Rotisserie chicken: What’s the trade off?

In my last three articles about rotisserie chicken I explored both the good and the bad points of a rotisserie chicken.

The goods: it’s quick and ready-to-eat; if you’re a careful shopper the price is fairly reasonable; it is definitely cheaper than a restaurant meal!

The bads: nutritionally they are high in sodium; some chickens are not as large as they appear and you’re not getting the same value for a small chicken. Boneless chicken breasts could yield more meat per pound and may be less expensive when purchased on sale.

So does this mean you should never eat a rotisserie chicken again?

Couple options: someday when you’re not hungry or in a hurry, check the nutrition label and sodium content on rotisserie chicken at several different stores, glance at the net weights to compare to the price. This way, when you do want to buy one you’ll make good decisions on the size and sodium content and you can avoid those with the highest amount of sodium.

Also, remember chicken isn’t the only thing on the menu, too. Can you offset the amount of sodium by serving it with other foods that are very low sodium such as a plain baked or microwaved potato (24 mg. of sodium) and steamed-in-a-bag green beans (0 mg)?

On the other hand, how does it compare to a frozen dinner? A comparable baked chicken breast frozen dinner with mashed potatoes has 760 mg. of sodium.
Careful shopping and menu planning can include rotisserie chicken as part of your family’s meal plan.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus,
The Ohio State UniversityRoasted Chicken Photo

More than just simple roasted chicken

In my last couple of blog posts, I’ve been addressing the topic of rotisserie chicken. You can’t beat them for their convenience. But you know the saying, “if it’s too good to be true it probably is”. They aren’t just simply a roasted chicken.

While many companies label them no added steroids or no hormones, they all seem to have some added seasoning or flavoring. What’s in the seasoning? This tends to vary from store to store, but the items most listed are: salt, maltodextrin, natural flavors, food starch and spices.

These seasonings add more than flavor. Nutritionally, the major difference between a home roasted chicken is the amount of sodium in the final product. According to the USDA a roasted chicken contains 72 mg of sodium for 4 ounces of meat. The nutrition facts labels on several rotisseries chickens showed the sodium content ranged from 613 mg to 884 mg for the same amount of chicken.

The MyPlate recommendations for Americans on sodium say everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Adults age 51 and older, African Americans of any age and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should further reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day. A small serving of roasted chicken can easily be a half day’s supply for most people.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University