Chicken: a complete protein
According to the latest Canadian Community Health Survey, most Canadians are meeting protein needs for basic functions, but there’s some room to improve. About 17% of our calories are coming from protein – which is on the lower end of the daily recommendation of 10-35% of calories.
There could be room for a little more protein on your plate.
Chicken choices at the grocery store
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast: low in fat, easy to prepare but typically the most expensive way to buy chicken.
- Bone-in Chicken breast: these come with skin on or off and are slightly less expensive than boneless chicken breasts.
- Chicken Thighs: can be with bone-in or boneless; contains dark meat, less expensive cut good for grilling or stewing.
- Wings: pre-cut wings are an economical cut, and are quick and easy to cook.
- Drumsticks: bone -in dark meat, slightly more expensive than buying a whole chicken.
- Whole chicken: least expensive way to purchase chicken. The leftover carcass can also be used to make homemade chicken stock.
- Grain-fed: All chicken in Canada are provided feed that consists mainly of grain. This term is typically used for marketing.
- Hormone free and/or steroid free: This is little more than a marketing tactic, since the use of hormones in raising poultry has been banned since the 1960s in Canada.
- Organic: organic chicken must be raised with a certified organic feed that contains no animal by-products or antibiotics and any supplements, such as vitamins, must be approved by a certification body.
- Raised without antibiotics: chicken was not treated in any way with antibiotics.
- Vegetarian grain fed: feed given to the flock contains no animal by-products, which are often added to feed as a protein source.
Ask a Veterinarian: Are hormones and steroids used in chicken production?
No. The use of steroids and hormones in chicken production has been illegal since 1963 in Canada, over 50 years ago. Thanks to better chicken genetics, advancements in housing, equipment and ventilation, improved management, sanitation and vaccination procedures and better nutrition and diet formulation, the Canadian chicken industry has been able to improve its production significantly without the need for growth promoting supplements.
Although it has been 50 years since hormones were used in production, some marketers still use “hormone-free’’ or “no added hormones’’ on their labels. Meat, poultry and fish products contain naturally occurring hormones, but no Canadian poultry is raised with the use of added hormones or steroids.