If you’re trying to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy diet, then eating chicken can be a great option. It’s a brilliant source of food but exactly how many calories are in chicken?
It’s an important question and here we’ll give you all the info you need. We’ll not only see the number of calories in chicken but also see how it compares to other meat and how to incorporate it into your diet. Let’s get started!
How Many Calories in Chicken?
Detailing the exact number of calories in a chicken breast can be difficult. It will change slightly from one chicken to the next but there are some fairly accurate figures we can give from the US Department of Agriculture.
It’s important to note that these figures don’t include any extra calories that you may use during cooking, such as adding oil. They are also without the skin being eaten.
|1 small breast (105g)||169|
|1 medium breast (120g)||193|
|1 large breast (135g)||217|
|1 thin slice (30g)||48.3|
|1 thick slice (85g)||137|
Those figures are for the calories in a chicken breast, which contains very little fat. Other parts of a chicken can have a higher calorie content. 100g of chicken thighs is 177 calories, and 100g of chicken wings is 203g.
As we mentioned, those figures were without chicken skin. The skin of a chicken is incredibly calorific at 450 calories per 100g and should be avoided for low-calorie meals.
Therefore, we can come to a few conclusions if you are looking to eat low-calorie chicken. Firstly, you should always make sure it’s chicken breast that you’re eating and don’t eat any skin along with it. If you do that, then you can always be confident to know that you’ll be keeping your calories to a minimum.
Is Chicken Low-Calorie Food?
Yes, chicken is low in calories but its importance as a low-calorie food goes beyond just the basic numbers. Chicken can be made in an incredible variety of dishes, which makes it a highly versatile ingredient and easy to use.
It can also be easily cooked with a low-calorie method, such as being grilled. Added to this, chicken can be easily seasoned with the likes of paprika, black pepper, or lemon juice, which only add minimal calories, if any.
As with any meat, the calorie content can depend on how it’s cooked and what other ingredients are used. For example, fried chicken is going to be much higher in calories than grilled chicken.
So while chicken is a low-calorie food on its own, you need to consider other factors when it comes to the overall calorie content of your meal or snack.
Chicken Calories vs. Other Meat
How does chicken compare to other types of meat? We thought we’d make a comparison so you can make more informed choices for your health plan.
|Meat||Calories per 100g|
|Most White Fish (Cod, Haddock, Tilapia, etc.)||Approx. 110|
There are a few important notes to make about that table. Here we’ve taken a standard serving of this food, including the fat content it usually has. Some meats, such as pork, can have wildly different calories depending on how they are prepared.
A pork tenderloin that has very little fat may be as low as 143 calories per 100g. In contrast, ground pork which is 72% lean can have a calorie content of 393 calories per 100g, as it’s very high in fat.
You can generally break these meats down into lean meat vs fatty meat. Lean meat is when it has a low fat and high protein content. This is always found in chicken, as the breast usually contains very little fat. A chicken breast will usually be over 96% meat, and it’s a similar story with turkey.
Red meat is annoyingly a little more complicated. Cuts of these meats can vary hugely in terms of their fat content. A low-fat cut of beef would be seen as lean meat, but the likes of a rib-eye steak wouldn’t be.
This is a part of the reason why chicken is seen as such a brilliant option for healthy diets, it’s simple. You don’t need to worry about the type of cut or how lean the meat is.
The only meat that beats chicken as the healthiest meat is fish. It’s an incredible source of protein which even manages to be leaner than chicken! Adding fish to your diet is always a good idea but as always, you just need to make sure it’s cooked via a low-calorie method.
There are only a few disadvantages to fish. Firstly, many people would admit to preferring the taste of chicken to any meat. Secondly, it can’t be made in the same variety of fish as it tends to break apart when compared to other meats. Finally, as we discuss next, it’s much more expensive.
Chicken vs. Other Meats – Cost
Another great positive of chicken is that it’s cheap! You’ll be able to get a packet of chicken breasts for much less than other meats.
The main reason for this is the low cost of keeping and raising chickens. As you can probably imagine, this is much cheaper than the likes of raising a cow or heading out on a boat to catch fish. It all adds up the more money in your pocket.
Taking a look at supermarket costs, you can see that chicken is usually at least half as expensive as red meats. And given the reason sharp rise in fish prices, it’s now often around three times cheaper than common white fish.
It’s another tick in the box of chicken. Not only is it great for you, but you don’t need to worry about being able to afford it.
Chicken vs Other Meats – Final Verdict
Is chicken the best meat for a low-calorie diet? It depends on your circumstances but we’d say yes. Chicken is cheap, simple, can be combined easily with other low-quality ingredients, and can easily be cooked via low-calorie methods.
