The staple food and protein source of any bodybuilding diet is white meat, especially chicken. Eating a huge amount of chicken can present many challenges. It can take a lot of preparation, be expensive to purchase, and it can also present a health hazard if you are not careful enough with your preparation. There are some guidelines and ideas below to make this part of your diet fun, creative, and exciting.
The reason chicken is so important to a bodybuilder’s diet is because it is loaded with the protein you need to build your muscle mass. It also happens to be the most versatile meat you can buy. It is readily available and can be cooked several different ways, each offering a unique flavor.
Most health experts and professional trainers agree that boneless chicken breasts without the skin are the best cut. They contain the most protein with a minimal amount of fat; around four of these breasts daily will be your aim. So, you calculate that you will need around twenty chicken breasts per week, and head for the supermarket. As you start loading them into your cart, your heart is sinking because they just ate your food budget, and you have not been able to buy the other things you need.
So, you now have a huge bulk quantity of chicken, and you do not quite know what to do with it all. Well, you need to divide it into the sort of portions you can cook at one time and then freeze them. To reduce the risk of freezer burn, try to reduce the exposure your meat gets to air. Leave your box sealed until you are ready for action and you can almost eliminate the amount of meat that becomes spoiled. Here is an important note: Under no circumstances defrost the chicken and then refreeze it. If you find you have too much, thaw it all, cook some, and leave the remainder in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.
Now we have that out of the way, let’s think for a moment about food poisoning. The type of bacterium commonly associated with chicken is Salmonella. Chicken and pork are the main carriers of Salmonella. If they are handled in a careless way, bacteria can spread from your hands, to your utensils, and all over the rest of your kitchen. To further minimize the risk, you need to cook your chicken at the recommended heat for the designated time to kill the bacteria that may be lying on the skin. Always wash your hands after handling any kind of meat to prevent contamination.
There are three main ways you can cook poultry; grilling, broiling, and boiling. You are aiming to maximize the healthy properties of the meat, but also to create something palatable. Some of the methods you can potentially use to cook the chicken are far less beneficial than others. You need to ensure that you are not loading your healthy chicken with additional fat and carbohydrates.
The best way to protect the amino acids and hormones that are naturally found in the chicken is to boil the breast in water (poaching). The skin is not branded, scored, or damaged this way, which allows the natural properties of the meat to remain intact. You have the option to add herbs and spices, but natural unaltered chicken is the best. Always choose pure as your first option. Boiled chicken can be bland and flavorless which may not appeal to you – so why not try broiling instead?
Broiling uses using high temperatures in your oven, and basting, rubbing, and seasoning your meat at regular intervals. This is a time-consuming activity, so you might want to consider broiling several portions at one time, depending on how much your cookware can accommodate. The result of broiling will be a much stronger tasting, flavor-filled chicken breast! The flavor is a result of the heat, which extract the natural flavors of the meat and seasoning. What you are essentially doing, is infusing the entire chicken with the flavors you have chosen to add. The downside to this is that you might be inadvertently adding carbohydrates and fats to your meal. Always take note of the calorie content of any sauces you add.
Your last option for cooking your chicken is grilling. There is an awful number of sauces available for grilled chicken, but again, you need to carefully monitor the calories you are adding to your diet. Grilling might change the amino acid content of the chicken slightly, but it will also burn off the undesirable fats and oils. Grilling is probably the best option for the maximum flavor.
Whichever way you cook your chicken, it will provide you with an excellent source of protein which will increase your muscle mass (when accompanied by exercise), and assist you in achieving your bodybuilding goals. Be creative when you cook, and you will be more inclined to stick to your diet. Nobody wants to eat bland, flavorless food every day, so find a way you can enjoy what you eat.
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