Chicken is one of the most versatile of all foods. There are so many ways you can cook it and so many dishes you can create. 

Chicken is lean meat, which makes it a healthier option compared to red meats, as long as you cook it in a healthy way. As delicious as fried chicken is, it’s not the best for your health. Opting for grilled or baked chicken recipes, like the one below, will allow you to keep the flavor you love and the nutrients you need.

Teriyaki Chicken Bake


For the Sauce:

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup honey (add ¼ cup more honey if you want a sweeter sauce)
¾ cup cold water
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons corn starch

baked chicken teriyaki

For the Bake:

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup yellow onion, diced large
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 cup small broccoli florets
½ cup shredded carrot
1 cup snow peas, cut in half
3 cups cooked brown rice


For the Sauce: 

In a small saucepot, combine the soy sauce, honey, ½ cup of the water, ginger, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. 

While the sauce is boiling, combine the last ¼ cup of water and corn starch in a small bowl. Whisk well and gradually pour into the boiling sauce, stirring the sauce constantly. Reduce to a simmer, and continue to stir the sauce until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the bake.

baked chicken teriyaki

For the Bake: 

Preheat oven to 400° degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside. 

In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken to the skillet and cook until golden on the outside. Add the onion and garlic, then sauté until onions soften, which should be about 5 minutes. Add the rice and remaining ingredients. Stir in the sauce until all ingredients are coated, then pour into the prepared baking dish. 

Bake this for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through at 165 degrees and the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Serve immediately.

Why Baking Is Better Than Frying

Frying foods essentially destroys much of the nutrients of the food and adds excessive amounts of unhealthy fat to your diet. Too much fat can result in high cholesterol and obesity, which increases your risk for heart disease and other serious health conditions. Swapping out your fryer for a grill produces much healthier results. 

oil burning hot and smoking in pan

The problems with fried foods can be summed up as follows:

Advanced Glycation End-Products

Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGE’s) are the results of frying foods. Foods that are deep-fried are usually covered in starchy ingredients before being cooked in hot oil. This process produces carcinogens known as AGEs. Not only does your fat intake increase, but your risk for cancer goes up. In addition to this, AGEs have also been linked to other serious diseases, such as diabetes. When you grill or bake your food, you avoid these harmful carcinogens and still enjoy a great-tasting meal.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Some fried foods are cooked using partially hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats. Despite being cheaper and lasting longer, these oils have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. Partially hydrogenated oils are also linked to obesity, diabetes, inflammation, stroke, and heart disease, and they reduce the overall effectiveness of your immune system.

Oxidized Oil

Oils that are heated to high temperatures for frying foods become oxidized. Oxidized oils have been linked to several serious problems involving the heart, kidney, and lungs. They also increase your risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis. By avoiding fried foods and grilling or baking instead, you’ll be removing oxidized oils from your diet, which will result in better overall health. 

marinating raw chicken

Make the Switch To Grilling or Baking

For every tablespoon of oil used in cooking, you add 120 calories to the meal. The result is too much fat consumption and weight gain. Obesity is commonly linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and chronic inflammation. When you bake or grill, you can avoid these potential problems. 

When it comes to chicken, in particular, it is always better to bake or grill instead of frying. Chicken is a lean protein source full of nutrients and health benefits, and you don’t want that fat and other harmful products canceling out the goodness. 

If you are worried about losing flavor, try using marinades or herbs instead. Many people use fats and oils to add flavor, but you can enjoy a healthier and tasty meal when you opt for a lemon juice marinade or some of your favorite seasonings. 

You can also consider using olive oil to make marinades or sauces, and rosemary and garlic are flavorful additions to any chicken meal. 

The Bottom Line

As delicious as fried foods may taste, numerous health problems can result from the consumption of fried foods. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice great taste because there are alternative recipes for all your favorite dishes using a grill or baking in the oven instead. Leave the fried treats at the fairgrounds and cook your meals at home with a grill or oven.