Eating Healthy: the Basics

1. What is a healthy breakfast?
2. What is a healthy lunch?
3. What is a healthy dinner?
4. How much should I weigh?
5. How many calories should I be eating?
6. What is the best way to lose weight?
7. How can I keep my weight loss goal in mind and stay motivated?
8. What is a healthy weekly weight loss?
9. How to set weight loss goals and make them happen
10. How to keep a food diary, and why it is essential to successful weight loss
11. Are all fats bad for you?
12. Are saturated fats bad for you?
13. Are unsaturated fats good for you?
14. Are carbohydrates bad for you?
15. Is fiber good for you?
16. How to read nutrition/food labels
17. How to plan your weekly menus
18. Why should I eat less salt?
19. What do the sodium (salt) numbers mean on food labels?
20. What is The Mediterranean Diet?
21. Why eating vegetables is good for you
22. Why eating fruit and nuts is good for you
23. Why are cereals and whole grains good for you?
24. What are legumes, and why are they good for you?
25. Why is eating fish good for you?
26. Which fats and oils are good for you?
27. Are dairy products good for you?
28. Which meats should I not eat?
29. Is drinking alcohol good for you?
30. Is it important to measure your ingredients?
31. Are snacks good for you?
32. How to choose the right portion size
33. Can you lose weight with a smaller plate?
34. Eat healthier by cleaning out your pantry
35. Which oils and fats should I keep in my pantry?
35. Which oils and fats are good for you - and when should I use them?
36. Which carbohydrates are good for you?
37. What is the best chicken or turkey for you?
38. Are dairy products good for you?
39. Which nuts and seeds should I eat?
40. Is red meat like beef or pork bad or good for you?
41. Is eating dessert good or bad for you?
42. Is drinking soda bad for you?
43. Is drinking coffee bad for you?
44. How can healthy food taste good? Part 1
45. How can healthy food taste good? Part 2
46. How to eat healthy while eating out
47. Are vitamins and supplements necessary to eat healthy?
48. How to eat healthy while traveling


Eating Healthy: the Basics

What is the best chicken or turkey for you?

Creole Stuffed Chicken Breast - click for the recipe from Dr. Gourmet

It seems like a simple thing, choosing poultry. For years folks have thought that eating healthy means more chicken and fish. I hear that all the time from patients. So what to choose and how?

Well, chicken. I do look for the freshest possible chicken that I can find. Check the sell by dates first and foremost. You do have to be somewhat suspect even of the sell by dates because there are so many stories about how grocery stores will repackage and redate their meats when they are near the sell by date.

Keep in mind that just because a chicken is labeled "free range" that this doesn't guarantee anything. Many free range chickens aren't really ranging freely around the barnyard. They simply have a bit more room in some cases. Likewise, there's no assurance that they have not been raised using antibiotics or chemicals. There are some name brand products now that are quite reliable, however.

I occasionally do purchase whole chickens and roast them. We know that the skin is where all the fat is, but like most things, eating the skin from a good roast chicken every now and then is what you should do. Keep in mind that there's great evidence that you can cook your chicken with the skin on and just not eat the skin. There won't be any more fat or calories than if you cooked the chicken without skin, and you'll still get all the juiciness and flavor you get from cooking it skin on.

I do like buying boneless and skinless chicken. Many of my recipes call for boneless chicken breasts and this is a great lean, low-fat choice. A lot of markets now are selling boneless and skinless chicken thighs and I love using these. They offer an especially rich chicken flavor to a lot of recipes. I don't believe that processed poultry, like chicken nuggets and such, are part of a healthy diet and you should avoid these.

Most of the time you only think of turkey around holidays, but there's a lot of great turkey recipes for day to day. It's really easy now to just buy a turkey breast. That's a great and easy way to enjoy roast turkey any time (and there's some leftovers for turkey sandwiches).

Ground turkey is widely available, and it is a little bit lower in fat and calories than ground beef, but not all that much. Interestingly, 95% lean ground beef is lower in fat, calories and saturated fat than ground turkey, so the ground turkey is not always the best choice. Here's more on ground turkey vs. ground beef.