If you’re looking for a low fat, high protein, versatile, and tasty meat product, chicken is almost certainly a meat which you should place at the top of your to-eat pile.
We all understand all too well that eating clean and healthy all of the time can be physically and mentally draining, especially if you’re looking to lose weight through a calorie restrictive diet. This is where chicken is so useful as chicken wing calories and indeed calories in other parts of the bird, are very low.
Chicken is a fantastic lean protein that’s rich in flavour, nutritious, versatile, and easy to prepare. Furthermore, if you get creative in the kitchen, there are a number of ways in which you can prepare this fantastic meat and still keep your caloric intakes low.
What are the benefits of eating chicken?
Speak to any athlete, bodybuilder, personal trainer, nutritionist, or fitness fanatic and, providing they eat meat, 99% of the time they will consume heaps upon heaps of chicken.
Before we start looking at things such as chicken leg calories and chicken drumstick nutrition, we first need to take a look at what it is about this meat that people just can’t seem to get enough of.
Here are several proven benefits of eating chicken.
You can eat so many different parts of the bird
When it comes to health and fitness, skinless chicken breast is normally the order of the day but in reality there are plenty of different cuts of meat found on this delicious bird that each provide their own unique benefits.
Chicken wings for example, make delicious snacks and are popular all over the globe. Chicken thighs are slightly fattier and are softer and more tender. Drumsticks are another popular choice, making chicken a very useful bird.
Chicken is versatile
Another fantastic reason to eat more chicken is simply due to the fact that chicken is so versatile.
Chicken can be prepared in a number of ways, it can be used in pies, soups, stews, curries, eaten whole, blended, poached, fried, steamed, baked, battered, breaded, and a whole lot more besides.
Put it this way, if you’re looking for ways of keeping your diet fresh and exciting, chicken is the perfect meat for you to enjoy.
Chicken is low in calories
Okay, before you get too excited and rush to your nearest KFC, if it is cooked correctly, chicken is low in calories. Chicken wing calories for example, are naturally low, and what’s more, if you go ahead and remove the skin of the meat and cook it with minimal fat, you can enjoy a tasty low calorie meal.
We’ll look at precisely how many calories are in chicken a little later on, but for now, providing you opt for skinless chicken and keep cooking fats low, you’ll find that chicken is the ultimate weight loss food.
Chicken is rich in protein
Protein is not just a macronutrient needed for muscle growth and recovery, it is also needed by the body for cellular function, and to perform various other physiological processes as well.
Chicken is a fantastic source of lean protein, which makes it healthy and very beneficial.
Chicken can improve your mood
Chicken is full of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein molecules. One such amino acid is L-Tryptophan.
L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps to elevate serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin functions as an endorphin as it makes you feel good and helps you to relax.
Chicken is rich in certain vitamins and minerals
Chicken contains B vitamins such as vitamin B12, which helps to increase your energy levels and promote cognitive development and function. Furthermore, chicken also contains choline, which is a mineral that too plays a key role in cognitive health and function.
Chicken can therefore boost your health and well-being and enhance cognitive and nervous system health.
Chicken can assist with weight loss
We’ve looked at how chicken is low in calories but why are things such as chicken leg calories important for weight loss? Well, chicken itself is naturally lean and low in calories, especially if you remove the skin. To lose weight, we simply need to consume fewer calories than we need to maintain our bodies.
Chicken is also a thermogenic food as it is rich in protein, which means that it takes longer to digest and break down, and it raises your core body temperature as a result, which boosts the metabolism. Not only that, but as it takes longer to digest, it stays in your stomach for longer, so your satiety levels increase meaning you stay full for longer.
How many calories are in chicken?
Okay, so, we’ve looked at a few reasons why chicken is considered to be so healthy and beneficial, so now let us take a look at the different amounts of calories found in different parts of the animal.
Here’s a look at the calories and nutritional values of different cuts of chicken.
How many calories in chicken breast?
Up first we’ve got the MVP of the chicken world, especially when it comes to health and fitness. Chicken breast is the most popular cut of meat as it is very versatile, it’s easy to prepare, it goes with most dishes, and it tastes great too.
Although you can purchase chicken breast with the skin on, most people opt for skinless and boneless chicken breast, which is what we’re going to look at now.
A typical 172-gram skinless, boneless, cooked chicken breast contains the following:
- 6.2g of fat
- 0g of carbs
- 53.4g of protein
- 284 calories
Just be aware that the info above relates to chicken breast which has been prepared with no additional fats or oils, and no additional seasonings or marinades, which could increase the fat, caloric, carb, and protein contents.
How many calories in chicken wings?
Now we’re going to look at chicken wing calories and nutritional info as we get to the bottom of precisely how many calories are found in chicken wings.
Chicken wings are one of the most popular foods in the world, and are especially popular at parties and sporting events such as Superbowl parties.
