Why should you eat healthy chicken recipes?
Healthy chicken recipes should have a prominent place in your diet, unless you are a vegetarian. If you like to include meat in your meals, it’s better for your health and the health of the planet to buy antibiotic-free hormone free poultry. And yes, to what you’re thinking- that might be tough to do. Why? Because a whopping 80 percent of the antibiotics in use are fed to animals raised for food.
Nearly 25 million pounds of antibiotics are being administered to livestock in the US every year to make animals grow bigger- faster. Bacteria is becoming more resistant to antibiotics, making it harder for doctors to treat human diseases, including tuberculosis and pneumonia. So for a multitude of reasons I urge you to only purchase free range, antibiotic and hormone free chicken. Then and only then can you make truly healthy chicken recipes.
5 reasons to eat chicken:
The protein in healthy chicken recipies lends itself to muscle growth and development, helps support a healthy body weight and aids weight loss. And here’s why. Chicken is one of the best sources of the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. Studies have shown that bcaa bodybuilding powders and foods do indeed not only increase lean body mass but promote fat loss better than any other protein source. This is why you hear about bodybuilders combining bcaa-rich whey protein shakes with muscle building supplements like acetyl-l-carnitine AND eating lots and lots of chicken. So to my bodybuilders- here’s a week of healthy chicken recipes for your dinners!
Vitamin B6 (or B-complex vitamins) encourages enzymes and metabolic cellular reactions which will keep blood vessels healthy, energy levels high, and metabolism burning calories so you can manage a healthy weight. This is of course additive to the bcaa effect. And the slight natural appetite suppressant effect.
Chicken is high in an amino acid called tryptophan. If you’re feeling depressed, eating some poultry will increase the serotonin levels in your brain, enhance your mood, blast stress, and lull you to sleep. Chicken and other high tryptophan foods are natural mood enhancers. Healthy chicken recipies are not quite supplements for anxiety but come close!
Prevents Bone Loss:
Eating chicken will aid in your fight against bone loss.
Hormones and Immune function:
Chicken is abundant in selenium, an essential mineral involved in metabolic performance such as: hormones including thyroid fuction and immune strength and function.
What to look for in all meat labels:
When shopping for truly healthy meat, buying from what is called a CAFO- Confined Animal Feeding Operation, is not the choice you want to make. Organic, grass-fed and grass-finished (not grain-finished) meat, raised without antibiotics and other growth-promoting drugs is really the only type of meat that is healthy to eat. This you will find at farmers’ markets, family farms, food co-ops, and certain forward-thinking grocery chains and health food stores. When shopping, keep the following labels in mind to help you find truly high-quality meat or chicken for your healthy meat and healthy chicken recipes.
100% USDA Organic label offers excellent assurance that antibiotics have not been used at any stage of the product’s production.
“American Grass-fed” and “Food Alliance Grass-fed” labels indicate that in addition to having been raised on grass, the animal in question received no antibiotics. When you think of it, no matter what the recipie is, if you are not using “healthy chicken” you are not making a healthy chicken recipes,right?
“Antibiotic-free,” “No antibiotic residues,” and “No antibiotic growth promotants,” have not been approved by the USDA and may be misleading if not outright fraudulent. “Natural” or “All-Natural” is completely meaningless and has no bearing on whether or not the animal was raised according to organic principles. “Natural” meat and poultry products can by law receive antibiotics, hormones, and genetically engineered grains, and can be raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
In summary: Look for meat labeled “organic” or “no antibiotics.” The labels “natural” or “antibiotic-free” are not meaningful when it comes to determining whether antibiotics are prohibited. You do NOT want your healthy chicken recipes tainted by antibiotics-yuk!
Benefits of coconut oil:
Before I get started giving you the healthy chicken recipes let me put in a few words about the oil you should universally be using to cook with. We use to think the perfect oil was olive oil-it still is, but not when you heat it up. Olive oil has a low “flash point” meaning when you heat it and combine it with proteins and fats you get lots of Advanced glycation end products which are not good for your health. Coconut oil has a high flash point or “smoke point” so this does not occur as readily. This is the first and foremost reason to cook with coconut oil.
Coconut oil happens to be abundant in lauric acid, a type of saturated fatty acid that can increase HDL, the healthy cholesterol. The chain length of saturated fats is another indicator of healthfulness. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are used directly for energy by your body. (As a total aside for the women who read my articles looking for skin benes-coconut oil is great for cuticles, hair and skin treatment-use it as a thin layer under a moor spa mask for improved skin improvement!) Note that all coconut oil referenced below in each of the healthy chicken recipies is extra virgin.
Healthy Chicken recipes: 7 of them!
3 zucchinis, spiralized to noodle trimmed
3 carrots, peeled and spiralized to noodle trimmed
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup diced onions
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
In a large skillet, heat coconut oil. Once the oil heats, add in the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip over, cooking another 3-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink on the inside.
Then, add in the garlic and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions start to soften and become translucent.
Then, add in the cherry tomatoes and roughly crush the tomatoes with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer.
Season with salt and pepper and let cook for 5 minutes, add in the basil and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and it is thicker, suitable for cooking with zucchini noodles.
Add in the zucchini noodles and toss for 2-3 minutes or until noodles are al dente.
Divide into bowls. Eat!!
3 1/2 lb. chicken breasts de-boned or 1 whole chicken
3-4 tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup chicken stock, preferably fresh
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Himalayan salt, to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
If using a whole chicken, use the chicken thighs, legs and wings for chicken stock. Use the (deboned) breasts you purchase or take from the whole chicken for this recipe.
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides for taste.
