Chicken, sans the skin, is a staple for healthy eaters. It's high in protein and, if prepared properly, low in fat. Coming up with the perfect marinade can offer a delicious foundation for dozens of different interesting meals which crushes the misconception that eating healthy means sitting down to bland, uninteresting food. A word of advice - try to steer clear of those store-brought versions as they tend to bring along less than stellar nutrition facts. Nothing beats the homemade variety since you can save sodium and other preservatives while ensuring a moist and delicious meal as an end product. |
Family members know that I'm a self-confessed chicken eater. I love it regardless of how it's cooked. My sister makes the best spicy chicken adobo and it's one of my ultimate comfort foods. But there's more to marinades than the good old soy sauce, black pepper and calamansi combination. As I stay committed to watch over what I eat, I've gathered five of the best healthy chicken marinades that I plan to kitchen test in the next few days to add variety to my meals.
1. Teriyaki Marinade - A versatile and crowd-pleaser combination of soy sauce, orange juice and sugar. It's simple and quick to put together and you can serve your chicken with fresh fruits and vegetables once done. 2. Chicken with Peanut-ginger Marinade - A sweet, salty and tangy Asian-influenced marinade. The best version of this uses fresh ingredients, like ginger and orange zest, although the recipe is also open to substituting less expensive or powdered versions of some of the ingredients. Freshly-squeezed orange juice will also help create a superior marinade. 3. Persian Chicken Breasts - In the Middle East, cinnamon is used in savory chicken and lamb dishes, as well as soups and sauces. In this recipe, said spice adds an exotic, unexpected flavor to grilled chicken. This is best when served with vegetables and flatbread. 4. Balsamic Chicken - A go-to recipe for a savory chicken dish as it uses ingredients found in most pantries: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic. For a Mediterranean spin, add some chopped fresh rosemary. Roasted potatoes and a green salad are perfect to round out this comforting meal. If you have leftovers, they go well in salads or sandwiches. 5. Chicken Yakitori - In Japan, chicken grilled on a skewer is known as yakitori. This recipe calls for marinating the chicken pieces in a delicate sauce featuring garlic and ginger, then threading chicken onto skewers with pearl onion and small chucks of pineapple.
Simple healthy dinner recipes are a no-brainer once you learn to mix and match what's in your kitchen. Just remember that once your meat/chicken has been drenched in a marinade of choice, it may be loaded with fats and low in nutrients. Learn to gather basic ingredients - herbs, spices, fruits and oils - that will add both flavor and nutrition to your marinade. Poultry should be cooked within two days of marinating for the flavor to be maximized. Over-marinating can either cause food to be so tender or tough as nails depending on the acid (vinegar, lemon, wine, etc.) that was used.
This whole healthy eating goal has been a breeze so far. I'm taking baby-steps towards changing my eating habits and it has worked wonders. I do not deprive myself, hence the inclination towards chicken meals, because I have learned to take things in moderation. I can still indulge in grilled foods with my favorite spicy mustard sauce while enjoying some green salad coupled with mom's raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe. Despite what certain fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.
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