If you have the time and budget, then adding fish and lean red meat to your diet is also a great idea. Taking all of the factors above into account, chicken would have to be considered the best low-calorie meat.
Incorporating Chicken into a Healthy Diet
Looking to add more chicken to your diet? Here’s some great advice:
- Choose lean cuts – Chicken generally has very little fat but certain parts are fattier than others. Always opt for a chicken breast if you can and ensure that it has no skin. If there is any visible skin on there, remove this before cooking.
- Consider portion sizes – It’s an obvious point, but the more chicken you eat, the more calories you can consume. It’s important to know what your end goal is. For example, if you want to lose weight then adding more calories than required isn’t a good idea.
If you just want a healthy diet, then adding that extra portion of lean chicken can be a good idea to make you fuller with low-calorie food. Additionally, if you want to build lean muscle, consuming more chicken can help.
- Bake or grill – You can never forget about the calories you are adding to food when you cook it. For example, frying chicken in oil will considerably add to the calorie content. Other methods, such as baking or grilling, add almost no extra calories.
However, air frying has become a popular way to get tasty food by using much less oil. Also, we now have a range of low-calorie sprays and oils that are much better than traditional frying.
- Add low-calorie flavor – One of the fantastic aspects of chicken is that it’s very easy to add low-calorie flavor to it. Simple ingredients which as garlic, ginger, and thyme (along with many others) can make your chicken delicious without adding calories.
- Use healthy sides – There is little point in having grilled chicken next to fries and a full-fat Coke if you want a healthy meal. There are many great healthy sides you can add to chicken, such as salad and roasted vegetables.
- Mix up your meals – Having grilled chicken and vegetables every day will quickly become boring. Make sure to not only switch up your herbs and spices but also the meals you make.
- Meal prep – Batch-cooking chicken can be a great way to save time and allow you to stick to your diet. Sometimes we’re too tired to cook but having pre-prepared chicken is perfect for throwing into salads and sandwiches.
How Many Calories in Chicken – FAQS
1. How many calories are in each piece of chicken?
It depends on how big your pieces are! A thin slice of chicken is likely to have fewer than 50 calories. A medium-sized chicken breast has just under 200 calories. Unless it has been fried or covered in sauce, you can always be confident that any piece of chicken will be low in calories.
2. How many calories are in 200g of chicken breast?
Depending on how it was prepared, you can expect a little over 300 calories from 200g of chicken breast. The equivalent calories in 200g of ground beef would likely be over 500, which shows the calorie savings you get from chicken.
A similar question people also ask is how many calories are in 200g cooked boneless chicken? The question is similar, but it depends on how it was cooked. If it was grilled, then it would be the same answer as above. Frying it, for example, is likely to add at least 100 calories per 100 grams.
3. Can I eat chicken every day and lose weight?
You can eat anything every day and lose weight! If you eat at McDonald’s every day but still have a calorie deficit, you’ll lose weight. But as we’ve said a few times, it’s always best to have a balanced diet.
4. How do you lose weight while eating chicken?
Losing weight is easy, in principle. In reality, it has many difficulties, but the bottom line is that you need to be in a calorie deficit. In simple terms, that just means that you need to eat fewer calories than you use. For most of us, that’s around 2000 calories per day.
Therefore, you lose weight while eating chicken by including it in a diet that will keep you in a calorie deficit. Make sure that you’re always aware of the calories you’re eating. We’ve seen here that chicken is a great option for healthy diets but it’s not a magic ingredient.
5. Does eating chicken burn belly fat?
Not on its own. There is no food, exercise, machine, or drink that will make you lose just belly fat. When you are losing fat, you will do so equally from all areas of your body. You shouldn’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise.
So, can eating chicken burn belly fat? Well, it can help you too if it’s part of a healthy diet! But you’ll be losing fat from everywhere else too as you do. The bottom line is that to lose belly fat, you just need to focus on losing fat generally.
6. What is the healthiest meat?
Probably chicken or white fish. But you shouldn’t get caught up on what’s the healthiest meat as they can all be healthy if they are prepared in the right way. And as long as you’re eating fewer calories than you’re using, you’ll lose weight with any meat.
How many calories are in chicken? As we’ve seen, thankfully not a lot! It means you can confidently eat it as part of a balanced diet and know that you’ll lose weight, especially if you’re exercising along with it.
A medium chicken breast is a little under 200 calories which is awesome for how much it’ll fill you up when combined with a salad, for example. Hopefully, all this info can help you to make better choices for your diet. Good luck!