Macro Insight: The Nutritional Breakdown of Chicken Thighs

Chicken has become a popular staple in most households for its richness in protein and affordability. Though many love the taste of chicken, not all of us are conversant with the nutritional value of each part of the bird. And chicken thighs, in particular, have become the desired cut for most people due to their tenderness and flavor. But do we know how healthy they are? This macro insight will help us understand the nutritional breakdown of chicken thighs – the vitamins and minerals they contain, the calories, and the role they play in a balanced diet. Let’s jump right in!

Understanding Chicken Nutrition: A Macro Look At It

Chicken is one of the most popular and versatile sources of protein available, but many people may not fully understand the nutritional breakdown of this popular food. Depending on the cut, preparation, and whether or not the skin is included, the calories in chicken can vary widely.

For those looking to maximize their protein intake while minimizing their fat intake, boneless, skinless chicken breast is the leanest option available. An 8-ounce serving contains only 220 calories and a whopping 50 grams of protein, making it an ideal choice for those following a high-protein diet.

Understanding Chicken Nutrition

However, other cuts of chicken, such as thighs and wings, can also provide a good balance of protein and fat, although they may contain slightly more calories. For example, a 3.5-ounce serving of chicken thigh contains 179 calories, 24.8 grams of protein, and 8.2 grams of fat.

It’s important to note that when cooking chicken, the weight of the meat will change due to water loss. For example, an 8-ounce serving of raw chicken breast will become approximately 6 ounces once cooked.

By understanding the nutritional breakdown of different cuts of chicken, individuals can make informed choices about their protein intake and overall nutrition. With its versatility and high protein content, chicken remains a great option for those looking to maintain a healthy diet.

Why Chicken Is A Popular Protein Source: Nutritional Benefits?

Chicken is a popular source of protein due to its impressive nutritional benefits. It is packed with high amounts of high-quality protein, essential for building and repairing muscles. Additionally, chicken is low in fat and carbohydrates, making it a great option for those who want to maintain a healthy diet. Chicken breasts, in particular, are a great choice for people watching their calorie intake since they have the least amount of fat compared to other cuts of chicken. Chicken thighs, on the other hand, come with a little more fat but still have a significant amount of protein content. Furthermore, chicken is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, niacin, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients play a vital role in maintaining good health and supporting the immune system. Additionally, consuming chicken can help maintain healthy bones, lower the risk of heart disease, and provide a sense of satiety. Therefore, chicken continues to be a popular choice for people following high-protein diets, athletes, and anyone looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Chicken Thighs: More Fat, More Flavor, And More Protein

Chicken thighs may have more fat, but they also have more flavor and protein. A skinless, boneless, cooked chicken thigh weighs around 91 grams and contains 19 grams of fat, 252 calories, and 26 grams of protein. Though it may be higher in fat, it is still considered a healthy protein source as long as it is consumed in moderation. The fat content is primarily in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for the heart. Eating chicken thighs also provides iron, phosphorous, and potassium which help keep muscles healthy and support essential body functions. Preparing chicken thighs is easy and can be done by baking, grilling, or pan-searing. One delicious way to prepare chicken thighs is by rubbing them with a mixture of garlic, paprika, and cumin before placing them in the oven. This cut of meat can be used in a variety of dishes, from chicken tikka masala to barbecue chicken. Overall, chicken thighs are a tasty and nutritious source of protein that can be a great addition to any meal plan.

Calories And Macros Of Bone-in Split Chicken Breast

Bone-in split chicken breast is a popular chicken cut known for its great taste and high protein content. However, many people don’t realize that the number of calories and macros in the bone-in split chicken breast can vary depending on how it is prepared and cooked. When examining raw chicken breast that is bone-in and split, an 8-ounce serving contains 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbs, and 52 grams of protein. This is slightly less lean than boneless, skinless chicken breast and has a higher fat content due to the presence of the skin. It’s important to note that when cooking bone-in split chicken breast, the weight of the meat may change due to water loss, so the actual weight of cooked chicken may vary. Despite this, bone-in split chicken breast remains a healthy choice for individuals looking to up their protein intake, provided the skin is removed before cooking. It’s a great alternative for those who prefer the taste and texture of dark meat.

