When dinner time comes around, you may always find yourself struggling to decide what to eat. You want something that tastes good (of course) but you also need something that is easy, different from your standard, everyday fare and also low carb. You’re low carb diet certainly throws a wrench into any meal planning! However, it is definitely worth it to reach your dietary goals and live a healthier lifestyle in general.
So, back to our low carb dreams, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a food that you could prepare whenever you are in a rush, that is always low carb and has endless possibilities when it comes to meal prep? Wouldn’t it just be great if such a magical food existed? Well, guess what- it does! And that amazing food is….chicken!
That’s right, “boring” old, standard chicken is the food that you need to have on hand at all times. It checks off all of the boxes that you are looking for and more! And, if you are considering going out and buying some chicken right now, know that chicken also freezes very well. SO grab a bunch of types of chicken, pop the, in the freezer and pull them out anytime you’d like! You really can have chicken on hand ready to go whenever you need! Back to the benefits of chicken though (before you go buy several pounds and stock your freezer for the months ahead), let’s take a look at the wonderful side of chicken that you may have never known existed.
To begin, chicken is a very low carb food. In fact, chicken has practically no carbs at all which means it is ideal for your low carb diet. Besides that, chicken is not only naturally low in carbohydrates (carbs), but it is also high in protein. Protein is essential to your health and also very necessary especially when you are on a low carb diet. Protein is what your body uses to help build and repair your bodily tissues. YOur system also uses protein to balance hormones, make necessary enzymes, repair muscles and skin and also, as many are most familiar with, protein is the building blocks for bones. As you can see, protein is something you just can’t live without!
Top 50 Chicken Recipes, Low Carb Style
When you reduce your intake of one food group, the overall importance of others rises. That means when you reduce your carb intake, your body will look for something else to use in order to complete the tasks that carbs use to do. If you say bye to carbs, you need to say hello to more protein. Luckily, chicken helps you cover this ground for sure!
Chicken itself also has many other nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy besides protein. In fact, it is considered to be one of the healthiest meat options out there! To begin, chicken is full of vitamins such as B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin D. It also has a good amount of essential minerals like iron and phosphorous, two things that are important to a number of things in your body such as helping build bones and maintaining cell structure (you may not necessarily be thinking about things like this often but it is important!).
Another interesting thing that chicken can do for you is act as an antidepressant. That’s right, chicken can cheer you up! Who knew?! Since chicken is an excellent source of the amino acid called tryptophan, it can relax you and increase your serotonin levels to make you feel happy. Every wonder why chicken is considered a comfort food? Well, this is why! It literally can make you feel comfortable after you eat!
Besides the wide array of possibilities cooking chicken has, and it being a good choice for a low carb diet because it is a very high quality protein and it contains the eight essential amino acids a body needs for health. In fact, not many foods can say that they contain all eight amino acids. Two or three, sure. Five or six amino acids? Getting better. All eight in one place? Now that can be hard to find which is why chicken is a true gem!
Eating chicken has also proven to help fight diseases in the body. Since the meat has high levels of selenium (an antioxidant which is thought to have degenerative effects on many diseases), you can eat it knowing that it is helping fight free radicals in your body. Pretty powerful for a “basic” food, don’t you think!
You may have heard many debates about how eating white meats are better for you than red meats especially when it comes to your heart health. These comments are not to be passed over as they are very true. White meat chicken can help regulate and control your cholesterol levels and aid you in your quest for a healthy heart. This is not a claim that any red meats can make. So, if you are concerned about cholesterol (which we all should be!) chicken is the way to go.
One more fun fact you low carb lovers should know when you learn about chicken. Chicken actually takes any carbohydrates in your body and converts them to energy. So, if you happen to have had a lot of carbs one day, follow it with some tasty chicken and you can rest assured that those carbs will be burned off! Geeze, chicken, thanks for helping out with the low carb diet!
As you can see, eating chicken can be so good for you. It contributes to your overall health in so many ways and it is still low carb! So, you know what that means- you should definitely incorporate into your diet in any way possible. So how do you go about doing that? Oh, we can help you there for sure!
Luckily, heart healthy chicken is a great centerpiece to any meal and since it can be prepared in so many ways, the menu options are endless! What exactly makes chicken so versatile? Well, while chicken does have a great, subtle flavor, it is relatively neutral which mean that you can liven it up in so many ways. Think about it, have you ever had plain chicken? CHicken that was just simply steamed, boiled or just bakes on a sheet pan? It doesn’t have much flavor does it. If this is the only kind of chicken you have ever had, you may not be a very big fan of the meat. And who would be? It really isn’t that delicious when it isn’t being paired with other foods or livened up with spices. Plain chicken? No thank you (even though it is low carb….). There has to be a better way to make chicken, right? Afterall, it is one of the most popular meats in the world (if not the most widely found). Well, guess what? Chicken isn’t boring, it is amazing and all you need is the know how to make chicken great.
