Is rotisserie chicken healthy?
Yes! Rotisserie chicken in itself is healthy for you. It has many nutritional benefits. Like other types of cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken is a better and healthier option compared to red meat. It is better than processed meats such as sausages and ham.
What makes the difference in whether rotisserie chicken will be a healthy option for you or not lies in its preparation. The preparation process of the chicken, the ingredients (seasoning and preservatives) used, packaging and storage conditions are all factors that determine whether your rotisserie chicken will be healthy or not.
Being known and consumed all over the world, chicken is full of protein and has a wide range of health benefits.
- It contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of our muscles.
- It is also very rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B, which is useful for preventing skin disorders, boosting immunity, and improving the nervous system.
- Vitamin D in chicken is good in calcium absorption and strengthening of the bones.
- Vitamin A helps in maintaining good vision and minerals such as iron are suitable for hemoglobin formation and eliminating anemia.
- Chicken also contains phosphorus; a mineral that helps tackle weakness, bone health, brain function, and metabolic issues.
The best chicken is organically bred, with minimal preservatives and cooked with fresh ingredients. Just like a regular chicken, you can only realize the health benefits of rotisserie chicken when it is prepared correctly with minimal preservatives, fresh ingredients and maximum standards of hygiene.
You can choose to make rotisserie chicken at home. Many stores, supermarket chains, and food outlets also sell rotisserie chicken, and it is a very convenient way to get food.
To ensure you get maximum nutritional benefits from your chicken, you should get the best chicken from the food outlets by considering certain factors when purchasing chicken.
Factors to consider when purchasing your rotisserie chicken:
Freshness. — It may be difficult to tell how long the rotisserie chicken has been stored in the supermarket display, but you should still take a closer look at the labels before purchasing your rotisserie chicken.
Take care to choose chicken that is fresh, preferably one that has been prepared a few hours or less before your intended purchase.
Make sure your chicken is hot as cold chicken, especially unrefrigerated ones can be a breeding ground for many bacteria like E. Coli.
If the chicken has not been appropriately labeled, with preparation and expiry dates, do not hesitate to ask. You can always check with the store manager to find out when they prepared the chicken and the display information. If your bird smells or looks slimy, you should not buy it.
Proper Cooking. — Find out whether the chicken has been cooked properly. Undercooked poultry and bird meats can be a source of many bacteria, such as Salmonella and you should never consume such.
Before purchasing, take a moment to inspect the chicken before you eat it. A good indicator is usually the color of the chicken; if it appears pinkish, then it has not been thoroughly cooked, while if it’s white, it has fully cooked.
Some nutritionists also advise checking whether the chicken is cooked by how you tear the meat from the bone. If you tear the chicken meat from the bone and it sounds like tearing flesh and has a raw texture, then it is undercooked.
You can return undercooked chicken to the store for a replacement. The chicken should not be over-cooked as well, as overcooking kills the nutritional content of the food. If the chicken appears greenish, it has probably been overcooked, and you should avoid it.
Ingredients. — Examine the ingredients used to prepare the chicken. When you purchase chicken made in a supermarket, you may never really know what goes into it.
Unlike chicken made at home, store made rotisserie chicken may be made with extra seasonings and spices. Some of which you may not fully know.
Some store-made chicken may have spices such as sodium phosphate, dextrin, thickenings, food starches, and complex sugars.
Besides, they may contain some preservatives, which are not healthy for you. Some of the most common starches are from ingredients with genetically modified wheat or corn.
For this reason, you may consider double-checking the prepared ingredients, especially if you suffer sensitivities from foods such as gluten or soy. Always purchase from outlets that correctly label the parts in their chicken products.
Chicken Breeding. — It may also help to finds out how the breeding conditions of the rotisserie chicken. Was the chicken farm-bred, or was it raised with antibiotics?
Generally, the healthier the chicken was raised, the healthier the cooked food will be for you. Finding out whether the chicken is organic or inorganic can help you decide whether to consume the chicken or not.
You may also be ethically inclined to consume chicken that is bred and raised inhumane conditions. Moreover, chicken that is raised with room to roam may taste much better than chicken that is not.
Scan for some minerals such as sodium. Many rotisserie chickens have some marinade, spice mix or flavors that are used to spice and flavor the chicken.
Seasoning. — The seasonings may make the rotisserie chicken taste and look good, however many of them are loaded with sodium. Considering that, you should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium in a day, you may consider checking the portion of sodium in the chicken before consuming.
Too much sodium in your food can increase your chances of getting a heart attack and many other cardiovascular diseases.
Packaging. — Another consideration to take into place is the packaging of the chicken. When the chicken is packed in plastic containers, it may not be ideal.
Hot food on plastic is not deemed ‘safe’ as some of the chemical contents in the plastic may be infused into the food, making it unwholesome and unhealthy.
As much as good grade plastic is perceived to be ‘safe,’ it may not be desirable to have hot chicken stored in a plastic casing. When you make your chicken at home, you should always consider using glassware or ceramic to store your food.
How to eat rotisserie chicken healthily.
Rotisserie in itself may not be the problem but rather how it is prepared is. Depending on how it is seasoned, the chicken may have incredibly high amounts of sodium.
As too much sodium in your food can be unhealthy, you can opt to purchase the unseasoned option. Many stores and food outlets are increasingly offering unsalted options of rotisserie chicken. It is a healthier alternative to regular rotisserie chicken.
You may also consider stripping off the skin of the rotisserie chicken before consuming it. The skin is known to contain many preservatives and seasoning, which is unhealthy.
It also contains plenty of fat; chicken skin (as much as it is tasty), is high in saturated fat. When you consume much of it, it can raise your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels which may increase your risks of getting a heart and other cardiovascular diseases.
Consider eating more of the chicken breast which has lesser fat content than other parts of the chicken.
To keep rotisserie chicken on the healthy side, remove any skin or visible fat before using it on any recipes.
One of the best ways of ensuring you get the healthiest rotisserie chicken it to prepare your rotisserie chicken at home.
You will be able to monitor the ingredients you use and the quantities you use. When making rotisserie chicken, you can also try out different recipes and varieties and use healthier alternatives when possible.
Additions. — You may also pair your rotisserie chicken with veggies such as dark leafy greens, to make it much healthier and nutritious.
Vegetables and grains such as spinach and collard greens, asparagus, and peas, are healthy options to consider adding to your rotisserie chicken to make your food healthier.
When you shred a rotisserie chicken, consider adding grains such as quinoa, sunflower seeds, fresh lemon, or mint onto your chicken to make it healthier.
Healthy Chicken Broth.
You can also use the bones of your rotisserie chicken to make some healthy broth or soup. For this recipe, you can boil your chicken bones with kales, curry, asparagus, and other veggies to make some healthy soup. Many tutorials can show you how to make the healthiest soups.
Eating healthy and nutritious food should not mean bland and boring food. When done right, rotisserie chicken will be one of the healthiest foods for you.
Rotisserie chicken can be a good option, especially on busy days when you do not have time to cook and you still need to eat.
Just make sure you are buying a good brand. Check for organic chicken, check the labels, read, and be curious.
Cleaner and more chemical-free brands have lesser ingredients, while natural and unhealthy options have more chemicals.
Make the best choice. Eat healthy rotisserie chicken.