Anyone in the fitness industry knows that a high-protein diet is the key to building muscle mass. But with so many sources of protein to choose from, which is the optimal high-protein source to incorporate into a bodybuilding diet?
Fitness gurus around the world swear by chicken breast as the ideal source of lean-protein, and it’s no wonder why. The protein-packed, white-meat contains loads of nutrients, is easy to digest, and is versatile enough to be cooked in an endless variety of ways. Chicken breasts can easily be incorporated into your everyday diet and fitness routine to help you achieve your fitness goals. If you would like to learn more about fitness and diet, take a look at Lafitness Reviews which offers the opportunity train at many fitness centers.
Nutritional Value of Chicken Breasts
In case you were wondering, the breast is the optimal part of the chicken to consume simply because it contains a much higher protein to fat ratio (19:1) than any other part of the animal. A medium sized chicken breast packs in a whopping 50 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and zero carbs. Chicken breast contains a plethora of healthy muscle-building nutrients including selenium, zinc, niacin, and iron.
Why Organic is Always Better
Nowadays, most chicken breasts sold at supermarkets come from chickens who were raised in overpacked factory farms. Factory farm chickens are force fed, injected with antibiotics, hormones, and water to bulk them up quickly, and hence, are not as healthy. Because they are raised so inorganically, this affects their nutritional value, as they tend to contain less protein, more fat, and more water as well as chemicals from the hormone and antibiotic injections. For this reason, it is highly recommended to buy organic chicken breasts from cage free, pasture raised chickens. Organic chicken breasts can be found in the organic freezer sections of most large grocery stores.
How Many Grams of Protein To Eat Per Day To Build Muscle Mass
Nutritional experts suggest eating 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. So, a 150-pound person should be consuming around 56 grams of protein per day, or one chicken breast. However, for those looking to build muscle mass, that percentage becomes much higher. Fitness connoisseurs suggest that enough protein to build muscle is at least 35% of the daily caloric intake to be protein. So someone who eats 2000 calories per day diet should aim to consume 125 grams of protein per day to see true muscle building progress, or approximately 2.5 chicken breasts per day.
Versatile and Nutritious
Eating chicken breast daily for muscle building doesn’t have to become a repetitive routine. There are thousands of ways to prepare chicken breast so that it doesn’t need to be boring or bland. In fact, “chicken breast recipes” is one of the most searched keyword phrases on google, so there is no shortage of recipes to prepare this lean-meat wonder.
What to do and what not to do when preparing chicken breast
Since chicken breast is naturally so low in fat, it can easily become too dry throughout the cooking process if it is not carefully tended to. Some tips for keeping chicken breasts moist and tender are to rub the breasts with a bit of olive oil before cooking to help retain moisture, marinating it for a couple hours before cooking it, only cooking for a short period of time at a high temperature, and never overcooking them. One of the most crucial precautions for avoiding dry chicken is to let it rest for at least 10-12 minutes after it is finished cooking before serving, this is to allow the juices to settle. If chicken is cut into too quickly after being cooked then all the juices will drain out and leave a dry chicken breast. Any chicken breast, no matter how it’s prepared, should be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit, when it reaches this temperature it is finished, it should not be cooked longer.
One of the easiest, healthiest, and most popular ways to prepare chicken breast is to simply bake them or saute them until the texture is tender. When baking chicken breast in the oven, it’s important to be extra careful and take precautions to make sure that the chicken doesn’t get dry. Always baste the raw chicken breasts in a bit of oil before popping them into the oven.
Simple Chicken Breast Recipe Ideas
There are endless ways to integrate chicken breasts into your everyday diet. Here are some easy chicken breast recipe ideas:
- Bake a chicken breast, cut into small pieces, and top a salad with it
- Stuff a chicken breast with cheese and vegetables and pop it into the oven
- Marinate chicken breasts in your favorite sauces and throw them on the grill
- Slow cook chicken breasts, shred the meat, and make chicken tacos
- Flash fry chicken breasts and serve with vegetables on the side
- Cut leftover chicken breasts into cubes and mix with mayonnaise, onion, celery, lemon, pepper, and salt to make chicken salad
- Saute chicken breasts in a variety of different ways over medium heat in a saucepan with any vegetables and sauce of your choice
- Bake chicken breasts wrapped in bacon and serve with sweet potatoes and greens
- For an easy, quick dinner throw chicken breasts into a baking dish with carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic cloves and roast in the oven until tender
- Cut chicken breasts into strips, dip into an egg wash, and dip in almond flour, then saute until brown for a gluten-free take on chicken tenders
- Keep some pre-baked chicken breasts in the refrigerator to use for lunches throughout the week. The refrigerated chicken breasts can be easily reheated or eaten cold in salads or wraps
Best Flavor Pairings
One of the most advantageous characteristics of chicken breasts is that the taste of chicken on its own can be quite bland so it can be easily flavored and spiced a multitude of ways according to what you’re in the mood for. Some popular toppings, sauces, spices, and marinades for chicken breasts consist of:
- Classic barbeque sauce (marinade)
- A white alfredo sauce (sauce)
- Lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper (marinade, spices)
- Coconut milk and curry (sauce, spices)
- Lemon and butter (topping, marinade)
- Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, tomatoes (toppings)
- Buffalo sauce
- Ranch sauce
- Sweet and sour sauce
- Garlic and butter
- A homemade maple-mustard sauce (marinade made from curry powder, maple syrup, cayenne, and spicy mustard)
- A creamy mushroom sauce
- Simple olive oil, salt, and pepper
Chicken breasts can be cooked and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. In the freezer, cooked chicken breasts can be stored for up to 6 months.
See real results
Incorporating chicken breasts into your everyday diet is an easy way to ensure that at least 35% of your daily caloric intake is protein. This, combined with a muscle-building fitness routine and consistency, guarantees results in just a few weeks.