Chicken is one of the most popular meats and is the most popular white meat. Not only is it inexpensive, but chicken is quick and easy to prepare too. Meat is rich in protein and chicken is a great source of lean, low fat protein – perfect for muscle growth and development. Even among salad enthusiasts, chicken can be a great healthy supplement to any dish.
Chicken breast is one of the best protein foods with low calories. Protein can support healthy weight loss and because the meat contains little fat, studies have shown that regularly eating this meat in healthy dishes reduces weight.
When compared to other meats like beef, pork and lamb, chicken has very low saturated fat and cholesterol levels. This makes chicken a healthy heart food choice to help control blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of heart disease developing.
Chicken also has a number of rich vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, D & E. Vitamin A helps to promote good vision and clears the cornea, the outside covering on our eye balls. This reduces macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies have also shown that vitamin A helps to enhance our low light vision as it contains the important protein rhodopsin found in the pigments of our retina. Other vision related benefits include the presence of vitamin E which decreases the development of age-related cataracts.
The use of chicken in dishes can be diverse. Chicken breast or thighs are very common cooking ingredients. Warm chicken soup is also a very popular dish during winter seasons to relieve congestion or other symptoms from a flu or cold.
To avoid salmonella and other health hazards, always correctly prepare and store chicken before cooking. Raw chicken should always be stored in clean, sealed containers to avoid dripping on other produce when placed in the fridge or freezer.
Food preparation experts say to avoid washing raw chicken because any bacteria will be killed during cooking and washing it will likely splash contaminated water droplets on kitchen surfaces.
When cooking raw chicken, as with any raw meat produce, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling. This includes times when you touch other areas of the kitchen, such as situations where you grab another utensil or more cookware open the cupboard door or grab another cutting board.
Always use a separate chopping board for meat than fruit and vegetables to avoid contamination. Unlike other meats, chicken should always be well cooked and never be pink inside. The meaty juices should also be clear and not pink or red with hints of blood.
Leftover chicken stored in the fridge is still good for the next two to three days. Just make sure you evenly reheat the chicken, and if it smells oft, it probably is. If you freeze a chicken, do so right after purchasing and not after cooking.