Heat two tablespoons coconut oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Brown chicken pieces on all sides until golden brown and set aside (chicken will not be done).
Add garlic, ginger, and citrus zests to pan, tossing until softened and fragrant.
Deglaze pan with chicken stock, scraping up browned bits in pan. Return chicken to pan, cover, and simmer over low heat until chicken breasts reach 165° F (75° C) and thighs and legs reach 175° F (80° C).
Remove chicken to serving platter as pieces reach target temperature.
After all the chicken is cooked, finish the sauce by swirling in 1-2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil. Pour sauce over chicken and reserve some to drizzle over spinach and/or red rice.
Serve over steamed spinach or sprouted red rice. How’s that for #2 of these great healthy chicken recipes? Vote for your favorite!
1 whole pastured chicken (3-4 pounds)
1 sweet onion, chopped into 1 inch chunks
2 cups celery, chopped into 1 inch chunks
2 cups carrots, chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 pound, fingerling potatoes (or whatever potatoes you have available)
1/2 cup melted grass-fed butter and/or coconut oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Melt your butter and/or coconut oil (half and half of each is delicious) and set aside. Rinse your chicken, both inside and out. If the chicken comes with giblets, you can save those for gravy or chicken stock.
Make sure the chicken is dry. You want the skin to be very dry so that it can brown properly in the oven. Make sure you dry under the wings and in between the legs and the body. The less water that is left on the bird will mean less steam and a browner and crispier the skin.
Place the chicken in a large baking dish. Add the thyme, bay leaves, lemon wedges, and chopped garlic to the inside the body cavity.
Next, brush or rub the chicken with a couple of tablespoons of butter and/or coconut oil. Generously coat the chicken with sea salt and black pepper to suit your taste.
Add the chopped veggies around the chicken and then drizzle the remaining melted butter and/or coconut oil over them. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.
Place the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 375.Cook the chicken for 1 hour and check the internal temperature.
The final temperature in the thigh should be 165°. If the temperature is not quite there, return to the oven and cook for another 30-45 minutes, or until it reaches 165°.
Total cooking time will depend on your altitude, your oven, and the amount of veggies surrounding the bird. Remove from the oven and let the chicken sit for 15 minutes before cutting.
2 chicken breasts
2 Tbl coconut oil, melted
½ tsp ancho chili powder
½ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch garlic powder
1 c quick cook oats (rolled oats or combo of both)
Drizzle honey (about 1 Tbl per breast)
Basil for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 375 F
Add all ingredients, except oats, to a shallow baking dish. Mix to combine, then stir in oats until coated.
Add in chicken breasts, and roll in oat mixture, patting to coat each breast.
Drizzle honey over each breast; spray with a bit of coconut oil.
Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until each breast is done, flipping halfway through. This is probably my fave of all the healthy chicken recipes.
2 lbs boneless & skinless chicken breasts cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 + 1/2 tsp coconut oil, divided
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
2 cups red cabbage, cut into 1″ pieces
2 tbsp jalapeño pepper, minced
1 cup red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup walnuts (pieces)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
4 tbsp gluten free tamari or low sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tsp fish sauce
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juice of
1/4 tsp salt + a pinch, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
Preheat oven to 375 F degrees F.
Wash squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Punch randomly with a fork, place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper/aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium and add walnuts, toast until lightly brown, stirring frequently. Transfer to a large bowl.
Return skillet to medium heat and add 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Add bell pepper and cook with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl with walnuts and set aside.
Return skillet on medium-high heat and add 1 tsp coconut oil. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
Add chicken and cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally and draining liquid if necessary. Add fish sauce, 2 tbsp of say sauce, 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes and cook for 8 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
As the liquid evaporates, you will have to stir more frequently to get that nice golden crust and flavor on each chicken piece.
Transfer to a bowl with walnuts and bell pepper, along with cabbage, cilantro, green onions, jalapeño pepper, lime juice, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, black pepper and 1/4 tsp salt.
Mix gently to combine and let the flavors “marry” each other while you are getting spaghetti squash ready. Feel free to adjust saltiness and spiciness of the dish with extra soy sauce and red pepper flakes to suit your taste. This dish is mild enough for kids but spicy enough for adults.
Remove squash from the oven, let cool until it’s safe to the touch and separate into strands with a fork.
To serve, place desired amount of spaghetti squash in a bowl and top with chicken and veggies mixture. Serve hot. There you have your #5 of the healthy chicken recipes!
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 ripe peeled avocado
8 (6-inch) corn tostada shells- or to make this super healthy use large leafs of romaine lettuce to substitue for the tostada shells
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh onion, divided
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato, divided
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Place avocado in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons tomato, 1 tablespoon onion, 1 tablespoon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and garlic.
Combine remaining 1 cup tomato, 2 tablespoons onion, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cilantro, and jalapeño; toss well.
Combine chicken, remaining 1 tablespoon juice, and paprika; toss well to combine. Spread about 1 tablespoon guacamole over each tostada shell; top each with 1/4 cup chicken mixture and about 2 tablespoons salsa.
3 chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 head of bibb lettuce, leaves detached, rinsed, and dried
1 organic green pepper, diced
1/2 pack button mushrooms (or to taste), diced
4 organic scallions (green onions) sliced, greens and whites
3 garlic cloves finely diced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, diced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons gluten free tamari
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat up the coconut oil in a skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes.
Add chicken and crushed red pepper and cook 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Add green bell pepper and mushrooms and sauté a few more minutes. Add the scallion in last with the tamari.
If you like your vegetables cooked more, add them in before the chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over 3 or 4 lettuce leaves. And there is the final of your healthy chicken recipes!