Bodybuilding without chicken would be like bodybuilding without dumbbells. It's hard to even imagine.
Whether building muscle or burning fat, one nutrient that you can never cut out of your diet is protein. Which is why a bodybuilder cutting out a lean source such as chicken is about as likely as Dorian Yates lifting a weight that weighs less than he does (even for rear deltoids).
But with any staple food or exercise, boredom can become your worst enemy.
If you've found that you've gotten into the rut of preparing your chicken in the same old way, then it's time to spice things up a bit and try something new.
Chicken is fast and easy to prepare and can be made in a number of different ways, helping to reduce the dietary boredom factor that causes so many of us to fall off our diet plans.
Any of the eight methods of preparing chicken listed below will work great, so when you get tired of the usual, give one of these a try!1
Use A Marinade
One of the fastest and easiest ways to liven up chicken is to simply use a marinade. While you can purchase premade marinades at your local grocery store, very often these are high in sodium, sugar, and calories. A better bet is probably to come up with one yourself.
Marinades are quick and easy to prepare; all you do is rub them into the chicken breasts and let them sit afterwards for a few hours, so that the flavor seeps into the chicken before cooking.
If you can do up the marinade and rub it into the chicken the night before, your chicken breasts will deliver maximum flavor when you go to grill them the next day.
Prepare Chicken Burgers
Chicken breasts tend to be the most commonly eaten form of chicken, but don't overlook ground chicken breast either. If you seek out a lean variety, this can also be an excellent source of protein that will help to liven up your diet and prevent boredom.
Chicken burgers are simple to prepare and can be served with a whole-grain roll for those who are focused on muscle building and require the extra carbs. For those seeking fat loss, they can be served with lettuce and a tomato, bunless.
Just be sure that you do make these yourself rather than purchasing pre-made chicken burgers from the grocery store, as very often these commercial varieties are very high in fat, calories, and preservatives.3
Stir-frying chicken is our next extremely popular way to prepare this protein source, and again offers plenty of varieties. Stir-fries are great for when you're pressed on time and looking to get additional vegetables into your diet as well.
Be sure when preparing this dish, though, that you look very carefully at any stir-fry sauce that you plan to use, as many are incredibly high in sugar content.
Always read every ingredient on any premade sauce you are considering, or even better, prepare your own. Don't forget to add some fresh herbs or spices to your stir-fry as well to help boost the flavor without having to turn to those high-calorie sauces.4
Baking is always a good standby for preparing your chicken breasts, and is also one of the easier methods out there. Season your chicken breasts with some herbs and spices before placing it onto the baking sheet or pan, and then add a little low-sodium chicken broth to the bottom to help retain the moisture of the chicken throughout the baking process.
Broiling is the next way that you can prepare your chicken breasts and is a quick method of preparation when you're short on time.
Before you broil it, you may want to consider marinating the chicken breast, as this form of cooking does have a tendency to dry the chicken, out and doing so will help to avoid this.
Additionally, broiling can cause the outer portion of the chicken to burn very quickly, so you'll want to keep a close eye on the breasts when using this cooking technique.
As long as you're paying attention throughout the cooking process, you should have no problem avoiding burnt chicken.6
Slow cooking is yet another method of cooking that many people often forget about that is incredibly easy and produces extremely tender chicken. Since slow cooking cooks the chicken at a low temperature for so many hours, it really helps to enhance the flavor of the chicken without any risk of burning it.
There are an endless number of recipes that you can create in a slow cooker, from soups to stews to chicken breasts with diced vegetables and sweet potatoes, so you'll never run out of things to try. Put the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, and by the time you come home that evening, dinner will be all ready to eat.7
So many of us get into the habit of always serving up our chicken warm, but it can also be delicious served cold as part of a salad or sandwich.
Slicing up a grilled chicken breast and tossing it into a salad with some chopped apples or cranberries is a perfect way to get in some quality protein and healthy carbs. Drizzle with a bit of olive-oil based dressing and you'll have your healthy fats added to the mix, making for a well-balanced meal on the go.
If you often precook and freeze your chicken breasts, slicing them and tossing them into a salad after thawing is fast, easy, and great for those who need something quickly.8
Make a soup
The final and often forgotten about method to serve up your chicken and help meet protein needs is to turn chicken breasts into a soup. Soups are great for those who are on a fat-loss diet, as the hot liquid tends to take the edge off your appetite while their high volume fills you up quickly.
Whether you want to make a straight vegetable and chicken soup or add other carb-rich ingredient such as rice, pasta, diced sweet potatoes, or barley is up to you. But this this a very quick and easy way to get in your chicken for the day.
So next time you're feeling bored with your same old chicken breasts, consider changing it up a bit. Using any one of these techniques will work incredibly well and will add more variety to your diet, so you don't turn to a burger for your protein instead!