Is Teriyaki Chicken Healthy? Let’s Find Out

Well, we love this fried Japanese chicken recipe. But can it be nutritious?

Welcome to teriyaki chicken, a dish beloved for its satisfying flavor and seemingly simple ingredients. In this comprehensive guide to making chicken teriyaki recipe yourself, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of this popular meal — what it’s made of, how it affects your health, and how you can incorporate it into a balanced diet. If that’s got your mouth watering already, let’s start the prep for teriyaki chicken!

1. Teriyaki Chicken 101

is teriyaki chicken healthy
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A combination of grilled or broiled chicken slathered in teriyaki sauce (a Japanese creation with a Hawaiian twist), teriyaki chicken immediately delights taste buds with its rich flavors.

The sauce is typically made from soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic — providing tangy citrus notes that will tickle your taste buds. Thanks to its easy preparation and flexibility in cooking techniques, it has become a mainstay in households across the globe.

1.1. The Nutritional Value of Teriyaki Chicken

is teriyaki chicken healthy
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To truly understand the nutritional value of chicken teriyaki or chicken, we must break down each component. Firstly, the protein-rich chicken is essential for muscle repair and growth; it also offers various vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, that promote healthy skin and eyes and energy production.

Then there’s the homemade teriyaki sauce – soy sauce is a base ingredient for saltiness. Add the chicken and give umami undertones, while brown sugar provides a sweetness that balances out the dish’s strong tastes.

Ginger has its own set of benefits such as being an anti-inflammatory agent whereas 1garlic helps support immune function – so it’s not all bad!

However, there are some negatives to consider – namely, sodium levels from soy sauce cause high blood pressure if consumed frequently enough. Meanwhile, sugars from the added brown sugar can cause weight gain problems if eaten excessively.

When evaluating how healthy teriyaki chicken is healthy ingredients and portion size alongside the preparation method are important to consider. Grilled or broiled chicken with a light application of teriyaki sauce can be part of a balanced diet by providing a blend of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

2. Different components of Teriyaki Chicken

is chicken teriyaki healthy
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2.1. The Key Ingredients

The unique flavor that teriyaki chicken is known for comes from soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic, which all make up the sweet and savory side of sticky teriyaki sauce.

For example, soy sauce gives it its signature saltiness but also acts as the base for umami flavors, while brown sugar provides sweetness to balance those strong tastes. Ginger and garlic both offer their unique flavors, too – ginger is sharp and peppery, while garlic has an earthy pungency.

Some different variations might include mirin, another rice wine similar to sake (though made with lower alcohol content and higher sugar content), giving the dish some acidity and depth in flavor!

Instead of brown rice vinegar and sugar, some might opt for honey instead of maple syrup, which changes up the recipe notes and type of sweetness entirely; others may even use pineapple juice to give it a tropical twist inspired by its Hawaiian adaptation. Each ingredient plays an integral role in making it taste how it does — so feel free to experiment if you’re feeling bold!

2.2. Chicken Selection: Breast vs Thighs

is teriyaki chicken healthy
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Ultimately, everyone has their own preference when deciding between breasts or thighs, especially when crafting delicious teriyaki chicken.

Chicken breasts are a healthier option, with less fat and fewer calories2. Their mild flavor allows the teriyaki sauce to stand out. On the other hand, chicken thighs offer a richer taste and juicier texture because of their higher fat content.

2.3. Balanced flavorings

To maintain a healthy diet without sacrificing the delicious taste, you must consider everything that goes into it. For example, grilling or broiling the whole chicken breast first instead of frying it reduces calories.

It also helps preserve the natural flavors and textures of the meat. While teriyaki sauce is crucial for this dish’s flavor, too much will make it unhealthy. A homemade teriyaki sauce with a light glaze at the end will do just fine.

3. Is Teriyaki Chicken Healthy? Health Derivations

is teriyaki chicken healthy
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3.1. Sodium and Sugar Components

The recipe for dipping sauce itself can also be altered to be even healthier. Stevia or monk fruit sweetener can replace brown sugar in teriyaki sauce without compromising taste. Additionally, low-sodium soy sauce in homemade teriyaki sauce can help reduce sodium intake.

3.2. Teriyaki Chicken’s Impact on Overall Health

Making your own teriyaki chicken at home lets you control exactly what goes on in your body. High levels of sodium can negatively affect people with certain conditions, such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)3.

Making your own teriyaki sauce with low-sodium ingredients ensures you consume a healthier version. When served with brown rice and stir-fried vegetables, teriyaki chicken can provide a balanced meal full of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. The key to making dishes like these healthy is moderation.

4. Healthy Teriyaki Chicken Tips

is teriyaki chicken healthy
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4.1. Add More Vegetables

Incorporating different types of vegetables into your dish. Stirred vegetables with a dash of spring onions can make it more nutritious and add color and flavor variety to the great recipe, as well as extra fiber that promotes digestive health.

4.2. Choose Lean Protein Sources

Though chicken thighs bring tenderness, chicken breasts harbor the ability to retain that savory teriyaki sauce too. Chicken breasts are leaner than thigh meat and, while still providing good taste, can be great for those with a balanced diet.

If you’re a vegetarian or just want more plant-based diets in your life, tofu is an amazing alternative to chicken pieces that will provide similar textures as chicken when pressed and marinated.

4.3. Implementing Whole Grains

White rice is delicious, however substituting it with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or farro will not only add more flavor but also give the recipe that satisfying texture to complete the teriyaki chicken recipe.

5. A Balanced Meal Pairing for Making Teriyaki Chicken Healthier

is teriyaki chicken healthy
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5.1. Adding Sides of Greens

To boost the dish’s nutritional value, teriyaki chicken healthier with greens on the side does wonders. Leafy greens like spinach and kale offer vitamins A, C, and K, minerals iron, and calcium4 which are all essential things needed for your body.

These greens add volume to the dish without adding extra calories, so it’s also great if you’re trying to lose weight.

5.2. Incorporating Healthful Fat

It may sound weird, but fats are very important to your body. They help absorb fat-soluble vitamins and provide the necessary fatty acids for health. Add avocado slices, bell pepper, sprinkle sesame seeds, and sesame oil in your vegetable stir fry or some toasted sesame seeds onto your plate to get these beneficial fats into your meal.

5.3. Mindful Cooking Techniques

Knowing how to cook healthy is half of what makes a meal … well, a nutritious meal or healthy. First, start by thinking about how you will cook the meal. Grilling, baking, stir-frying, or even frying with quality oil will minimize excess fat added to the dish while keeping it wholesome.

When cooking veggies, use medium-high heat only for short amounts of time. The medium-high heat will keep veggies crispy and bright (will not mush them). Leaving vegetables mushy causes the loss of nutrients that are great for your body.

6. Summary of Teriyaki Chicken’s Health Profile

All in all, teriyaki chicken can be a healthy and delicious dish when prepared correctly. Home-cooked versions using skinless chicken breasts, homemade sauce with low sodium and controlled sugar, and balanced sides help make this dish more nutritional while keeping its taste.

Don’t forget to experiment with other vegetables and cooking methods to keep things interesting and fun for your taste buds!

  1. Arreola R, Quintero-Fabián S, López-Roa RI, Flores-Gutiérrez EO, Reyes-Grajeda JP, Carrera-Quintanar L, Ortuño-Sahagún D. Immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic compounds. J Immunol Res. 2015;2015:401630. doi: 10.1155/2015/401630. Epub 2015 Apr 19. PMID: 25961060; PMCID: PMC4417560. ↩︎
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Last Updated on by Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology


Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology

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