, fried foods are high in calories, unhealthy fats, and salt and eating them regularly can have adverse effects on your health, contribute to issues like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.
If you want to enjoy the delicious taste of fried chicken with fewer potential negative side effects, consider the following tips for a healthier alternative:
- Use a healthier oil: Choose healthier cooking oils like olive, avocado, grape seed or canola oil, which contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are better for your heart.
- Oven-bake or air-fry: Instead of deep-frying, try oven-baking or using an air-fryer to cook your chicken. They require less oil and result in a lower fat and calorie content.
- Use whole grain breadcrumbs: Swap out traditional white flour breadcrumbs for whole grain options, which offer more fiber and nutrients. You can also try crushed nuts like almonds or pecans for an added boost of healthy fats and protein.
- Ditch the skin: Remove the skin from the chicken before cooking — it’ll significantly reduce the fat content.
- Marinate in buttermilk: Doing this before cooking can help tenderize the meat and add flavor without adding excessive salt.
- Season wisely: Use herbs and spices to add flavor to reduce reliance on salt. Experiment with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and other seasonings to find your perfect blend.