Teriyaki chicken is a delicious dish that many of us love, made by marinating chicken (usually chicken breast or thighs) in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce and then grilling or baking it until it’s cooked to perfection. While it’s a good source of protein and provides essential vitamins and minerals, the healthiness of teriyaki chicken depends on several factors, including the ingredients used in the marinade, cooking method, and portion size.
The teriyaki sauce is a key ingredient in the dish and it’s important to choose the right ingredients to ensure a healthy and nutritious meal. Many commercial teriyaki sauces are loaded with sodium, which can be detrimental to health if consumed in excess. High sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, among other health problems. To make your teriyaki chicken healthier, try making your own sauce using a recipe with ingredients like low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, coconut aminos, pineapple juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. These ingredients are lower in sodium and contain more essential nutrients, while also providing a delicious and savory flavor.
When it comes to cooking the chicken, grilling or baking is a healthier option than frying it. Grilled or baked chicken is a good source of lean protein and contains negligible amounts of fat compared to fried chicken, which can contain high levels of unhealthy trans fats. Additionally, grilling or baking the chicken can reduce the overall calorie and fat content of the dish.
Portion size is also an important factor to consider when evaluating the healthiness of teriyaki chicken. Consuming too much of any food, even healthy foods, can lead to weight gain and other health problems. It’s important to keep portion sizes in check and to balance your diet by including a variety of different foods, such as brown rice, fresh veggies, green beans, bok choy, and lean protein. If you’re looking for a low-carb option, try serving your teriyaki chicken with cauliflower rice instead of white rice.
Another factor to consider when evaluating the healthiness of teriyaki chicken is the added sugar in the marinade. Some teriyaki sauces contain high amounts of sugar, which can be detrimental to health if consumed in excess. High sugar intake has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, among other health problems. To make your teriyaki chicken healthier, it’s important to minimize the added sugar in the sauce or to use alternative sweeteners, such as maple syrup or stevia, which are lower in calories and have a lower glycemic index.
When making your own teriyaki sauce, it’s important to use a recipe that contains healthy ingredients and minimal amounts of added sugar. A simple recipe could include a mixture of low-sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. You can also add a touch of hoisin sauce for a savory taste and a tablespoon of teriyaki sauce for a sticky texture. To make the sauce, simply whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
To make the teriyaki chicken, start by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat and adding a small amount of olive oil. Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken pieces and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink in the center. Next, add the bell pepper and green onions to the skillet and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Finally, pour the homemade teriyaki sauce over the chicken and vegetables and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is fully coated.
Serve the teriyaki chicken with brown rice or cauliflower rice, and sprinkle with sesame seeds for a touch of flavor and texture. You can also serve the teriyaki chicken with steamed green beans or bok choy for a complete and balanced meal.
In conclusion, teriyaki chicken can be a healthy dish if made with the right ingredients and cooking method. By using a homemade teriyaki sauce made with healthy ingredients and minimal amounts of added sugar, grilling or baking the chicken instead of frying it, and keeping portion sizes in check, you can enjoy the delicious taste of teriyaki chicken while promoting your overall health and well-being. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different recipes, like instant pot teriyaki chicken or a teriyaki chicken stir fry, to find your favorite. With the right ingredients and cooking method, teriyaki chicken can be a healthy and delicious choice for busy weeknights or for the whole family. Just be mindful of the nutrition facts and keep in mind the recommended daily values for sodium and added sugars as suggested by federal guidelines. Whether you’re at home, in a restaurant, or even at a place like Panda Express, always opt for the healthier ingredients and low-sodium teriyaki sauce to make the best choice for your health.