Grilled chicken wings can absolutely be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation. Chicken wings are a lean source of protein that contain less fat and calories compared to fried or breaded chicken wings. While they are not low calorie, grilled chicken wings can fit into a balanced diet when portion sizes are controlled.
Are grilled chicken wings healthy?
Yes, grilled chicken wings are a healthy source of protein. Chicken wings contain high quality protein needed for building and repairing muscles. Protein also helps you feel full and satisfied after eating. Here are some of the benefits of grilled chicken wings:
- High in protein – A 3 ounce serving provides about 25 grams of protein.
- Lower in fat than fried wings – Grilling allows fat to drip away rather than being absorbed.
- Contains vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, selenium, and zinc.
- Provides savory flavor without needing a lot of extra sauces or dressings.
When eating grilled wings, be sure to remove the skin to further reduce fat and calorie content. The skin contains about half the calories found in chicken wings.
Nutrition facts for grilled chicken wings
Here are the nutrition facts for 3 ounces or about 5-6 grilled chicken wings with the skin removed:
As you can see, grilled chicken wings are high in protein and relatively low in saturated fat and calories when enjoyed in a reasonable portion size. Just be mindful of any dipping sauces, as these can add extra calories.
Are grilled chicken wings low carb?
Yes, plain grilled chicken wings contain no carbohydrates, making them a great low carb food choice. The wings themselves do not have any breading or contain sugars. So you can enjoy them freely on low carb and ketogenic diets.
One thing to watch out for is the sauce or dip you eat grilled wings with. Many common wing sauces like barbecue, sweet chili, and teriyaki contain added sugars. To keep wings low carb, opt for dry rubs or dip them in low carb sauces like hot sauce, lemon pepper, or plain ranch dressing.
Can you eat grilled chicken wings on a diet?
You can eat grilled chicken wings on most diets when paying attention to portion sizes. Here are some tips for enjoying wings on a diet:
- On a low fat diet, remove the skin to reduce overall fat and calorie intake.
- On a low carb diet, avoid breaded wings and choose low carb dipping sauces.
- On a calorie restricted diet for weight loss, stick to 3-4 wings as a single serving.
- On the paleo diet, grilled wings without breading or sugary sauces can be enjoyed.
- On the Mediterranean diet, wings are a good source of protein though fattier meats should be eaten less often.
No matter what diet you follow, practices like portion control, reading labels, and balancing wings with veggies and whole grains will help you integrate them healthfully.
What is a healthy portion size for chicken wings?
To keep grilled chicken wings as part of a balanced diet, a healthy portion is about 3-6 wings depending on their size. This provides around 150-300 calories and 25-50 grams of protein.
Here are some general portion size guidelines for grilled chicken wings:
- Women – 3-4 average wings
- Men – 4-6 average wings
- Athletes or very active people – Up to 8 average wings
To prevent overeating, serve wings alongside cut veggies, fruit salad, or whole grain crackers to help control portions and add fiber and nutrients.
Healthy ways to eat grilled chicken wings
Here are some healthy tips for preparing and eating grilled chicken wings:
- Season with dry rubs over sauces to control added fat, calories, and sodium.
- Remove skin after grilling to further reduce fat and calories.
- Choose healthier dipping sauces like Greek yogurt based ranch, hummus, or guacamole.
- Balance wings with a side salad with vinaigrette rather than creamy dressings.
- Avoid or limit high calorie blue cheese or other fatty dipping sauces.
Grilled chicken wings can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation and balanced with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Stick to reasonable portion sizes of 3-6 wings and remove skin to reduce fat intake. You can enjoy grilled wings on most diets by paying attention to sauces and accompaniments. Overall, chicken wings are a lean protein to eat as part of balanced nutrition.