Raw Vs. Cooked Chicken: How To Measure Servings And Calories

When measuring servings of chicken, it’s important to consider whether you’re looking at raw or cooked chicken. Nutrition labels for raw chicken will display the weight of the chicken in its raw state, while cooked chicken will weigh less due to the loss of water weight during cooking. As a general rule, the cooked chicken will weigh about 25% less than its raw weight. This means that cooking 4 ounces of raw chicken breast will become approximately 6 ounces of grilled chicken breast. When measuring cooked chicken, it’s important to consider the loss of water weight to ensure accurate measurements and calorie counts. Keep in mind that chicken calories can vary depending on the cut, preparation, size, and presence of skin. Chicken breast is one of the leanest cuts, with skinless, boneless chicken breast containing only 220 calories per 8-ounce serving and 50 grams of protein. Other cuts, like chicken thighs and wings, may contain more fat and calories, so it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and preparation methods when incorporating chicken into your diet.

The Leanest Cut Of Chicken: Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

Boneless skinless chicken breast is one of the leanest cuts of chicken available, making it a popular choice for those watching their calorie and fat intake. It is high in protein, with approximately 80% of its calories coming from protein, and low in fat, containing zero carbs. One skinless, boneless cooked chicken breast weighing 172 grams provides 165 calories, 31 grams of protein, and 3.6 grams of fat. It is important to note that these nutritional values refer to a plain chicken breast with no added ingredients. Once cooked with oil or added sauces, calories, carbs, and fat increase.

In comparison to other cuts of chicken, chicken breast is the best option for those looking to maximize their protein intake without excessive fat intake. For example, skinless chicken thighs contain more fat than skinless chicken breasts. Overall, boneless skinless chicken breast is a healthy and versatile choice for those following a healthy diet and fitness regime.

Exploring Other Chicken Cuts’ Calorie Count: Tenderloins, Wings, Drumsticks, And Back

1. Chicken Tenderloin

  • 100g of chicken tenderloins contain 83 calories, 19g of protein, and 0.9g of fat.

2. Chicken Wings

  • One whole chicken wing contains 43 calories, 6g of protein, and 1.7g of fat.
  • One fried chicken wing (28g) contains 100 calories, 9g of protein, and 7g of fat.

3. Chicken Drumsticks

  • One chicken drumstick (44g) contains 76 calories, 9g of protein, and 4g of fat.
  • One fried chicken drumstick (44g) contains 150 calories, 11g of protein, and 10g of fat.

4. Chicken Back

  • One chicken back (50g) contains 117 calories, 17g of protein, and 5g of fat.
  • One fried chicken back (50g) contains 254 calories, 17g of protein, and 21g of fat.

Overall, chicken is a great source of lean protein with minimal fat content. However, when choosing other cuts, such as wings and drumsticks, it’s important to keep an eye on the cooking method as deep-frying can significantly increase the calorie and fat content. Opting for skinless chicken cuts and roasting or grilling them can help keep the calorie count low. Chicken tenderloins are one of the lowest-calorie chicken cuts, making them a good choice for those looking to watch their calorie intake.

The Impact Of Skin On Chicken Thighs’ Calorie And Fat Content

Chicken is a popular cut of chicken due to its tenderness and flavor. However, it has a higher fat content than chicken breast, which impacts its nutritional value. One skinless, boneless cooked chicken thigh contains 179 calories, 24.8 grams of protein, and 8.2 grams of fat. This means that 55% of the calories come from protein, while 45% come from fat. When compared to chicken breast, chicken thigh contains more calories and fat. However, skin presence further increases chicken thigh’s calorie and fat content. One skinless, boneless chicken thigh with skin contains 209 calories and 10.9 grams of fat, while a skin-on chicken thigh contains 320 calories and 24 grams of fat. This is a significant difference and should be taken into consideration when choosing chicken thigh as a protein source. Although it is true that the skin adds flavor and moisture to the meat, it also increases the calorie and fat content. Therefore, skinless chicken thigh is the way to go for those looking for a leaner protein option.

