To Fry or Not To Fry: Four Healthy Ways to Celebrate National Fried Chicken Day

Happy National Fried Chicken Day! Is there really any better way to celebrate a finger-lickin’-good American favorite than with a day named in its honor? July 6 is noted as a day to unite, celebrate with friends and learn new recipes. But in the spirit of good health, I’m going to point out some healthier versions of the real deal, including a couple vegetarian options.

Did you know that according to the USDA chicken is the number one species consumed by Americans? Each year approximately 8 billion chickens are consumed by Americans.

Fried chicken was first brought to our country by Scottish immigrants and later perfected in America by Southerners who added spices and new flavoring. During the 19th century the combination of flour and lard with chicken, cooked in a heavy pan placed over a flame, was the beginning of  fried chicken. It quickly became an American staple for several reasons, including its affordability compared to other meats, and its ease of preservation.

Since it is usually prepared with fat and oil, fried chicken is pretty unhealthy, and its contents are often known to be potentially artery-clogging.

Therefore, it is important to remember that everything that tastes good to us is not always good for us. Here are some recipes for fried chicken alternatives that may be healthier additions to your diet:

  • KFC Grilled ChickenA KFC-inspired grilled chicken recipe, with flavors amplified with a liquid coating and dry rub seasoning mix.
  • Fried Chk’n Tofu — A fried chicken alternative that works well for those who are vegetarian or vegan, this recipe is quick and easy, too.
  • Meat-free fried chicken — Another meat alternative, and new way to prepare “chicken” also works well for vegan, vegetarians, as well as those looking for a recipe that’s new and healthy.
  • Garlic Broiled Chicken — A quick and easy-to-prepare chicken option that is not fried and works with any cut of chicken.

Are there any other healthy alternatives to fried chicken that you would suggest? How can we have our cake (or chicken) and eat it, too?

Photo Credit: niallkennedy

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