Judy E. Buss
Unless you are in the habit of consuming industrial-size meat portions, chicken can be an important element in a healthy diet. Relatively lean, it is an excellent source of protein, zinc, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and more. One serving is 4 ounces or ¼ pound per meal, per person. This equals to a small, cooked boneless breast, or one leg and a thigh. Highly active individuals may eat slightly larger portions.
Some nutritionists recommend shunning the dark chicken flesh, because it contains a bit more fat than its white counterpart. However, most of the fat in the dark meat is concentrated in the skin, or around certain cuts, such as the thighs. The skin can and should be discarded, and the yellowish visible fat attached to any cut can be easily removed.
Furthermore, dark meat consists of all of the chicken muscle tissue, which is rich in iron, while the white meat does not contain any. True, white meat, primarily the breast, is somewhat leaner, but tends to be dry and tasteless. To compensate for this, cooks often drown the meat in butter, oil, cheese, or mayonnaise, thereby drastically increasing, even surpassing dark meat in fat content and calories.
How the bird is cooked determines whether the dish is wholesome or harmful. Some particularly unhealthy cooking methods are deep-frying, grilling (sorry, friends!), consuming the skin, or using chicken fat for cooking. Chicken sausage, or any sausage for that matter, is high in fat and unhealthy additives, rendering it a weapon of health destruction as well.
Chicken meat lends itself to numerous fabulously delicious and healthful possibilities, including soups, sandwiches, salads, or roasted, stove-top cooked, and oven baked dishes. The liver, stomach, heart, neck, wings, feet, and bones, are also utilized, particularly in ethnic cuisine.
Cornish Game hens, are, unfortunately overlooked by many home cooks. The meat of these hybrid young chickens – weighing only approximately 2.5 pounds – is lean, tender, and utterly delicious! The name is misleading, because they are neither a game bird nor are only the females eaten. They are a domesticated fowl, sometimes referred to as Rock Cornish, and mostly prepared by roasting. Because of their small size they require less time to roast – an added advantage.
Leave it to scientists to worry about who came first – the chicken or the egg – enjoy eating chicken!
CHICKEN SALAD WITH FRUIT AND NUTS
1/2 pound cooked, boneless chicken
3/4 cup fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
1 celery stalk, sliced
10 seedless grapes, halved
3 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
In a medium bowl mix all the dressing ingredients. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add the chicken and all the other ingredients to dressing. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
“Mission Nutrition” Tips and Recipe from Judy E. Buss, Health Columnist, Nutritional Cooking Instructor.
Excerpted from Judy E. Buss’ article, first published in the “Feeling Fit” Magazine, Sun Coast Media Group newspapers, Florida.
Stay tuned for more Judy E. Buss’ “Mission Nutrition” words of wisdom and recipes.