5 Healthy Ways to Dress Up Grilled Chicken

February 9, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

Grilled chicken is a staple for athletes. (It powers Peyton Manning's pregame meal.) A low maintenance, lean source of protein, chicken is easy to cook. Plus it's less expensive than fish and ground turkey. However, plain grilled chicken gets old after awhile,  even when you change your side dishes and vegetables. (Review Key Nutrients for Athletes.)

Since there's no way I can eat plain grilled chicken every night, I've come up with some healthy solutions. Here are my favorite ways to dress up grilled chicken:

Use slivered almonds as a "breading"

Almond Crusted chicken is one of my favorite ways to add nutrients and flavor. I dip the chicken breasts in egg whites and coat them with a mixture of slivered almonds. Brown the chicken breasts on each side to toast the almonds before placing in the oven. Toasted almonds provide a nice crunch as well as delivering healthy fats.

Use a Chinese-inspired sauce and eat with chopsticks

Once the grilled chicken is cooked, stir-fry with vegetables to heat through and add your favorite healthy sauce. Some of my favorites are a mixture of low sodium soy sauce and honey, Siracha or Trader Joe's peanut satay sauce. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and serve over brown rice for a complete meal. Plus, it's more fun when you eat with chopsticks.

Cook chicken in a crock-pot for a tender, low maintenance dinner

Cooking anything in a crockpot helps maximize flavor. I put a couple of chicken breasts in before work, add a sauce and vegetables, and have dinner ready when I come home. One of my favorite crock-pot toppings is salsa. It provides a fun flavor for chicken and is low in calories, fat and sugar. Last week, I served this combination in corn tortilla shells to make pulled chicken tacos. This was a unique meal that started with plain chicken!

Marinate with lemon juice and rosemary

I hesitate to even call this a recipe, but lemon juice adds zest to anything and helps brighten up any dish without sacrificing health. Marinate the chicken in lemon juice and rosemary to add a flavor burst to each bite. As with any dish, take advantage of herbs and spices, as they add aroma and taste without excess calories, salt or sugar.

Sprinkle with sauce and cheese to make a "healthier" chicken parmesan

Most of us love sauce and cheese. Rather than breading and frying the chicken, use grilled chicken breasts covered with tomato sauce or diced tomatoes and a healthy sprinkle of mozzarella. Reheat in the oven for a comforting meal.

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Must See
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,665,641
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 86,571

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,017,580
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,821
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,687
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,770
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,414
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,085
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,164

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

The digestibility of carbohydrates and the impact it has on blood sugar has an important role for athletes. The glycemic index ranks foods on a scale of...

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

The Boston Cannons' Keep It Real Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons'

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

YardBarker