The delicious truth about white meat, dark meat, and which is better for your heath.

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

What’s better for you: chicken breasts or thighs? If you have skin “on” the game, neither one’s a nutritional winner. Chicken skin is pure fat (the unhealthy saturated kind) and if you eat it, it doubles the calories. Keep in mind, both chicken breasts and thighs come in boneless, skinless options and both are healthy lean sources of protein. Let me help you bone-up on the facts. If you dare to compare: a 3-ounce roasted chicken breast (without skin or bone) has about 140 calories, 26 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fat; a 3- ounce roasted chicken thigh (without skin or bone) has about 152 calories, 21 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fat. And no bone means less time in the kitchen.  Boneless chicken cooks faster than its bone-in counterpart.

I prefer to use chicken thighs in many of my recipes, because the little bit of extra fat helps keep the chicken moist and juicy – even if you over cook it.  Plus, pound for pound, chicken thighs cost about half as much as breasts. But a good marinade, like those recommended by the American Institute for Cancer Research, can help tenderize chicken breasts and prevent them from drying out. Here are two of my family’s favorite chicken recipes: Grilled Pineapple Chicken Skewers, made with chicken breast tenders, and Lemon Chicken made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Both are super easy to make and they’re on my iTunes app Time To Eat Healthy – Homemade Meals In Minutes!


 Grilled Pineapple Chicken Skewers

Delicious chicken satay on skewers


Lemon Chicken

Fried lemon pepper chicken breast steak with a salad

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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