Jazz Up Your Chicken with These Easy and Delicious Marinades

by Suzanne Hiscock
Warning: Not for vegetarians or vegans! If you don't eat meat, read this article instead.

One of my favorite lean proteins is chicken. It's easy to cook; you can toss it into a salad, add it to soup, eat a serving with a plateful of vegetables or make a yummy chicken sandwich loaded with spinach and tomatoes.

But when you eat the same kind of food over and over again, you run the risk of getting bored. And what happens when you get bored? You make bad food choices, that's what.

Losing weight or going on a 'diet' doesn't mean eating plain food. You need to take advantage of the abundance of flavors available to you.

What I do is marinate my chicken to give it a different flavor each time. Plain, flavorless chicken? Not in this house!

Here are five chicken marinade recipes that will have you asking, "Please, sir, can I have some more?"

Chicken is an excellent source of protein when you’re losing weight. A 3 ounce serving of chicken (without skin) has 140 calories and only 3 grams of fat. Forget fried chicken.

Forget chicken covered in fattening sauces. What you want to do is marinate your chicken and then either roast it in the oven, grill it on the bbq or stir-fry it.

Here’s a Garlic Lime Chicken Marinade perfect for fajitas or tasty on its own.
 
Garlic Lime Chicken Marinade
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinate time: 30 minutes
Yield: 1 marinade good for 1.5lbs of chicken breast

Ingredients
1 tsp. minced onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
¾ tsp oregano leaves
¾ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cilantro leaves
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp orange juice 1
tbsp honey

2 tbsp olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a re-sealable plastic bag and add chicken. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes. If you're making fajitas, cut chicken into strips before marinating and stir-fry until well cooked.

My Favorite Recipe Sites
The other recipes I use come from allrecipes.com and epicurious.com. If you've never used these sites before, they're a great resource for recipes to keep your meals interesting. Here are my tips for using recipe sites:
  • Create a free account so you can add recipes to your online recipe box.
  • Looking for recipes with high ratings that have been rated by many people.
  • Read the reviews of the recipe for extra tips. People who have made the recipe will have suggestions to modify the recipe.
  • If you don't have all the ingredients, search Google for substitutes. It's as easy as searching for "substitute for" and then type in the ingredient.
  • Modify the recipe to suit your weight loss (or muscle building) goals. Reduce fat and sugar where you can.
Here are four more of my favorite recipes, perfect for adding flavor to chicken:
  1. 15 Minute Marinated Chicken

    This recipe is quick and easy -- one of my favorites when I'm pressed for time. It uses one of my favorite herbs: tarragon!

    15 Minute Marinated Chicken
     
  2. Krystal's Perfect Marinade for BBQ or Grilled Chicken

    This one uses more sugar than I'd like, but you can reduce it a bit. Keep in mind, you don't end up eating all the ingredients when you marinate chicken, so you're not really eating all that sugar.

    Krystal's Perfect Marinade for BBQ or Grilled Chicken
     
  3. Crazy Chicken Marinade Grilled Chicken

    I skip the sage in this recipe because I'm not a big fan of it. Don't let that stop you from loving this recipe!

    Crazy Chicken Marinade Grilled Chicken
     
  4. Ready for a Bit of Adventure? Grilled Jerk Chicken

    You like spicy? I got spicy. This recipe from Epicurious is not for everyone because it calls for Scotch bonnet (or habenero) chiles. You'll be sweating with this recipe!

    Grilled Jerk Chicken
     
Use these recipes and you'll see that eating better does not mean eating plain, flavorless, boring food. Quite the opposite! Foods flavored with herbs and spices are a powerful part of your weight loss program. It'll keep you interested in the food you're eating and keep you away from calorie-laden foods that are fried or covered in sauces.

Be adventurous when it comes to changing your eating habits! Explore the world of different herbs and spices to jazz up your food.

Must Read
Do You Eat These High Protein Foods?
A Daily Eating Plan for Weight Loss
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About the Author

Suzanne Hiscock is a PN1 Nutrition Coach, ACE-certified Health Coach, as well as an ACE-certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. For over 16 years, she has been helping people lose weight and get fit through her website, FitWatch.com. Whether it's with one-on-one nutrition coaching, nutrition programs or courses, and tools or calculators, she can help you to eat better, move more and believe in yourself.