Maximizing Protein Intake With Chicken: Nutritional Breakdown Tips

1. Choosing the Right Cut: Not all chicken is created equal when it comes to maximizing protein intake. Skinless, boneless chicken breast is the leanest cut, with minimal fat and maximum protein. Chicken thighs are slightly higher in fat but still a great source of protein.

2. Measuring Servings: When measuring chicken, it’s important to note that the nutrition label displays the weight of the raw chicken. After cooking, the weight will decrease by roughly 25%. For example, 4 ounces of raw chicken breast becomes 6 ounces when cooked.

3. Skin-On vs. Skinless: Eating chicken with the skin on adds significant calories and fat to the meal. For example, a skinless chicken wing has 43 calories compared to a wing with skin, which has 86 calories.

4. Cooking Methods: How you cook your chicken can also impact its nutritional value. Grilling, baking, or roasting are healthier options compared to frying, which can add extra calories and fat.

5. Portion Control: While chicken is a great source of protein, it’s important to monitor portion sizes. Aim for a serving size of 3 to 4 ounces, about the size of your palm.

6. Nutrient-Dense Additions: Add nutrient-dense ingredients to your chicken dishes, like vegetables or whole grains, to boost the overall nutritional value of the meal.

7. Chicken-Based Meals: Chicken is a versatile protein that can be used in a variety of meals, from salads to stir-fries. Incorporating chicken into your meals can help you maximize protein intake while enjoying various flavors.

8. Avoid Processed Chicken: Processed chicken products like nuggets or patties can contain added sugars and preservatives, making them less healthy options compared to a fresh, whole chicken.

9. Don’t Forget About Dark Meat: While chicken breast is a popular choice for protein, don’t overlook the benefits of dark meat. Chicken thighs and drumsticks can be just as nutritious and flavorful.

10. Balancing Macro Intake: Remember to balance protein intake with carbohydrates and fats for a healthy diet. Chicken can be a great source of protein, but it’s important also to include a variety of other nutrient-dense foods in your diet.


Q: How many calories are in a chicken thigh?

A: A skinless, boneless cooked chicken thigh (116 g) contains 179 calories.

Q: Is chicken thigh high in protein?

A: A 3.5-oz serving of chicken thigh provides 24.8 g of protein.

Q: How much fat does chicken thigh have?

A: A skinless, boneless cooked chicken thigh (116 g) has 8.2 g of fat.

Q: What is the calorie breakdown for chicken thigh?

A: Approximately 55% of the calories in chicken thighs come from protein, and 45% come from fat.

Q: How does chicken thigh compare to chicken breast in terms of calories and protein?

A: Chicken thigh is slightly higher in calories and fat than chicken breast but still a good source of protein.

Q: Can chicken thighs be part of a healthy diet?

A: Yes, as long as it is skinless and cooked in a healthy way (e.g., grilled or baked instead of fried).

Q: How does the nutritional value of different chicken cuts compare?

A: Each chicken cut (breast, thigh, wing, drumstick, etc.) has a different calorie and protein/fat ratio, so it’s important to consider the nutritional information for each cut.

Q: What are some other tips for incorporating chicken into a healthy diet?

A: Choose skinless cuts, avoid frying, and pair with vegetables and whole grains for a balanced meal. It’s also important to vary protein sources and not rely solely on chicken.


Chicken thighs are a flavorful and versatile option for those looking for a high-protein meal. While they contain more fat than chicken breast, they are still a lean source of protein that can fit into a balanced diet. It is important to note that the skinless and boneless chicken thigh is a healthier option than the skin-on and bone-in version, as the latter contains significantly more fat and calories. Overall, an average serving of chicken thigh, whether boneless or bone-in, contains around 180-200 calories and 20-25 grams of protein. Chicken thighs can provide a satisfying and nourishing meal when paired with nutrient-dense vegetables and whole grains. As with any food, it is important to pay attention to portion sizes and preparation methods, such as avoiding deep frying or excessive breading, in order to keep the meal as healthy as possible. With its delicious taste and numerous health benefits, the chicken thigh is an excellent choice for a high-protein meal.

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