Typically, chicken wings aren’t considered healthy because they’re often fried, breaded, served skin on, and drenched in melted butter, hot sauce, or sugary BBQ sauce and served with high calorie dips such as sour cream and blue cheese.
However, when it comes to chicken wings calories, if you prepare your wings in a healthy manner and avoid breading, frying, and drenching in butter, they can actually be surprisingly healthy.
One 100-gram serving of plain chicken wings contain:
- 0g of carbs
- 203 calories
- 8.1g of fat
- 30.5g of protein
How many calories are in chicken thighs?
Chicken thighs are probably chicken breast’s main contenders in terms of popularity, and for good reason. Thighs often contain more fat, but the meat is softer and more tender, giving a softer and richer texture. Some also claim it has more taste.
As well as that, for some reason chicken thighs are noticeably cheaper than chicken breasts, so if you are on a budget, chicken thighs are a great alternative.
In terms of nutritional breakdowns, one 52-gram chicken thigh looks like this:
- 0g of carbs
- 13.5 g of protein
- 109 calories
- 5.7g of fat
If you want to reduce the caloric contents of chicken thighs, opt for skinless thighs.
How many calories are in chicken drumsticks?
Finally, we’re going to look at chicken drumstick nutrition and will be breaking down the nutritional content of chicken drumsticks.
Chicken legs are formed from two parts. The first part is the thigh, and the second part is the drumstick, which is located in the lower portion of the bird’s leg.
Drumsticks are popular snack foods because of their shape as they can be eaten on the go and gripped like a savoury lolly.
As far as chicken drumstick nutrition goes, one average skinless and boneless drumstick weighing 44 grams looks something like:
- 0g of carbs
- 12.4g of protein
- 76 calories
- 2.5g of fat
How many calories in a larger chicken leg quarter?
Finally, we’ll quickly have a few words on chicken leg quarters. We’ve looked at the nutritional info of chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks, but what about larger chicken leg quarters?
Well, roughly in terms of calories, you would be looking at around 180 calories or so, but obviously that would depend on how large the chicken leg quarter really was.
How to make your chicken dishes healthy
Chicken is a funny old meat because, despite it being very popular in the fitness community, people also associate it with unhealthy junk foods as well. After all, wings aren’t considered healthy, neither is Southern fried chicken, or chicken burgers.
If you are looking to lose weight and get fitter and healthier, though, the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to make your chicken dishes healthy and to reduce the caloric contents.
A few tried and tested tips include:
Remove the skin
If you take just one tip away from today’s guide, let it be this.
If you’re looking for ways of reducing the fat and calorie content of your chicken, go ahead and remove the skin.
Both chicken breasts and chicken thighs come either with the skin on, or skinless. To make life easier for you, when shopping, purchase skinless chicken thighs or breasts, or have your butcher remove the skin for you before you buy.
Alternatively, you can remove the skin yourself but just be aware that this does take slightly longer and can be a little fiddly.
Removing the skin of the chicken however, will substantially reduce the fat and calories found in your chicken, making it ideal for weight loss.
Avoid unhealthy cooking methods
When talking about chicken wing calories, chicken drumstick nutrition, or chicken in general for that matter, if you are looking for ways of making your chicken healthier, it all comes down to the cooking.
Breading or battering your chicken and then deep frying will amp up the carb and calorie contents significantly, as will shallow frying. In fact, because shallow frying increases the surface area, more of the oil is absorbed by the meat so it is actually even more unhealthy than deep frying.
When preparing chicken, opt for healthy ways of cooking like poaching, grilling, baking, or air frying.
When it comes to chicken wings calories, if you make your own wings and simply use dry rubs and seasonings instead of frying them in oil and coating them in butter or sugary sauces and syrups, if you bake or air fry them they’ll taste great and will be considerably healthier too.
Use less fat
When cooking chicken, another simple and effective way of making it healthier is to simply use less fat.
If you’re roasting a whole chicken, don’t baste it in butter first, and instead just give the skin a quick spritz of oil to help crisp it up.
When frying the chicken, use less oil in the pan, or perhaps use a non-stick pan to reduce the amount of oil required in the first place.
Get flavour from healthy rubs and marinades
When preparing chicken, one of the easiest ways of making the meat more diet friendly is to simply go ahead and use healthy rubs and marinades instead.
Rather than using a flavoured butter, why not rub the meat in herbs and spices which are packed full of flavour and are virtually fat and calorie-free instead.
One delicious marinade for example, is simply chicken coated in lemon juice with fresh garlic and thyme. If you leave the chicken to marinade overnight it will become tender and will take on all of that extra flavour, without the need for any fats, sugars, or extra calories.
The bottom line on chicken
As you can see, chicken is versatile, it tastes great, it can be healthy, and it is very good for weight loss and your health in general.
Now that we’ve looked at chicken leg calories, the calories in wings, health benefits, and nutritional info, hopefully now you can see just why this fantastic bird is so healthy and popular.