Robin's Healthy Take: Revamped Chicken Wings

Robin's sons love chicken wings, but those served at restaurants aren't exactly health food, so she came up with a healthier baked version of classic chicken wings.

My boys love chicken wings – mild, medium, hot – ALL chicken wings. During our recent summer vacation, I let them order wings at our favorite oceanfront restaurant almost every day. I knew they weren’t healthy, but they’re active little boys (on the run 12 hours per day, especially at the beach) so they were considered a special treat. I decided to check the nutrition stats when we got home and, although I know wings aren’t “health food,” I was still shocked at the amount of calories, fat and salt in an appetizer portion. One appetizer dishes up half of your day’s calories and two days worth of fat and salt. And, my guess is, most folks that eat wings aren’t chasing them with hours of body surfing, castle-building and paddle ball. Behold the gory details:

Regular Chicken Wings, Individual Appetizer (numbers vary depending on the sauce and restaurant):

Calories: 700-1200
Total Fat: 30-90 grams
Saturated Fat: 15-24 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 4-101 grams
Sugars: NA
Protein: 39-72 grams
Sodium: 2350-4450 milligrams
Cholesterol: 267 milligrams
Fiber: 1-7 grams

Since my boys adore wings, I decided to do a recipe revamp. They’re mildly spicy, baked not fried and just as crispy as the restaurant version. And because I bake the wings and drumettes on a baking rack, a ton of fat drips away. As a result, calories and fat have been tremendously slashed.

A few notes about my recipe:

Marinate: I like to marinate the chicken wings in the egg white-hot sauce mixture – sometimes up to 24 hours. You   can do that, or cook them right away.

Dip: I serve my chicken wings with fat-free ranch dressing, but if you want a healthy, homemade version of the blue cheese dip, combine 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream, 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese and 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives. Mix well and serve on the side. Nutrition information is below.

Extra Heat: My boys like to drizzle extra hot sauce over the wings after they come out of the oven. That’s a personal preference, but feel free to do the same.

Baked Chicken Wings With Ranch Dip
Cooking spray
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup hot sauce, such as Crystal or Frank’s
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds chicken wings and drumettes, wing tips trimmed and discarded if necessary

1/2 cup fat free ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a baking rack on top of a large baking sheet and spray rack with cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together egg whites, hot sauce and black pepper. Add chicken wings and drumettes and turn to coat. Transfer chicken to prepared baking rack and bake 45-50 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and skin is crispy.

Serve chicken wings and drumettes with ranch dip on the side.

Serves 4
Nutrition Info Per Serving (serving size: 5 wings/drumettes)
Calories: 261
Total Fat: 13.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 3.6 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 8 grams
Sugars: 2 grams
Protein: 26 grams
Sodium: 681 milligrams
Cholesterol: 73 milligrams
Fiber: <1 gram

Nutrition Info Per Serving for Blue Cheese Dip (serving size: 3 tablespoons)

Calories: 36
Total Fat: 1 gram
Saturated Fat: <1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 5 grams
Sugars: 0 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 99 milligrams
Cholesterol: 6 milligrams
Fiber: 0 grams

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