On its own, chicken is considered to be a healthy source of lean protein, especially skinless breasts; however, the marinade that you use can make it bad for your waistline, heart, and overall health. To choose the best healthy chicken marinade, look for a product or recipe that includes all-natural ingredients. It can also be helpful to pay attention to the salt and sugar content, whether you are making a homemade marinade or purchasing one. Picking a seasoning that uses heart-healthy oils is also important when choosing a marinade.
Many nutritionists and doctors recommend eating natural foods and avoiding anything with chemicals or additives. When choosing a healthy chicken marinade, this can be somewhat difficult. Generally, it is best to avoid any store-bought marinades that have a list of ingredients you cannot pronounce, or that you cannot find in other parts of the store. If you plan to make your healthy chicken marinade at home, look for recipes that contain natural ingredients such as vinegar, citrus juice, and spices.
Copious amounts of salt can ruin an otherwise healthy chicken marinade. If you plan to use a store-bought product, it is generally best to choose something with no added salt, and then add some at home. When making a homemade marinade, having a basic understanding of what ingredients naturally contain salt can help you to make a healthy chicken marinade. In general, if you use soy sauce in the dish, additional salt is not necessary. A citrus-based marinade also typically requires less salt than other varieties, as acids hit the same points on your tongue as salt; in most cases, a small pinch of natural sea or kosher salt is all that these types of marinades require.
Excessive sugar can also make a marinade unhealthy. When choosing a healthy chicken marinade, look for store-bought products that contain less than 5% of your daily amount of sugar per serving; this information can be found on the nutrition label. It can also be helpful to look for products that utilize natural sweeteners other than refined white sugar. Marinades with natural fruit juices, honey, or raw organic sugar will typically be healthier for you than those with refined sugar. Choosing homemade recipes that also utilize these types of sweeteners, rather than table sugar, is also a good way to choose a healthy chicken marinade.
Most marinades contain oil, as it can add flavor, aid in the cooking process, and act as a binding agent for the other ingredients in the marinade. Despite this, not all oils are created equally. To choose the best healthy chicken marinade, look for products or recipes that contain olive oil or canola oil, although sunflower and avocado oil are also healthy options. In most cases, it is best to avoid products or recipes that contain or call for corn or soybean oil, any type of shortening, or blended oils. These tend to be high in unhealthy fats, and are often less flavorful than their healthier counterparts.