Let’s face it, chicken can be a bit boring. It’s such a regular part of most of our diets that if we don’t occasionally throw in some flavor variety it can become somewhat redundant. Flavor variations can easily be included with the simple technique of using healthy chicken marinades.
I always recommend using bone in, skin-on pieces. Any meat cooked on the bone simply tastes better, and if cooked right, the skin can add a level of texture that could not otherwise be achieved.
Why marinate chicken?
Chicken is not very forgiving. It can easily be overcooked and get dried out. One way to assure that your chicken turns out moist and flavorful is to marinate before cooking. You could certainly drown your chicken in some sticky, sweet, store-bought sauce, or you could get a bit more creative and you’re your own healthy marinade with just a couple of ingredients. Chicken is a low-fat, high protein option that is a great protein source for anyone trying to stick to a healthy diet.
What kind of oils to use
Marinades usually involve some sort of oil which helps coat the ingredients, and aids in even distribution of flavors. During the cooking process, oil will also help your chicken retain moisture to avoid the dreaded dried-out chicken. I prefer to use oils that have gone through the least amount of processing as possible, like extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil. For a more neutral flavor consider using grapeseed or vegetable oil.
Adding the flavor to healthy chicken marinades
Next comes the fun part, adding some complimentary flavors. These can be any number of things from fresh herbs, dry spices, chilies, citrus, etc. As we are looking at healthier options, try not to use too much sugar and salt. If you want to add a touch of sweetness consider using a little honey or agave. I rarely add salt to a marinade as it can draw out moisture over time, instead I season the chicken with salt just before cooking.
Our favorite marinades
The next time you’re throwing some chicken on the grill and want to jazz it up a bit, add a few tasty ingredients, let it marinade for a little while and hey presto, chicken doesn’t have to be the same old same old anymore.
Here are some recipes that feature some outstanding chicken marinades that are incredibly tasty, and good for you too:
Add flavor with grilling planks and wraps
If you are a super health nut consider using grilling planks and wraps. They add lots of delicious smoky flavor without adding on any fat or calories. These wooden grilling products are soaked in water before the food is added. As the wood heats up, the moisture pulls out flavor and gently cooks the food, which keeps it nice and juicy and seasons it with a fresh aromatic wood flavor. Planks and wraps work great in conjunction with endless types of marinades, and different wood varieties feature their own flavor characteristics. See our full variety of flavors of grilling planks and wraps, and see all of our grilled chicken recipes.