Poultry for protein
Lean chicken and turkey are ideal sources of low-fat protein.For example, skinned turkey breast has only eight per cent fat, while skinned chicken breast contains 21 per cent fat.
While chicken, turkey, and other poultry are healthier than red meat in terms of saturated fat content, there are significant differences according to which bird is chosen, which part is eaten, and how it is prepared and cooked.
The fat and calorie content of both turkey and chicken is much higher when the dark meat - from the wings and legs - and the skin are eaten ( see Healthy ways with red meat).
To minimize the saturated fat content of poultry, grill or roast the meat and remove the skin before serving or eating. There is no advantage in removing the skin before cooking: the skin helps to keep the meat moist and does not add significantly to the saturated fat content of the finished dish.
In terms of saturated fat content, ready-prepared chicken and turkey products such as burgers and sausages may not be much healthier than those made from red meat, particularly if they are breaded and deep-fried. They can also contain a lot of additives and water. If you like burgers, you could make them using minced chicken or turkey instead of beef: the result will be much lower in fat ( see Low-fat turkey burgers) and just as delicious.
Other varieties of poultry
In addition to the popular chicken and turkey, poultry includes duck, goose, guinea fowl, and pigeon as well as game birds such as quail, pheasant, and grouse. Some are healthier than others - goose, for example, is very rich in saturated fat.
Duck, too, is a fatty bird; however, once all the skin and fat are removed (which should be done before cooking), the meat has about the same fat content as lamb. In general, the meat of game birds is quite lean.
What is a serving?
- 100g (3 ½ oz) chicken fillet or skinless boneless thigh
- 100g (3 ½ oz) chicken nuggets
- 100g (3 ½ oz) chicken or turkey sausage or burger
- 100g (3 ½ oz) turkey fillet or skinless boneless leg meat
- 100g (3 ½ oz) skinless duck breast
- 100g (3 ½ oz) meat from a goose, without skin and bone
- 100g (3 ½ oz) meat from a game bird, such as pheasant, quail, or pigeon, without skin and bone
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