What are the basic nutrition facts of chicken breast?
At a glance, skinless chicken breast is a good source of protein and is low in fat, making it a great choice as a lean protein.
It is a quite neutral in flavour compared to other proteins. This makes it popular in many cuisines, from Chinese Kung Pao chicken to Southern fried chicken, Spanish Arroz con Pollo to Indian chicken briyani.
Understanding the nutrition facts of chicken breast can also shed light on its uses for weight loss, muscle gain, and other health issues. I’ll also discuss how to cook and store chicken breast.
Chicken breast is high in protein
A 100g serving of raw, skinless, chicken breast contains:
- Calories: 120 kcal
- Protein: 22.5g
- Fat: 2.6g
- Carbohydrates: 0g
This nutrition information is based on plain chicken breast, without the inclusion of other ingredients. If you prepare it added oil, sugar, or sauce, the overall calorie content of chicken breast will be increased.
Chicken breast for weight loss
As chicken breast is high in protein, it can support you on your weight loss journey.
This is because protein has a satiety effect on your body. Consuming adequate protein with a meal helps to contribute to the feeling of fullness after eating.
If you’re trying to lose weight, this helps to prevent the sensation of hunger soon after a meal, which reduces the urge to snack in between meals. As snacks tend to be energy-dense, this translates to a lower daily calorie intake, which facilitates weight loss.
When coupled with resistance exercise during weight loss, sufficient protein also ensures you retain lean muscle mass. This is important as the amount of muscle in your body influences your metabolic rate. Maintaining muscle mass during weight loss prevents a decrease in your metabolism as you lose weight.
As chicken breast does still contain calories, be wary not to eat more than your daily requirements for protein.
Also, the way your chicken breast is prepared can add calories to it. Avoid deep frying chicken breast, or coating it in batter, bread crumbs, or sweet marinades. Instead, flavour it with herbs, spices, salt, and pepper to keep additional calories to a minimum.
Chicken breast and muscle gain
The fact that chicken breast is a good protein source means it can help support muscle growth with the right nutrition and exercise plan.
This is relevant whether you’re hitting the gym to bulk up, or trying to reduce muscle losses that come with old age.
If you’re doing resistance exercise, consuming the right amount of protein helps to stimulate muscle growth. This may be in the form of chicken breast.
Don’t forget to have carbohydrates with your post-work out recovery too. This is because consuming carbohydrates lead to insulin production, which stimulates muscle protein synthesis.
Want to optimise your muscle gains? Check out my article here about protein amount and distribution.
If you’re looking for a personalised nutrition plan to go with your exercise regime, feel free to drop me a message!
Chicken breast, blood vessels, and heart health
As chicken breast is low in fat, it is also considerably low in saturated fats compared to red meats or other cuts of chicken.
Saturated fats increase total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, which can plaque build-up in your arteries. Over time, this may result in blockages in your arteries, which can cause heart disease and stroke. Choosing lean protein such as chicken breast reduces this risk.
Ways to cook and store chicken breast
The best way to cook chicken breast and fully enjoy its low-fat profile is to use low-fat cooking methods.
This includes grilling, roasting, poaching, steaming, or boiling. If you decide to stir-fry, sauté, or pan-fry it, using a non-stick pan can help reduce the amount of oil you need when cooking.
Chicken breast may also be shredded in advance to be used in sandwiches anytime. Cooked chicken breast can be kept in the fridge at <4°C for 3-4 days, or the freezer at <-18°C for 2-6 months.
This can be a huge time-saver on busy days.
How to incorporate chicken breast into your diet
As I mentioned earlier, chicken is a very versatile protein that is used in many cuisines. If a recipe calls for other cuts of chicken, or other varieties of protein, feel free to substitute it with chicken breast!
Here are some of my favourite ways to cook chicken breast:
- Slice it into thin strips to use in stir-fry (great flavour combinations include ginger + soy, cumin + pepper, honey + lime, and garlic + chilli)
- Cut it into cubes for use in curry (Indian, Thai, Malay, or Japanese curry…take your pick!)
- Roast it whole, shred it, and use it in sandwiches, wraps, tacos, pasta, fried noodles, fried rice, or congee
- Bake it in aluminium foil with lemon slices and your favourite herbs
There are also tonnes of recipes online that you can browse through for ideas on how to prepare chicken breast!
In this article I presented to you the nutrition facts of chicken breast.
However, there are many great sources of protein out there that offer other nutrients for health. Chicken breast is just one option amongst many! Do make sure to switch amongst other protein sources in your daily diet to reap the benefits of each.