One of the key points of making healthier food is by switching to healthier ingredients. However, this is also one of the most confusing parts of healthy eating and food preparation, especially with more limited ingredients such as poultry meat. After all, there are only a few choices that are usually available when it comes to picking poultry.
When it comes to small poultry birds, you have two main options: chicken and duck. Both options are readily available in most supermarkets and whatever recipe works with chicken almost always works with duck. That much is obvious, but we’re asking the more important question today: which one is the healthier choice between the two?
Let’s take a look at both options and see what each tasty bird has to offer.
The poster-child of poultry meat, chicken also happens to be one of the big three of meat-based recipes along with pork and beef. You can fry it, stew it, turn it into a patty or just roast it on an open flame and if all goes right you get yourself a delightful dish. As for nutritional value, here’s a quick rundown of what you can get out of 3.5 oz (100g) of chicken:
- 263 calories
- 16 grams of fat
- 41 milligrams of cholesterol
- 451 milligrams of sodium
- 15 grams of carbs
- 1 gram of dietary fiber
- 15 grams of protein
- 2% of the recommended average daily intake of calcium
- 6% of the recommended average daily intake of iron
Containing plenty of protein with low amounts of carbs, chicken is also rich in B-vitamins and minerals. However, eating the skin of a chicken can greatly increase the amount of fat per serving. Overall, it’s still a generally healthy food.
Not as common as chicken but still easily available, ducks are pretty similar to chickens in terms of size. Let’s check out how nutritious a 3.5oz serving of duck meat is.
- 263 calories
- 4 grams of fat
- 77 milligrams of cholesterol
- 57 milligrams of sodium
- 0 grams of carbs
- 0 grams of dietary fiber
- 20 grams of protein
- 2% of the recommended average daily intake of vitamin A
- 25% of the recommended average daily intake of iron
A quick look at the figures shows that duck meat has significantly fewer calories compared to chicken. Furthermore, duck meat only contains about 1/4 the amount of fat found in an equivalent serving of chicken. Duck meat has almost twice the amount of cholesterol as chicken meat and almost 400 grams less sodium. Overall, duck meat is the healthier poultry meat.
So does that mean you’re better off replacing chicken with duck? Not necessarily. While duck is considered healthier than chicken, you have to consider the nutritional content of other ingredients used for preparing duck. Common duck recipes feature thick sauces that have very high levels of sodium, fats, and carbs that may be enough to exceed those of certain chicken recipes. However, duck meat is a great substitute for certain chicken-based recipes if you want to reduce your fat intake.
The same thing can be said for chicken and duck eggs. Normally, duck eggs feature brightly-colored yolks compared to those found in chicken eggs. This is because duck eggs contain more nutrients such as lutein and beta-carotene. In short, if you want a healthier sunny-side-up, go with duck egg.
Of course, duck being the healthier option doesn’t mean you should completely avoid using chicken for making healthy recipes. You will find greater concentrations of nutrients such as calcium and good monosaturated fats in chicken meat than in duck. In short, finding which meat to use for your next recipe will boil down to what nutrients you want to get from your next meal.