Chicken Breast seems to be the main staple for bodybuilders and those losing weight around the country. Chicken breast provides ample protein, is low in fat and contains few calories compared to most meats. Chicken breast is used in diets of high profile athletes as well as those consuming a low carbohydrate, high protein diet to help them gain lean muscle and lose fat.
The number of calories in a chicken breast depends largely on how the meat is prepared. For example, a chicken breast that is grilled offers a lower calorie content than a chicken breast that has been dipped in egg batter and thrown in the deep fryer. Extra calories come from breading, crumbing or basting the meat and should be considered when determining how many calories in a chicken breast.
Determining How Many Calories are in a Chicken Breast
The most accurate way to determine how many calories are in a chicken breast is to weight it. If using frozen chicken, defrost the meat first before weighing. Raw weight will give you the most accurate number and help you determine how many calories in a chicken breast.
One normal sized chicken breast (usually the size of your clenched fist) weighs 100 grams or 3.5 ounces. It contains 31 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fat. Prepared with nothing on it but natural seasonings or lemon juice, this chicken breast should contain a calorie content of 165 calories. It is when you begin adding olive oil, breading and other ingredients that drive the calorie content up.
If you are effectively losing weight you are most likely eating chicken breast consistently in two out of the five to six meals being consumed each day. The best way to prepare this meat and keep the calorie content low is to grill or bake the chicken breast. Olive oil can be used but, as with most foods when dieting, should be measured. A good rule of thumb is to use one tablespoon of olive oil for every 3.5 – 4.0 ounces of chicken breast.
Calories in Chicken Breast
Once you have determined how many calories in a chicken breast, you may want to examine the nutritional value of the meat more in depth to ensure your own nutritional needs are being met. Bodybuilders do some extreme dieting techniques when nearing competition by restricting carbohydrates and upping the protein count. This may not be what route you want to take when losing weight or entering a maintenance plan.
Combining a solid protein source with a good quality carbohydrate at every meal is always effective because the protein will actually help absorb the carbohydrate quicker with less being stored as fat.
Chicken Breast Preparation
We have already discussed that deep frying or pampering your chicken breast in batter and breading can cause the calories to rise. In order to keep the meat at 165 calories or less, it is important to prepare it naturally. Before weighing the meat, trim off all of the fat and remove the skin if needed. This will help keep the meat leaner and the calories from increasing. If the meat is frozen, defrost it and then trim the fat, as previously mentioned.
Add a few of your favorite seasonings, such as salt, pepper or Mrs. Dash with a dash of olive oil or fresh herbs and grill or bake the breast. In about twenty minutes, you will have a tasty source of protein that contains very few calories.
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