One of the most common questions people have when they are trying to lose weight is “How do I go about doing so?”. You can try many different diets to see which one works best for you. However, not all diets work well, and some may even have adverse effects on your health. The chicken and broccoli diet is one such diet that has been circulating the internet as a way to help people lose weight supposedly without having any adverse effects on their health. This article will discuss what this diet entails, its pros and cons and if it’s worth giving it a try or not.
What Is The Chicken And Broccoli Diet?
To lose weight, one must be committed to following a diet plan that not only decreases caloric intake but also consists of nutritional foods (6). In the chicken and broccoli diet, you will be consuming approximately 1100 calories per day. Not only are these calories low in number, but they consist mostly of lean proteins and vegetables, with very few carbohydrates.
An alternative to this is the chicken, brown rice, and broccoli diet. You will be consuming approximately 1200 calories, consisting mostly of lean proteins and vegetables and a few more carbohydrates than the chicken and broccoli diet.
What Do You Eat On The Chicken and Broccoli Diet Plan?
The chicken and broccoli diet typically consists of a shorter 10-14 days plan. On the first day of the plan, you would eat broccoli and unsweetened black tea for breakfast, a grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables like broccoli or spinach for lunch, and another grilled chicken breast along with more steamed vegetables for dinner. This cycle continues throughout the entire diet plan. Both chicken and broccoli offer essential nutrition.
Chicken Breast (100 grams) (3):
- Calories (143 kcal)
- Protein (24 g)
- Fat (3.12 g)
- Carbohydrates (2.68 g)
- Notable vitamins – Vitamin B 6 (30% of daily value)
Broccoli (1 cup/ 90 grams) (2):
- Calories (30.9 kcal)
- Water (89%)
- Protein (2.57 g)
- Fat (0.34 g)
- Carbohydrates (6 g)
- Notable vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C (90%) Vitamin A (19%) Vitamin K (77%) Folate (14%), Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Iron (4-6%)
Does The Chicken Breast And Broccoli Diet Work?
On this diet, your caloric intake is very low, which leads to weight loss in almost anyone who follows this type of meal pattern. However, many people will notice that they lose water weight due to a lack of calories rather than losing fat mass. Therefore, when they return to their normal eating habits, most likely, they will regain the weight that was lost.
Pros Of The Chicken And Broccoli Diet
There are several pros of this diet:
- Low In Calories
The chicken and broccoli diet is a great way to limit your caloric intake. Consuming 1100 calories a day will create a daily calorie deficit of 500-1000 which might allow you to lose 1-2 pounds per week if your maintenance calorie needs are between 1600-2100 (11).
- High Amount Of Protein
This type of diet plan consists mostly of lean proteins, which are high in the essential amino acids needed by our bodies (7).
- Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
Grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, and unsweetened black teas all provide your body with different types of vitamins and minerals that it needs to function properly while also helping you to lose weight and stay healthy.
- Easy To Follow
One thing many diets lack is simplicity. This type of meal pattern is easy to follow and is simple to prepare.
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Cons Of The Chicken And Broccoli Diet
There are also several cons of this diet:
- Leaves Out Essential Nutrients
By only eating 1100 calories a day and by eating a limited variety of foods, you may be depriving your body of essential nutrients that it needs to function properly. This leaves you at risk for nutrient deficiencies.
Eating the same foods over and over again can become tedious after a while. This will eventually lead you to crave different types of food, which could make it more difficult for you to stick with this type of meal pattern.
- Temporary Weight Loss
Most people who lose weight on this type of diet plan experience temporary weight loss. When they revert to their normal eating habits, they will likely gain most, if not all, of the weight that was lost back (9).
- Low Energy
If you are constantly consuming low amounts of calories throughout the day, then chances are your energy levels will be very low as well. You won’t have enough energy to exercise or do much else besides go about daily life, and, eventually, this will make you feel exhausted.
- Can Lead To Disordered Eating Patterns
When people constantly deny themselves from eating what they want, over time it can lead them to develop disordered eating patterns, such as binge eating disorder or anorexia nervosa (4). For any type of restrictive meal pattern to be safe, it must be done in moderation and only for a short period. Some people may also need medical supervision, so always discuss your diet plans with your doctor.
Healthy Alternatives To The Chicken, Rice, And Broccoli Diet
There are healthy alternatives to the original chicken, rice, and broccoli diet, so you can continue to enjoy these three ingredients without getting bored or hungry enough to cheat on your diet.
Here are some healthy alternatives to the chicken, rice, and broccoli diet:
Moderate Calorie Reduction
By reducing your calorie intake a little, you are less likely to slow down your metabolism, which tends to happen with more dramatic calorie restriction. Therefore, it would be ideal to reduce your daily caloric intake by 250–500 calories for better results (8). This could mean that instead of having 3 meals per day, you might have 5-6 smaller meals or snacks throughout the day.
A balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates, and fat is what your body needs to function properly. Carbohydrates provide glucose (energy) needed by our bodies, while proteins help with repairing muscles, and fats have many functions.
