September 19, 2017

Duck or Chicken: Which is the Healthier Choice for Your Meals?

Post by Tomas

If you want to live a little healthier, you can’t go wrong with switching to recipes with healthier ingredients. If you like making your own food, it means you’d want to switch to healthier ingredients. Unfortunately, there are times when your options are limited AND very similar to each other, like when picking poultry meat.

There are two popular poultry meat options: chicken and duck. It’s easy to find either kind of meat in supermarkets so availability shouldn’t be an issue. Also, most recipes that use chicken meat also work well with duck meat. Both options are viable, but which one is healthier? To find out the answer, we have to take a closer look at both options.

Chicken

You know it, you love it, most people think “chicken” when they hear “poultry”. With literally thousands of recipes from all over the world, chicken can be prepared in a variety of different ways. In fact, you can just roast it on an open flame and you’ll still get a tasty meal. This time, we’re after chicken’s nutritional value, so let’s take a look at what you can get out of a 100g serving 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

Chicken is a very good source of protein and its pretty decent when it comes to carb content. Furthermore, the meat is reach with different B-vitamins and minerals. Switching from beef or pork to chicken is already a change for the better but how does it compare to duck?

Duck

Duck isn’t as popular as chicken, but that’s not really saying much. You’re still likely to get duck at your nearest superstore. How much nutrients can you get out of 100g of duck meat? Let’s check it out.

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

With fewer calories, 400g less sodium, and only ¼ of the total amount of fat found in chicken meat, duck meat’s looking pretty great as a healthy alternative. Overall, duck can be considered healthier than chicken. However, there’s a catch: duck meat has almost twice as much cholesterol found in a serving of chicken meat. Still, it’s safe to say that duck is overall healthier than chicken.

Duck meat is healthier, but what about the eggs? As it turns out, duck is still the healthier option between the two. Duck eggs feature brighter yellow-orange yolks compared to chicken eggs, which indicate greater amounts of nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein. Want a healthier sunny-side up for breakfast? Switch to duck eggs.

We’re done looking at the figures and it seems like duck meat’s the clear winner. Does that mean you should always pick duck over chicken all the time? Not really. A lot of recipes that use duck meat feature thick sauces and soup bases that may have all the sodium, calories, and fats that could make a duck dish less healthy than a chicken-based recipe. If you want to stay safe, you can use duck as a substitute – that way, you’re sure to have a healthier version of the original chicken-based recipe.

Okay, so maybe you decided to just use duck as a substitute. Does that mean chicken is completely off the menu? Again, not really. Certain nutrients such as calcium and monosaturated fats are more abundant in chicken than in duck. This means you’ll want to pick your poultry based on which specific nutrients you’re after for your next meal.

Easy Chicken and Duck Recipes

Chicken and duck have their own good and bad points, but both are generally healthy ingredients so it’s wise to have at least a few recipes that use either type of poultry. Here are a couple of healthy and delicious poultry recipes that you can add to your long list of healthy dishes.

Pan Roast Chicken

This is perfect starting recipe if you don’t have a lot of experience cooking chicken or duck. Easy to prepare and a lot healthier than deep-frying poultry, pan roast chicken is good enough for a group of six people.

Ingredients

1 whole dressed chicken

3 cloves garlic

2 carrots, skinned and chopped

1 onion, sliced into quarters

½ lb potatoes, sliced into quarters

1 bunch thyme

1 bunch rosemary

1 lemon, sliced

Salt, as necessary

Olive oil, as necessary

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 Celcius
  2. Combine the garlic, carrots, onion, and sliced potatoes in the pan.
  3. Drizzle the combination with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle rosemary and thyme on top of the vegetables.
  5. Pat the inside of the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Put the lemon slices inside the chicken, as well as a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary.
  7. lightly coat the skin of the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Make enough room for the chicken in the pan and place it breast-side up. Bake for about an hour or until the skin is golden brown.
  9. Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Pan-Seared Duck Breast

While duck is healthier than chicken, it does have a lot of cholesterol. This recipe is meant to help cut down your fat and cholesterol intake while still being easy enough for poultry recipe newbies looking for a healthy duck-based meal for one or two people. This works best served alongside sautéed veggies or pasta, but they can also be eaten on their own.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized duck breast (about 300 grams)

Salt, as preferred

Pepper, as preferred

Directions:

  1. Cut duck breast and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Score the skin on using a kitchen knife. Be careful not to cut the meat.
  3. Season the breast with salt and pepper and place it skin-side down on a cold searing pan.
  4. Once the skin is brown and crispy, turn the breast over and wait for another 3-5 minutes or until cooked medium to medium-rare.
  5. Remove from the oven and place skin-side up on a tray or cutting board. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.

6. Cut into slices and serve along another light meal.