Are you a fried chicken lover — but following a keto diet? Hoping to make a trip to your local KFC soon? This article will guide you on how to enjoy your favorite fried chicken while staying on keto.
Can I Eat Fried Chicken On A Keto Diet?
You might be thinking: but fried chicken has so much fat! Isn’t the keto diet all about fats? Well, yes and no. While fried foods like chicken tend to have a high-fat content, they don’t have all the same kinds of healthy dietary fats—fats that nourish your body while also keeping you satisfied and satiated—that keto dieters should try to include in their diet.
Basically, the kind and quality of your food still matter. We don’t want to get so focused on keeping up with our macros that we forget about our general health.
The good news? The keto diet is pretty flexible. Flexible enough to incorporate all your favorite meals into your meal plan—even fried chicken. You’ll have to make some simple, minor modifications, but we have no doubt that you’ll be able to find at least one great substitute for your favorite fried chicken meal. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Keto-Friendly Alternatives to Fried Chicken
1. Grilled Chicken
We’ll start by calling out some great fried chicken alternatives. First of all, the most obvious: grilled chicken.
Unlike fried chicken, grilled chicken does not contain any carbohydrates. Although it’s generally low in fat, at about 2.9 grams per 3 ounces, it’s incredibly high in protein, with about 25 grams per serving! That means that it will keep your body feeling nourished and satiated like fattier foods do while keeping your muscles healthy and strong.
Grilled chicken is also very accessible. Say you’re eating out somewhere where you would normally order fried chicken, like KFC. You can instead opt to choose grilled chicken from the menu. That means you don’t have to abstain from frequenting your favorite establishments. Just make a small change to your usual order and be on your way!
2. Make Your Own Keto-Friendly Fried Chicken
Can’t imagine cutting out fried chicken completely? It might be a better idea for you to try out a ketogenic recipe for “fried” chicken and make your own!
Yes, keto fried chicken does exist. It’s different from restaurant fried chicken but just as tasty. You can bake your chicken breast to cut out all that vegetable oil (or use other types of oil for healthier pan-frying instead of heavy deep-frying) and even try out low-carb “breading” alternatives. These “fried” chicken hacks will help make your meal taste great and help you stick to your diet.
How To Make A Keto-Friendly Fried Chicken
- Step 1
First, crush and crumble half a cup of pork rinds. These low-carb “breadcrumbs” will serve as your keto “breading”.
- Step 2
Add ⅓ cup of shredded parmesan and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the crushed rinds for seasoning.
- Step 3
Dip your chicken breast in egg and coat it with your pork rind breading. Repeat this process until the chicken breast is fully covered.
- Step 4
Fry your chicken breast in 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. This combo is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil.
- Step 5
Cook until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Serve and enjoy!
That’s it! Super simple and delicious. You can see how a few modifications will go a long way for your keto diet.
This recipe is low-carb, rich in healthy fats, and includes the added bonus of tons of extra protein. That proves that you certainly don’t have to let go of all your favorites to follow a keto diet. You’ll even benefit from the process of finding new ways to include them.
So, don’t be afraid to shop around for new, healthier methods of including your favorite chicken meals in your keto diet. Chances are, you’re not the only one who’s tried to do it!
5 Health Benefits of Eating Chicken
By now, you’re probably plotting all kinds of ways to keep some version of fried chicken in your life. That’s great—chicken is affordable and easy to cook, as well as extremely versatile. It also boasts a fantastic range of health and nutrition benefits. Let’s take a look at a few:
1. Rich in Protein
Chicken is jam-packed with protein, which will aid in muscle development. That makes chicken great for weightlifters or athletes who are looking to build or maintain muscle on a keto diet without putting on any extra bulk. Foods that are high in protein like chicken also help fight bone loss, for those concerned about osteoporosis.
Chicken works to prevent cardiovascular disease by controlling homocysteine amino acid levels in the body. It also helps reduce cholesterol in the body when consumed at normal levels.
3. Abundant in Vitamins and Minerals
Essential minerals in chicken – like phosphorus, selenium, niacin, retinol, alpha and beta-carotene, and lycopene—combine to support teeth and bone health, eyesight, kidney and liver function, the central nervous system, metabolic performance (think: thyroid and immune system), and cancer prevention.
4. Metabolism Booster
The range of B-complex vitamins found in chicken will help speed up and improve your metabolism function. That means your body will be burning more calories than usual, helping you maintain or reach your ideal weight.
5. Increases Serotonin Levels
The amino acids in poultry increase serotonin production in your brain—the neurochemical response that enhances mood, lowers stress, and aids in sleep. That makes chicken a natural anti-depressant!
All these factors combine to make chicken an amazing choice for anyone looking to improve general health and wellness. “Fried” or not, you can count on a regular helping of chicken in your diet to realize these wonderful healthy advantages.
But…Is Chicken Really Keto?
As we’ve seen, chicken has some really awesome benefits that will keep you happy and healthy at every stage of your keto diet. But back to the macros—is chicken really keto if it’s so low-fat?
Well, you’re right to question that. By itself, chicken is a little too lean to be keto. Unlike some other keto-friendly protein sources, like fish, fat doesn’t naturally occur very much in chicken. However, it’s very easy to make any chicken recipe keto.
The key to enjoying chicken—or really any type of food—on a keto diet is adding a solid dose of healthy fats and supplementing every meal with nourishing low-carb vegetables.
Just incorporate a source of fat—like a high-quality cheese filling or a big spoonful of olive oil drizzled over top—and a healthy amount of vegetables in any recipe that includes chicken. That way, you can spice up your favorite meals often with new add-ons and small tweaks that you discover on your journey to fit chicken into your keto diet a little more plausibly and frequently.
Try cooking up something totally new, like this Creamy Tuscan Chicken recipe. You might even discover a new favorite!
Don’t Chicken Out
All in all, you can count on chicken to be a great keto-friendly meal. When it’s not traditionally “fried”, chicken can be a great addition to your keto diet, helping you incorporate all kinds of critical vitamins and minerals.
On top of all those wellness benefits, chicken is versatile, quick and easy to cook, hits all the macros, and will leave you feeling full and satisfied. It can even be made to taste just like—or even replace—your favorite fried chicken meal, while also remaining within boundaries of keto.
And while you’re looking to add a little more chicken into your diet, you should remember: going keto isn’t meant to be impossible. While the keto diet can be strict at times, you shouldn’t get too hung up on all those numbers. It’s important to be disciplined in order to reap the greatest benefits of keto, but it’s even more critical to just listen to your body.
Give yourself time to adjust, form a positive relationship with keto foods, and incorporate meals like chicken when you feel ready. This will help make keto a long-term health solution for your unique, individual needs!
Do you have a favorite chicken recipe? Try making it keto by substituting some of its more carbohydrate-dense ingredients with healthy fats. The keto version may just become your new go-to.
Share the love for fried chicken by pinning the image below under your Keto Diet board!