Love the taste of fried chicken but want to give your family something healthier? You certainly aren’t alone. People love crispy fried chicken because it’s cheap, delicious and incredibly juicy. Unfortunately, all of this flavor comes at a price. The oils in which the chicken is fried can contain trans fat. Also, fried foods are high in fat, calories and salt, raising the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
While most things in moderation are fine - fried chicken included - it’s in your best interests to find healthier ways of cooking your meals. Fortunately, it is possible to make fried chicken healthier for you and your family. Let’s take a look!
What makes fried chicken crispy is the coating, not the skin. Therefore, you can remove the skin without taking away flavor. This will save you about 5 grams of saturated fat.
But, we do want to point out that chicken skin may not be as bad as we once thought. It does contain lots of healthy fats that are associated with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. If you’re a big chicken eater, you don’t have to remove the skin every time. But it is a fast and easy way to shed some extra calories.
The best way to marinate fried chicken is by using buttermilk. The buttermilk breaks down the protein in the meat, allowing it to be super tender and juicy when cooked. You can even add some of your own flavor at this time such as garlic or hot sauce. Marinate for up to 8 hours - no more than this or the chicken will become mushy.
One of the best ways to make fried chicken healthier is by eliminating cooking oils. Instead, use cooking spray, which has about 9 calories for every 1 second of spraying. Another perk to using cooking spray over cooking oil is that your kitchen will stay a lot cleaner! Oil splashes up everywhere and can stain backsplashes and cause buildup on cabinets, but cooking spray will not.
Remember, we’re staying away from cooking oils, so instead, you’ll want to oven fry your chicken. Make your oven hot - 425-degrees should do it. And, you’ll be able to cook a whole bucket of chicken in one batch. Frying chicken in oil, on the other hand, usually requires several batches because only so much chicken can fit into a frying pan.
By following these simple steps, you can enjoy the fried chicken taste that you love without all the calories!