Varying your meals every day will make it easier to stick to your diet. It also encourages the consumption of different kinds of foods which are more helpful in losing weight than just eating chicken, rice, and broccoli for seven consecutive days. This doesn’t mean that you should only eat salads or drink juice for a week. You can vary your daily meals with simple easy recipes but still include the three main sources of lean protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat.
Occasionally Indulging In Treats
By allowing yourself a cheat meal every week or so, you won’t feel deprived of this diet plan and may even enjoy it more than if you had this plan daily. Although it may seem difficult, you must remind yourself that “a cheat meal is just that – a treat in moderation”. You can have your favorite food or even junk food but in small portions.
Lifting More Weights
Lifting weights is a great way to speed up your metabolism and lose weight (5). Also by lifting weights that are challenging for you can tone and define your muscles, which in turn decreases body fat and increases muscle mass that all adds up to weight loss.
Doing Cardio Frequently
Cardio helps burn calories while also improving cardiovascular health. It should be done at least three times per week since it greatly contributes to burning more calories than strength training alone (1). You can choose from activities such as running or walking depending on your current abilities. However, we highly recommend running because this exercise builds endurance faster than any other form of cardio.
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Chicken And Broccoli Diet Recipes And Meal Ideas
Keep in mind that you don’t have to follow the original chicken, rice, and broccoli diet. You can change it up a little bit and include other types of foods!
Here are some healthy recipes using these three ingredients:
Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta
If you want to go ahead with a pasta dish, then this one has about 476 calories per serving.
- 500 g (1 lb) boneless chicken thighs chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 garlic cloves crushed/minced
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2-3 cups broccoli sliced into small florets
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 500 g (1 lb) pasta cooked + 1 cup cooking water reserved
- Bring a large pan to high heat.
- Pour a few teaspoons of olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Wait until the chicken turns brown in a pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the butter and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- In a saucepan, combine the cream, thyme, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the chicken and broccoli. Cover partially and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in the Parmesan and simmer for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the pasta to the pan and enough of the reserved cooking water if necessary. The cream sauce should be well-coated with the pasta.
- Serve right away.
Chicken And Broccoli Soup (10)
If you want to remove the carbs from your dinner, then this soup is for you. It’s a quick and simple recipe that will let you have a delicious meal without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. The amount of calories in one serving of this recipe is also suitable for a healthy breakfast or lunch.
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil or butter, as preferred
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced/chopped into bite-size pieces
- ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or water) + 2 cups filtered water for the chicken base
- 6 ounces cooked chicken shredded or cut into small cubes
- 4 cups broccoli florets roughly chopped into bite-size pieces (you can also use cauliflower if you prefer) ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated plus extra to serve on top of each serving if desired and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil or butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook until softened (about five minutes). Stir in the mushrooms, thyme, and broth (or water) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add two cups of filtered water and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add chicken, broccoli, and cheese; stir until cheese has melted and combined with other ingredients. Season with pepper if desired (salt may not be necessary because of the saltiness of Parmesan cheese). Divide among four bowls and serve immediately while hot!
This recipe is courtesy of iheartthenewme.com.
Chicken And Broccoli Stir-Fry (10)
If you want to cook your chicken and broccoli, then this stir fry is for you. It’s quick, simple, and will let you have a delicious meal in just 30 minutes!
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup green peas (optional)
- 2-3 boneless chicken thighs chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 3 green onions sliced into small rounds
- Whisk together the soy sauce, cornstarch/tapioca flour, and ¼ cup water. Set aside. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook for about four minutes until browned. Stir constantly to ensure even cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Add a little more oil if needed, then add the broccoli and green peas (if using) and cook on high heat until broccoli is tender-crisp (about five minutes).
- Return the chicken into the pan and stir in the sauce to evenly coat everything. Let it cook for about three minutes or until thickened to your liking.
- Serve immediately over rice if desired (we didn’t) and garnish with green onions.
This recipe is courtesy of iheartthenewme.com.
The chicken and broccoli diet may be effective for some people as a short-term weight loss solution, but it is not something to use as a long-term strategy that focuses on improving your overall health. The best way to lose weight safely is by following a balanced meal plan with proper portion control that consists of healthy foods from all food groups. This will help you maintain your new weight long-term without having to worry about any negative side effects on your health.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults (2017, nih.gov)
- Broccoli, raw (2019, usda.gov)
- Chicken Breast (2019, usda.gov)
- Dietary Restriction Behaviors and Binge Eating in Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder: Trans-diagnostic Examination of the Restraint Model (2015, pubmed.gov)
- Effect of strength training on resting metabolic rate and physical activity: age and gender comparisons (2001, pubmed.gov)
- Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method of weight loss (2007, pubmed.gov)
- Protein – Which is Best? (2004, nih.gov)
- Rate of weight loss can be predicted by patient characteristics and intervention strategies (2011, nih.gov)
- Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight (2017, nih.gov)
- The Chicken and Broccoli Diet (n.d., iheartthenewme.com)
- Weight loss: 6 strategies for success (2019, mayoclinic.org)