So what is the best way to make chicken that actually tastes good so that you can take advantage of all the health benefits and begin making amazing meals? To start, you should definitely consider simple spices. What is great is that pretty much any spice you reach for is going to go great on chicken. From Mexican spices to Italian mixes like garlic and basil, a simple spritz of lemon to a coating of spicy chocolate, anything will do! It is incredible how many spice options are out there! You can make a simple chicken breast into an Asian fusion dish or it can be a rich French meal. It is hard to believe that such a versatile food is so good for us and actually fits into your diet.
Also, in case you didn’t already know, almost all spies are also low carb so sprinkling them on isn’t going to affect the nutritional content of your food. Of course, spices do have some nutrients so if you are following other diets besides just low carb, you may need to be a little more wary of what you grab (some spice mixes are high in sodium which you might want to watch for). However, as a general rule, feel free to spice it up anyway you please!
Once you have decided on the type of cuisine you want to make with your chicken and how you want to liven up the standard flavor, it is time to decide what to pair with your chicken. The recipes here will give you such a wider range of side dishes that will complement your chicken and you will probably find more ideas than you can ever make! Again, this is thanks to chickens versatility and ability to take on any flavors that you pair it with.
A great low carb side dish for any chicken is to opt for veggies. Vegetables can also be prepared in hundreds of different ways which means that you can use the same spices on the vegetables as on the chicken, making a whole cohesive meal. From vegetables like a simple steamed broccoli to go with your italian chicken breast or perhaps a ratatouille vegetable mix that can be the side dish for your lemon chicken thighs- the options are once again endless! This low carb chicken is actually starting to sound a little complicated…where to begin! Too many choices! Is that even possible?!
Some side dishes that you may typically see with chicken like pasta or rice will, of course, be off the table but you can easily substitute them for something even better. There are low carb pastas available in the stores (black bean pasta and edamame pasta both bring interesting flavors that go well with chicken) but why not think outside of the box and look for something new and exciting?
With things like paleo bread stuffings, parmesan zucchini fritters, cauliflower rice and butter fried cabbage, you are going to try some interesting sides when you pick one of these low carb chicken recipes. In fact, you may find yourself cooking up these sides even when you’re not having chicken. But, for the sake of sticking to our chicken theme, know that each of these sides (and so many more) are amazing when made with chicken to cook up a complete meal. Now you have your veggies, your chicken and your extra sides- all low carb and all delicious! See, living a low-carb lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring at all.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself that all of this sounds good but it seems like a lot of cooking time. Not all of us have hours and hours to spend cooking and even if you have the time, sometimes you just want to eat as soon as possible! Is it possible to cook healthy chicken meals within time constraints? Absolutely!
Yes, some of these recipes do take a little bit of time to cook but you can save those dishes for special occasions or weekend meals when you have a little extra time to spend in the kitchen. For the times that you need a meal in a hurry, there are plenty of recipes and interesting new chicken dishes that you can try that will excited you and keep to your low carb goals. Let’s recap now- healthy, low carb and interesting- are you starting to be a chicken believer yet? We’re telling you, chicken is almost too good to be true!
In fact, with a quality chicken breast at hand, your diet will be anything but boring! You may even have a hard time picking which recipes to try first.
Chicken is not just a one part food. There is the chicken breast, the thighs, drumsticks, wings and many other smaller parts to a chicken that you may never ever have heard of! So, now it is time to really think about and assess the chicken to make sure you are eating the healthiest parts possible. All the parts of the chicken are low carb but not all are as nutritious as the others. While the white meat of the breast has less fat than the dark meat of thighs and legs, the protein is the same. The nutrient levels are also all the same throughout the chicken, no matter what part you choose. It really comes down to fat levels and that is it! See, that wasn’t so hard to figure out!
All in all, this means that either the white meat or the dark meat is a good option for your low carb diet. It just comes down to your tastes and what your recipe calls for. Of course, if you are also trying to follow a low fat diet, opt for the white meat but, overall, just pick which you like better! Isn’t that nice?
In general, the white meat is also a little more neutral in flavor which is why so many people prefer this cut. White meat can be jazzed up in many ways and the white meat sections, like the chicken breast, also tend to be thicker and meatier options. The dark meat portions of the chicken sometimes require a little more work, have a few more bones and take longer to cook. However, don’t shy away from that dark meat though! It is where a lot of the taste is hiding. After all, don’t you want more flavor when eating low carb? Isn’t more flavor a good thing?
So now that you are a chicken expert, get ready to take a look at some amazing recipes and chicken cooking options. You really are going to be pleasantly surprised. And now you really know how good chicken actually is for you so you will feel even better about eating all of these meals. Heart healthy, flavorful and, once again, low carb- you just can’t go wrong!
All in all, choosing chicken as part of a low carb diet will help you meet your health goals. It will give you the protein that you need for the day and it will also give you some nutrients your body needs such as the eight amino acids. Of course, and maybe most importantly, chicken will give you a whole lot of meal options. So no matter what you are craving, whether is be Mexican foods, thai cuisines or just a quick, light, lemony lunch, there is a chicken dish to satisfy what you need. You will never get bored with so many chicken possibilities!
