Dark Meat Chicken

What to Know About Dark Meat and Its Nutritional Benefits

roasted chicken and mole poblano sauce
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Chicken is an American staple: for the most part, we prefer white meat over dark meat, which is actually preferred in most other countries around the world! If you’ve been avoiding dark meat because you think the white meat is healthier, read on for why you should choose dark meat more often, and for some tips on how you can shop smart for chicken while watching your wallet

So what’s the difference? Nutritionally speaking white meat contains less fat and calories, and has more protein, but dark meat contains slightly more iron, selenium, and zinc. Overall chicken, both white and dark, is rich in B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D and more. 

What about taste? There's the age-old debate: white or dark meat, well that comes down to personal preference! The truth is because white meat contains less calories and fat, dark meat is a bit tastier, but of course, this varies person to person.  

Watching your wallet? Buying dark meat is a good idea because, for the most part, it's less expensive. If you do choose dark meat, pair a smaller portion with more veggies and whole grains to balance the nutrition of your plate.

More money saving chicken tips: Fresh or frozen? When shopping for chicken know that there is no difference from a nutritional, taste or cooking standpoint, but frozen will be the least expensive and take the most time to thaw. Typically 24 hours per five pounds in the refrigerator, or 30 minutes per pound under cold running water.

What about pre-marinated chicken? Pre-marinated chicken typically costs more than marinating the meat yourself and may be loaded or plumped with sodium, sugars, and even allergens so read the labels carefully!

When buying prepackaged pieces or breasts, always look under the meat and check the "bladder," the absorbent sheet that collects excess moisture that naturally seeps out of the meat. Typically, the longer the meat has sat in the case, the more moisture on the bladder. Press down on the meat to see just how much moisture there is in the package, and choose one that has little or no seepage.

Ready to cook? If possible, always cook poultry with the skin on. A thin membrane between the skin and the meat holds in the moisture, keeping the meat juicy and tasty, and actually, keeps the fat out of the meat. You can easily remove the skin after cooking.