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    Archive for the ‘chicken’ Category

    Grilled Chicken = Healthier? Not in Fast Food World!

    Take a look at this one-page document housed in the United States Department of Agriculture’s “Healthy Restaurant Eating” page, titled “Making Better Choices at Fast Food Restaurants” and co-sponsored by the American Heart Association, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the Clinton Foundation.

    It echoes much of the advice doled out in those all-too-familiar two-minute segments on morning news shows where viewers are assuaged that they CAN “eat right at fast food restaurants,” and America lets out a huge sigh of relief.

    I particularly want to focus on one “healthy” tip in that document that I have read and heard for years and continue to come across (and one that, when I first started my nutrition studies, I thought seemed reasonable): “choose chicken”.
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    You Ask, I Answer: Dark Chicken Meat

    20090106seared_chickenWhy is dark chicken meat less nutritious than chicken breast?

    — Stefania Pereyra
    (Location Withheld)

    It isn’t, really.

    Yes, dark chicken meat is slightly higher in saturated fat and cholesterol than chicken breast.  However, dark meat still provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals (some of them in higher quantities than you would get in chicken breast).

    As I always like to remind readers of this blog, though, dietary cholesterol does not have as much of an impact on blood cholesterol as trans fats and saturated fats from red meat and dairy.

    A commercial muffin may be cholesterol-free, but if it is loaded with trans fats (as most of them are), it is much worse for your cardiovascular health than a roasted chicken thigh.

    Frankly, I wish people would care more about what the chicken they are eating was fed and how it was treated at the farm it came from than whether or not there’s an extra two grams of fat in the thigh.

    If those were the top priorities though, though, 99% of chicken consumers would think twice about ordering sliced chicken breast over their Caesar salads.

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    Sneaky Tricks of the Trade

    It’s not just celebrities who get airbrushed to look “magazine ready.”

    Popular foods also get plenty of help from stylists, lighting technicians, and even a little fakery to achieve a flawless image.

    PBS Kids reveals how hamburgers, roasted chicken, and ice cream always manage to look so friggin’ perfect in their respective advertisements.

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    "G" — It Was About Time!

    Earlier this year, Kentucky Fried Chicken launched a new grilled (well, technically roasted) chicken menu option in six cities — Indianapolis, Colorado Springs, San Diego, Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, and Austin.

    I was taken aback the initial resistance expressed by many KFC customers in the blogosphere. Several scoffed, others already declared it a flop.

    Ridiculous accusations of “food policing” came up, specifically paranoid delusions that people no longer had the freedom to eat friend chicken if they pleased.

    Me? I think it’s a great idea. All I can say is, “what took so long?”

    Besides, no one is taking away a fried option, so the outcry over a grilled variety has no validity in my mind.

    Rumors have circulated that KFC executives are crossing their fingers harder than ever with this new initiative since previous attemps to offer non-fried alternatives didn’t fare so well.

    An article in The Huffington Post earlier this year mentioned that “in the early 1990s, the chain introduced a rotisserie-style chicken, but it was doomed after a couple of years by equipment problems and long cook times. A tender roast product followed, but it lasted only a couple of years.”

    This explains the obnoxious reassurance by KFC that they are still going to be launching new fried chicken products as well. Oh, well, let me sigh in relief then.

    As much as KFC talks about taking nutrition and health seriously, I don’t appreciate their almost apologetic stance to their consumer base.

    Anyhow, in comparison with the traditional fried product, a grilled 5.7 ounce KFC chicken breast contains half the sodium (although a still hefty 600 milligrams), half the calories (180, rather than 360), and 60% less fat (9 grams, as opposed to 21).

    KGC is supposed to be available nationwide next year.

    There better be the same multimillion dollar advertising campaign for this as there has recently been for the “extra crispy” (read: extra breaded, extra fried, and extra caloric) chipotle chicken.

    After all, sales of grilled chicken in Colorado Springs took a tumble when television commercials were pulled.

    Any readers in any of the six “test” cities tried KFC’s grilled chicken? If so, what did you think?

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    You Ask, I Answer: Raw Chicken Food Labels

    When you buy a package of uncooked chicken breasts, it has the calorie amount for four ounces of chicken. Is this cooked or uncooked chicken?

    — Suzanna (via the blog)

    The nutrition information listed on raw chicken breasts is for the uncooked product.

    This is where consumers have to do some extra math.

    Even though you are buying a four ounce chicken breast, you are eating less — approximately two and a half or three ounces — due to water lost during the cooking process.

    This isn’t so much the United States Department of Agriculture being misleading as much as it is them being unable to guess how people will be cooking their raw chicken.

    Not only does the final weight of a chicken breast vary on cooking times and methods, so does the caloric content.

    Grilling does not add extra calories, but sauteeing chicken breast in a tablespoon of olive oil adds an additional 120.

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