1. Paleo Chinese Chicken Salad
Perfect for hot summer nights when you don’t want to actually turn on the oven, this low-carb chicken salad is full of flavor and spice. Simply made with an already cooked rotisserie chicken, there is little actual cooking you need to do! This recipe also has a carrot and cabbage base that is accented with flavors of the Orient. Best of all, the dressing really packs a punch. Among other ingredients, spicy chili oil added to sriracha sauce gives this highly seasoned dressing a bang that is a delight to your senses.
Related: Best paleo diet recipes
2. Chicken And Peppers In White Sauce
Full of nutrients, the colorful peppers in this low-carb chicken recipe are pleasing to the eye as well as the palette. The sweet red peppers mixed with the more tangy green bell peppers and onions really shine through among the chicken and mild, but flavorful white sauce of this colorful and savory dish. You’re going to want to take a picture of this masterpiece before you bite in! Tender pasta compliments and rounds out this one dish meal that is simple to make yet delicious and satisfying.
3. Super Easy Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Traditional Korean barbeque sauce adds loads of flavor to the sliced chicken breast in this healthy version of a wrap. Chicken marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and sesame oil becomes so tasty after a quick pan sauté that it will leave you looking for more. Add some sesame seeds, veggies, and an extra drizzle of the marinade to the lettuce leaf, and you will have a perfectly simple, easy week night dinner to add to your low-carb diet. Wrap everything up in the lettuce for a tasty dish perfect for when you’re on the go.
4. Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole
Those who like a spicy meal should get really excited about this Jalapeño chicken popper dish. Jalapeño peppers and red hot Buffalo sauce add a jump kick to the virtually no carb chicken thighs. Plus, the rich and delicious combination of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese spread over the chicken gives the mouth a jubilant flavor blast in every bite. Three cheese for the win! But, of course, the bacon is the piece-de-resistance because, let’s face it, everything tastes better with a mouthful of bacon.
Related: Best low carb Mexican recipes
5. Blackened Chicken With Roasted Garlic Alfredo
Cajun meets Italian in this quick, easy to prepare week night chicken dinner. The chicken is simply prepared by coating it with Cajun seasoning before putting it in the oven to bake. Served on top of bow-tie pasta that has been combined with garlic roasted alfredo sauce and then sprinkled with extra Parmesan cheese, this is one of those low-carb chicken recipes that couples two paradoxical flavors in a one delectable dinner dish. You’re going to have to taste this one to become a true believer in this blend.
6. 5 Min Spicy Asian Chicken Salad Paleo Friendly
Grab a pair of chopsticks and get ready to eat because this Asian chicken salad will be ready in only five minutes. Featuring shredded kale, cabbage, and carrots as the main base, a store-cooked rotisserie chicken adds a healthy serving of protein to this meal. The Asian flair comes from the “dressing” that is just tossed in with the vegetables. This carb free chicken salad is also gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, Paleo friendly, but full of nutrients and lots of delicious, Oriental flavor. You will shock yourself by how perfect this dish comes out- just like from a restaurant!
7. Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
Outdoor grilling is iconic with summertime, and this Southwestern classic is the perfect choice for a tasty meal. Pounding the chicken to an even thickness and marinating it for at least 30 minutes in a combination of lime juice and other ingredients assures that the chicken will remain juicy throughout the grilling. While lime is the predominant flavor, the parsley-like flavor of the cilantro is the ideal complement. This low-carb chicken pairs perfectly with a green salad or other vegetables. This is a dish you definitely need at your next cookout- no need to tell anyone that it is low carb!
8. Chicken And Broccoli Stir
Forget calling for Chinese food take-out, and stir fry up a batch of this restaurant style Chicken and Broccoli. This beautifully flavored, low calorie chicken dish is reminiscent of a restaurant meal without all the calories. However, you don’t need a culinary degree to whip this dish up. Tender white meat chicken is cut into manageable pieces and quickly stir fried until brown and lightly crispy on the outside. Fresh broccoli is steamed until tender crisp and added to the chicken and the simple, but delicious sauce. This is a one pan meal you will want to make frequently.
9. Skinny Bruschetta Chicken
Versatile Skinny Bruschetta Chicken can be grilled, baked, or pan fried to suit your needs and tastes at the moment. That is because the main attraction of this meal is really the colorful and appetizing bruschetta topping. This perfect accompaniment to the chicken comes from your garden’s bounties. Diced tomatoes, fresh basil, red onion, and garlic combine with virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to achieve a burst of flavor that makes this summer meal one of the tastiest low-carb foods around. Serve this as a dinner or as an appetizer- no matter what it’ll be perfect.
10. Coconut Chicken Thai Curry
When you are searching for an exotic low-carb chicken recipe, look no further than Coconut Chicken Thai Curry. Even though the flavors may seem exotic, you will find that you can create this meal in under 30 minutes. Full of healthy vegetables such as red bell peppers, zucchini squash, and green onions this meal consists of a variety of textures and colors to whet your appetite. Coconut milk and red curry paste are the keys that meld the flavors of the chicken and vegetables into a sumptuous curry meal.