Chicken drumsticks are a popular and delicious part of the chicken. Many people enjoy eating drumsticks for their taste, convenience, and nutritional value. However, some people may wonder just how many calories are contained in a large baked chicken drumstick. This article will provide a detailed breakdown of the calorie and nutrient content of a typical large baked chicken drumstick.
On average, one large baked chicken drumstick (about 113g) contains approximately:
- 185 calories
- 9g fat
- 0g carbs
- 27g protein
So a large baked drumstick contains a significant amount of protein and relatively low amounts of fat and carbohydrates. The exact calorie count may vary slightly depending on factors like the brand, size, cooking method, and additions like skin or breading.
Calories in Chicken Drumsticks
The calorie content of chicken drumsticks depends on a few key factors:
- Size – Larger drumsticks contain more calories. An average large drumstick weighs around 113g.
- Cooking method – Baked chicken has fewer calories than fried. Baking allows fat to drip away while frying seals in more fat and calories.
- Skin – The skin contains fat so drumsticks cooked with the skin on have 50-100 more calories than skinless.
- Additions – Ingredients like breading or sauce add calories. Plain baked drumsticks have the fewest calories.
- Brand – Nutrition can vary slightly between different brands and chicken types like organic, free-range, etc.
According to the USDA, a 100g serving of roasted, skinless chicken drumstick (about 3.5oz) contains:
So a large drumstick at around 113g would contain about 185 calories, along with around 9g fat and 27g protein. The exact amount can vary but this gives a reasonable estimate for calorie counting purposes.
Calories versus Protein and Nutrients
When considering the calories in chicken drumsticks, it’s also helpful to look at the nutrition they provide. Here’s how the calories and main nutrients in a large drumstick break down:
- 185 calories – A drumstick is relatively low in calories compared to some other protein and meat options.
- 9g fat – The fat content is moderate and a healthy type from poultry. Much of it can be removed by removing the skin.
- 0g carbs – Chicken contains no carbs, making drumsticks a great low-carb option.
- 27g protein – Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. Protein helps keep you full and satisfied.
In addition to being a good protein source, chicken drumsticks contain:
- B Vitamins like niacin, B6, and pantothenic acid
- Minerals like selenium and phosphorus
- Some iron, magnesium, zinc and copper
So while they aren’t the lowest calorie option around, drumsticks provide important nutrients in relatively few calories. This makes them a healthy and well-rounded food choice as part of a balanced diet.
Comparing Drumstick Calories to Other Protein Sources
Below is a comparison of the calories in a large baked chicken drumstick to some other high protein foods:
|Food||Serving Size||Calories||Protein (g)|
|Ground beef (15% fat)||113g||295||22|
As you can see, a chicken drumstick has a similar amount of calories and protein as other protein-rich foods. The drumstick is lower in calories than an equal serving of ground beef but more than tofu or lentils. So it’s a nice middle ground option.
How to Reduce Calories in Chicken Drumsticks
For those watching their calorie intake, there are easy ways to reduce the number of calories in chicken drumsticks:
- Remove the skin – The skin contains about 50 extra calories so take it off before or after cooking.
- Use lower-fat cooking methods – Grilling, roasting, baking or air-frying are healthiest. Avoid frying.
- Watch portions – Stick to a drumstick or two and avoid overeating.
- Avoid breading/battering – Breadcrumbs or batter add unnecessary fat and calories.
- Use lower-calorie sauces or rubs – Opt for lighter ingredients like mustard, herbs and spices.
- Eat with vegetables – Pair with non-starchy veggies to add volume and nutrients without many calories.
With some simple substitutions and smart cooking techniques, you can enjoy the great taste of drumsticks while controlling calorie intake.
Health Benefits of Chicken Drumsticks
Chicken drumsticks aren’t just tasty – they also provide great health benefits, including:
- Lean protein – Chicken is an excellent high-quality protein source that helps build muscle, repair tissue and boost metabolism.
- Vitamins and minerals – Drumsticks provide B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus and other nutrients the body needs.
- Heart health – Compared to red meat, chicken contains less saturated fat that can raise cholesterol.
- Weight control – The protein keeps you full and satisfied on fewer calories to support weight loss.
- Muscle maintenance – The ample protein in drumsticks helps maintain lean muscle mass, especially as we age.
So chicken drumsticks provide lots of nutrition in addition to their great taste. Keeping calories in a healthy range, chicken makes a smart diet choice.
Tips for Preparing Healthy Chicken Drumsticks
Here are some easy tips for preparing chicken drumsticks at home in a healthy way:
- When buying drumsticks, look for ones that are fresh and free of blemishes.
- Rinse drumsticks under cold water and pat dry before cooking.
- For crispier skin, let drumsticks air dry in the fridge uncovered overnight before cooking.
- Use a meat thermometer and cook until drumsticks reach 165°F internal temperature.
- Season simply with herbs, spices, garlic, mustard or other low-calorie flavors.
- Bake, grill or air-fry drumsticks to make them crispy outside and juicy inside.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours and use within 3-4 days.
With the right prep and cooking methods, you can enjoy healthy and delicious chicken drumsticks anytime.
Are chicken drumsticks high in calories?
No, chicken drumsticks are actually relatively low in calories compared to other protein and meat options. A large drumstick has around 185 calories. While not the lowest calorie food around, they are a great source of lean protein and nutrients for the number of calories.
What part of the chicken is the drumstick?
Chicken drumsticks come from the lower portion of the chicken leg. They consist of the meaty upper part of the leg bone along with a portion of the thigh meat attached. The drumstick bone is somewhat rounded which distinguishes it from the narrower lower leg bone.
Is a chicken leg the same as a drumstick?
No, chicken legs and drumsticks are two different parts of the chicken anatomy. A drumstick is just the upper portion of the chicken leg. Chicken legs include both the drumstick and the lower leg portion. Legs are therefore slightly larger and contain more calories than drumsticks alone.
Are baked or grilled chicken drumsticks healthy?
Yes, baked or grilled drumsticks can be a very healthy choice. These cooking methods avoid adding a lot of extra fat, calories or other unhealthy ingredients. Choose drumsticks without skin or remove it before eating to reduce fat and calories. Season them simply and pair with vegetables for a nutritious low-calorie meal.
How many calories should I eat per day?
The number of calories you should eat per day depends on many factors like your age, gender, activity level and weight goals. A general recommendation is around 2,000 calories per day for adult women and 2,500 for adult men to maintain weight. Eating 500 calories less than your needs is a sustainable way to lose about 1 pound per week.