skin on

New Study Shows How to Cook Healthy Chicken with Skin On

It’s no secret that a skin-on cut of chicken is more tender and flavourful because it traps the natural juices inside as it cooks.

This cooking technique has been used for decades to cook some of the most flavourful meals you remember as a kid. The downside of a skin-on cut of chicken has always been a higher fat and calorie count due to the exact same process that traps the juicy fat and oils inside the bird. It’s an unfortunate paradox – juicy chicken or low fat, choose one.

But there is hope.

As part of a recent nutrition study undertaken by Chicken Farmers of Canada, full details to be released later this month, a remarkable breakthrough was discovered. While a skinless cut of chicken does contain less fat and calories, a skin-on cut can attain similar nutritional value if the skin is removed prior to consumption. This means that you can cook your chicken with the skin on, retaining all the moisture and flavour you love, and then remove it prior to serving to achieve essentially the same health benefit as a skinless cut.

For example, skinless chicken breasts have 146 calories and 1.73 g of fat compared to chicken breasts cooked with skin and skin removed with 134 calories and 1.37 g of fat per 100 g. As well, skinless chicken breasts have less moisture compared to chicken cooked with skin and skin removed; 64.96 g vs. 67.47 g respectively.

That’s right, a breast of chicken cooked with skin-on and then removed actually has less fat and calories than a skinless breast. How is this possible? When the chicken is cooking, the fat in the breast flows out of the meat and becomes trapped in the skin. The skin of the chicken becomes saturated with fat and retains it once it is removed. 

Another great advantage of this method is the cost savings involved. While boneless, skinless chicken breasts are becoming a staple of kitchens across Canada for their great taste, nutritional value and ease of preparation, they often come with a higher cost at the supermarket. Meanwhile, buying a bone-in, skin-on cut of chicken is not only cheaper, but comes with other significant health benefits. While we’ve learned that removing the skin after cooking reduces the amount of fat and calories, most bone-in cuts (which encompass most skin-on varieties) also contain significantly more zinc, vitamin B and B12. 

Of course it’s important to remember that even with skin on, all cuts of chicken are extremely nutritious, providing an excellent source of protein, micronutrients such as niacin, phosphorous, B6, B12, Vitamin D, calcium, iron and zinc, not to mention millions of easy and delicious meal time options.

In fact, with up to 32 g of protein per 100 g, all cuts of chicken are an excellent source of high quality protein whether or not they have skin on. This protein power makes chicken an easy way to meet your daily nutritional requirements.

If you’re looking for a great food hack that can both make your meals more nutritious and more flavourful, try this little trick out for yourself.

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