Regardless of whether you are looking for a quick bite to eat or wanting to serve up something easy at your next potluck, Buffalo wings are a definite crowd pleaser. Although these bite-sized favorites are made up of primarily chicken wings and spices, the process by which they are prepared – or the accompaniments they are served with – could introduce extra saturated fat and calories into your cholesterol-lowering diet. These healthy tips will show you how to include these traditional appetizers at your next gathering – without sabotaging your cholesterol-lowering efforts.
Avoid Deep-Frying Your Pieces
If you order Buffalo wings in a restaurant, it is most likely that the pieces are deep-fried. By deep frying the chicken wings, you are adding extra saturated fat and trans fat to the pieces. Grilling or baking the chicken wings in the oven is the best method to prepare them, as this can prevent extra fat being added to the chicken. Additionally, preparing them in this manner does not take away from the desired end result: the delicious taste. The following recipes will show you a couple of alternative methods to prepare your buffalo wings that will not greatly affect your heart health:
Watch Your Marinade
Tabasco, honey mustard, vinegar and other sauces containing varying degrees of cayenne pepper and spices, which are generally fat-free and will not adversely affect your cholesterol levels. Sometimes, however, the Buffalo wings may use sauces that are made from butter or margarine. Since these ingredients can add fat to your dish, you should minimize or omit this if you are watching your cholesterol. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prepare and apply delicious sauces to your pieces and still keep your buffalo wings cholesterol-friendly. The following recipes are a good place to start:
Pay Attention to Your Dipping Sauces
Dipping sauces – which are typically served on the side – are also used to add extra flavor. Unfortunately, these dips can also be another source of added fat. Cream-based dips, which are usually higher in saturated fat, should be limited or avoided if you are watching your cholesterol. These dips would include ranch or blue cheese dressing. There are many low-fat alternatives to these dips, so if you opt to purchase a dip instead of making your own, make sure that you consult the food label on the container and check the saturated fat and calorie content. Alternatively, you can also easily prepare one of these healthier dips:
Do You Have to Use Chicken Wings?
In short answer, no. You can have many other foods – besides chicken wings - at your disposal. You can cut up chicken breast or pieces of fish, such as tilapia or halibut, and prepare them in the same healthy manner that you would prepare your chicken wings. Additionally, you can go completely meatless by preparing products such as seitan and tofu, which are derived from wheat gluten and soy, respectively.
Don’t Forget the Crudités
Crudités, or crisp vegetables, are often served with Buffalo wings. Unfortunately, they are also often neglected. By consuming these vegetables, you are adding extra fiber and nutrients into your diet. These crisp vegetables, which typically include carrots, bell peppers, and celery cut into strips, can be just as delicious as the buffalo wings and can be served with the same healthy, low-fat dip.